Society

Sex Offenders in Iowa Can Receive Gun Permits with No Hassle

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In the state of Iowa, a two-year-old law allows more than 50 sex offenders to have gun permits.

Because of the law, registered sex offenders are able to obtain gun permits without any hassle, as it makes it difficult for officials to deny applications.

Jerry Dunbar, Washington County Sheriff, said it is a concern for many citizens as sex offenders often use weapons to intimidate their victims.

"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 said.

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But Executive Director of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Maia Christopher, said not every sex offender 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.

Citizens are urging lawmakers to make changes to the law, making it difficult for sex offenders to obtain gun permits. 

Those who are convicted of other crimes, like 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," Newton police detective Rob Burdess said. 

Before the law was implemented in 2011, most applications by sex offenders for gun permits were denied. But now, sheriffs are not able to reject applications. 

There are other states that have similar laws in place, like Nebraska, Missouri and Wisconsin, which do not specifically exclude sex offenders from obtaining gun permits.

Sources: Inquisitr, USA Today