Anyone who knows the ballad knows it doesn't end well for the young man who took his guns to town. And there is a lesson there for Iowans who are permitted to carry weapons. The Iowa State Legislature dramatically expanded Iowans’ second amendment rights when it changed Iowa from a “may issue” state to a “shall issue” state. If carry permit applicants obtain requisite training and meet basic qualifications to acquire and carry firearms, a county Sheriff may not, in his or her discretion, deny the application a permit to carry a firearm. This—combined with the specter of federal firearms restrictions and news media accounts of random shootings—has resulted in a sizable increase in permit applications in the State of Iowa since the law change. In turn, municipalities and establishments open to the public have begun to post signs prohibiting the possession of firearms on public and private property. A debate over whether permit holders should be allowed into bars should, however, be theoretical for anyone who seeks to manage the risk of a weapons charge and the forfeiture of their favorite carry firearm. Under Iowa law, carrying weapons while intoxicated is an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by at least a $625 fine and at most two years in prison and a $6,250 fine. Intoxication invalidates even a valid permit to carry. In addition, law enforcement will invariably seize a firearm if they charge a permit holder with carrying weapons while intoxicated. There is process in place to allow law enforcement to seek the forfeiture of this weapon and fighting it might cost more in legal fees than the value of the firearm itself. The best advice anyone can give to permit holder when they plan a night on the town—that includes the consumption of alcohol—is advice Johnny Cash’s cowboy ballad Don’t Take Your Guns to Town gave over 56 years ago: Don’t take your guns to town son Leave your guns at home Bill Don’t take your guns to town
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by David Cmelik
He stopped and walked in a bar And laid his money down ... He drank his first strong liquor then To calm his shaking hand And tried to tell himself he had become a man.-Johnny Cash, Don’t take your guns to town
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