Gun Ban Stands At Iowa State Fair

Lawmakers heard spirited debate Aug. 5 over whether firearms should be allowed into the Iowa State Fair, but the current ban on guns is expected to stay for this year’s fair, scheduled for Aug. 11-21.

The fair has prohibited members of the general public from bringing guns onto the grounds since 1980, the fair’s chief executive Gary Slater told the Des Moines Register. A citizen requested the Iowa Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee hear arguments over guns at the fair, so a meeting was held Aug. 5. Iowa law currently allows for the open carrying of a firearm in cities so long as the holder has a valid permit, but the State Fair Board is authorized to restrict guns on the premises.

Richard Rogers, a board member on the Iowa Firearms Coalition, said 90 percent of recent mass shootings have occurred in “weapons free zones” and that allowing attendees to carry weapons will reduce the risk of attack.

Des Moines resident Lars Pearson said, “If you allow guns at the State Fair, I may never set foot there again. … You will not have made the State Fair safer for children. You will have made it less safe.”

The issue will likely be addressed during the Iowa legislature’s 2017 session.