Federal Law Enforcement Concerned Over Iowa’s State Law Allowing Sex Offenders To Possess Firearms Expanding To Other States Like Florida

Public safety concerns from both Iowa and national law enforcement have arose concerning a two-year-old state law on gun permits allowing registered sex offenders to obtain a weapons permit. Because of this law, in Iowa, it is legal for a sex offender to carry a weapon, a privilege that sex offenders in Florida do not share.

People convicted of felonies, including sex offenders, are prohibited from obtaining a lawful gun permit. Under federal law, any and all persons convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor are subject to up to 10 years imprisonment in Jacksonville for possessing a gun. This means that only persons without a felony or domestic violence conviction are even lawfully able to possess a gun, let alone get a lawful state permit for one. imagesflgp.jpg

There is no conclusive national data on how many weapons permits are being issued to convicted sex offenders, because some sex offenders can obtain permits to carry weapons despite authorities’ inability to track and are not fully or even partially aware of the large numbers of permits being issued.

Sex offense recidivism rates are much lower than commonly believed. Only 5 to 14 percent of known sex offenders will commit a subsequent sex crime within three to six years after incarceration. That is far lower than rates for other types of crime, such as drug or theft offenses.

The Supreme Court is beginning to more clearly carve out what rights one has regarding firearms, and as the old fear of sex offender recidivism begins to wane, the growth of rights of sex offenders regarding guns has begun and should change. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects one’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home and within federal enclaves.

Many times, people who have committed crimes in the past and do intend to commit one again, including sex crimes, have a legitimate fear for their safety without a firearm. As such, denying gun permits to otherwise eligible persons on a state sex offender registry might be in some circumstances, uniquely unconstitutional. There has long been established evidence of those who commit vigilante violence against persons, sometimes in groups, based simply on their name being listed on a sex offender registry.

Many citizens in Jacksonville can track a history of serious personal threats of serious violence directed toward them because of their name being listed on the registry, and as such, feel the genuine need to possess a firearm in order to protect oneself. The state cannot reasonably require a sex offender’s name and address to stay on the sex offender registry while also prohibiting the right to keep and bear arms.

Many times throughout Jacksonville, the accused is just someone who has a legitimate fear for their life because a past mistake that they cannot unfortunately change. Other times, they are the victim of a mistake in driving another’s car that happens to have a gun within it, and because of their lack of knowledge, they suffer at the hands of a law enforcement officer who is just doing their job. Fortunately, if one obtains an experienced Jacksonville gun crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected, one can be sure that one will not be a victim in a fight one may not win on one’s own.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: Register Exclusive: 50 sex offenders have gun permits, Jason Clayworth, ShreveportTimes