(FoxNews.com) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) signed a bill into law Thursday that drastically increases rights for gun owners in the state, including an expansion of the controversial “stand your ground” provision. The move may set into motion a push for looser gun laws across the nation.
The legislation, called House File 517, grants Iowans the rights to defend themselves using force, even “deadly force,” in public if they feel threatened. A citizen can be mistaken about the threat so long as he can prove there was “a reasonable basis” for his actions – a move that some believe shifts the burden of proof off of defendants.
The law also expands the rights of citizens to sue the government if they feel their Second Amendment rights are threatened by local ordinances or gun-free zones. Also, leaving a conceal-carry permit at home will no longer be considered a misdemeanor so long as the gun owner can produce it at a later date.
Opponents are concerned the new bill, which the NRA endorsed as part of the "nationwide movement to expand law-abiding citizens' [Second Amendment] rights," will put more people in danger.
"'Stand your ground' is pretty problematic from a public safety standpoint. It was opposed by prosecutors; criminal prosecutors are concerned about their ability to pursue justice against people who have wrongly used legal force," Hannah Shearer, attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told FOX Business.
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