Seeking gun rights back, Iowa farmer gets arrested instead

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A retired Iowa farmer who applied to Gov. Kim Reynolds to have his gun rights restored has instead been charged with illegally possessing firearms.

Allan Phillips of West Branch had been out of trouble for 40 years when he sent in his application seeking restoration. He wrote that it was time to “clear my name” on a 1978 misdemeanor conviction for having a loaded hunting gun in his car.

Phillips, 76, received a surprise visit in February from agents who were conducting a background check as part of the process. They found that he had firearms in violation of the gun ban that his 41-year-old conviction triggered. They charged Phillips with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

The case illustrates how hard it can be for ex-offenders to get their gun rights back once they are lost. A recent report shows Reynolds didn’t restore anyone’s gun rights during her first 19 months in office.