Iowa's new gun law went into January 1st. It states that sheriff's department must issue gun permits as long as the applicant doesn't have a criminal history that includes a felony. It also says you may carry your gun concealed or openly in public with a valid permit.
The new laws have meant it's been a busy time for the Winneshiek County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Lee Bohr says his department has handled 110 total gun permit applications, as compared to 75 or 80 for a similar time period last year.
"Yes, we've seen an increase," says Bohr, although he notes the increase has been smaller in Winneshiek county than it has in other counties, such as Allamakee County, where 400 new permit applications were filed.
Bohr says in the nine years he's been sheriff he's rejected only three or four applications. "My process is the same," he says.
Still, the increased number of applications does raise some concerns for Bohr. He worries that about the safety of his officers now that more members of the public are carrying weapons. He says he's been stressing to the deputies that they should follow the procedures they learned during training, to minimize their chances of being involved in an incident with someone with a gun.
The sheriff also worries about the safety of those carrying the guns. He says those who receive gun permits will have to make sure they handle the weapons properly at all times.