Guns for sale

A row of guns for sale at G & G Retailers of Davenport.

Guns above children. It's the Iowa way.

Gov. Kim Reynolds' administration this month killed off a set milquetoast proposed regulations drafted by state Department of Human Services that would have finally imposed basic requirements for firearm storage at childcare centers, reported the Des Moines Register.

The rules were pretty straight forward: Firearms must be unloaded and locked up, ammunition should be kept separately and parents should be notified if a childcare center keeps a weapon on the premises.

Clearly, DHS staffers considered this slate of proposed rules a watered-down compromise to what should be in place. They basically said as much in the documents attached to the rule, that went out of the way to note that it strongly discourages firearms in childcare facilities.

But even DHS' incredibly self-aware fig leaf to Iowa's gun lobby wasn't good enough. Suddenly, and without warning, the proposed rules -- designed to keep guns out of the hands of young children -- disappeared from the Dec. 13 agenda of Iowa Council on Human Services, which must OK regulations before they take effect.

Mark Anderson, chairman of Iowa Council on Human Services, said he had never seen an item just evaporate from the agenda like it did here.

It took just one call to Reynolds' office from Iowa Firearms Coalition's lobbyist to stop the common-sense process in its tracks.

There should be no question about who holds power over the Reynolds administration.

This week, Reynolds defended her decision to scuttle rules that can only be described as minimally invasive. The Legislature should hash it out, Reynolds said. There needs to be more discussion, she insisted.

In essence, Reynolds handed the issue to the GOP-run Legislature, which would rather see guns in courtrooms and bars than impose any type of limitation.

Reynolds punted, kicking the issue to the Legislature lest she be blamed for imposing even the most minor limits on gun owners. So much for strong leadership from the Governor's Office, especially when heading into an election year.

Iowa's in the minority regarding its lack of any regulation over guns in childcare centers. In 2013, a survey conducted by Early Learning Policy Group found that just 12 states don't regulate guns in childcare centers. State-level regulations range from all-out bans to those similar to what DHS proposed.

And no one is arguing that the proposed rules were outside the authority of the Reynolds' administration. Instead, the rush to quash the rules were all about politics.

They're politics so toxic that even the rights of parents are superseded by bizarre hypothetical fever dreams where a gun owner might be inconvenienced. They're politics so paranoid that even the most justified oversight of gun ownership is considered an attack on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They're politics that have rendered the likes of Reynolds unwilling to face honestly legitimate questions about public safety, even that of children.

DHS officials were correct: Guns have no place in a childcare facility. But the agency's proposed requirements for gun safes, ammunition storage and parental notification were a legitimate attempt to navigate politics that have paralyzed any and all honest discussion about guns in America.

Even that attempt didn't cut it for an administration so cowardly that Iowa's gun lobby unilaterally dictates policy.

Editorial board: Deb Anselm, Publisher ; Autumn Phillips, Executive Editor; Bill Wundram, Associate Editor; Jon Alexander, Editorial Page Editor; John Wetzel, Community member. Quad City Times editorials reflect the opinion of the editorial board. The board formally meets 9 a.m. Wednesdays. Contact the board or send letters to opinions@qctimes.com, or by calling 563-383-2320. Like the Globe Gazette, the Quad City Times is owned by Lee Enterprises. 

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