Sex Offenders In Iowa Issued Gun Permits

Todd Rigney

Over 50 sex offenders have been issued gun permits in the state of Iowa.

Many state lawmakers were shocked to discover that a two-year-old law has allowed registered sex offenders to acquire permits without much fuss. The law reportedly makes it difficult for authorities to deny applications.

Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar is one of many law enforcement officials who are upset by the news. He said that sex offenders often use intimidation on their victims, and gun permits would essentially give them access to weaponry.

"My concern of a sex offender having a gun is they try to typically rule in a bullish way to influence people — and just the presence of a gun on a hip could be a threat to get people to cooperate," Dunbar explained.

Although many people are concerned that registered sex offenders are legally carrying firearms, Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers executive director Maia Christopher believes not every sex offender on the list could be banned from owning a gun.

"There's no blanket way of stating that sex offenders are more dangerous than everybody else," Christopher said.

FBI Behavioral Science Unit's Evil Minds Research Museum deputy unit chief Steven Conlon previously oversaw the state's registered sex offender list. He told the Des Moines Register that he was willing to work with law enforcement officials on the matter.

"It does seem to go contrary to what the whole point or the whole purpose [of the list. I've never even heard of anybody looking into this arena. You're in some unchartered grounds," he recently explained.

State lawmakers are currently debating whether or not sex offenders should be prohibited from getting gun permits. People who have been convicted of felonies or domestic abuse are not allowed to own firearms.

"If they're on the sex offender registry, they're already a safety concern in one aspect. Who's to say they're not a safety concern with weapons? They've already shown propensity to be sexually violent, so the escalation can be the use of weapons," explained Newton police detective Rob Burdess.

Do you think sex offenders should be issued gun permits?

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