New doe-and-fawn season
DES MOINES, Iowa––Hours after Salvador Ramos used an AR-15 automatic rifle he gave himself as an 18th birthday present to massacre 19 fourth graders and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, the Iowa state house of representatives ratified a bill to create a special January antlerless deer hunting season for AR-15 users.
The 56-34 vote followed unanimous Iowa state senate approval in April 2022.
One might surmise that the Iowa house of representatives rushed to establish the AR-15 deer season, on the last day of the Iowa legislative session, to give AR-15 enthusiasts something to shoot besides school children.
The AR-15, besides being the gun Ramos used to kill 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, after shooting his grandmother in the face, was used to kill 26 people in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and to kill 17 people in the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida––among many other school shooting and mass shooting incidents.
Bill rebuts Biden remarks that AR-15s are not deer rifles
The Iowa state house and senate Republican majorities might also have rushed the AR-15 deer season into existence in rebuttal to U.S. President Joe Biden’s remarks earlier in the day to the effect that no one buys an AR-15 just to hunt deer with.
“What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone?” Biden said from the Roosevelt Room in the White House.
“Deer aren’t running through the forest with Kevlar vests on, for God’s sake. It’s just sick,” Biden elaborated.
Ironically, the Second Amendment, while used to protect gun proliferation, does not protect or even pertain in any way to sport hunting.
Iowa deer herd already down by a third in 15 years
But state senator Ken Rozenboom, of Oskaloosa, Iowa, stipulated that, “The purpose of this season is not to hunt for sport, but to manage the size of the herd, which is why more efficient and effective firearms are being authorized.”
The Iowa deer population, however, far from needing more lethal “management,” peaked at about 650,000 in 2006, according to Iowa Deer News, and has declined in recent years from about 475,000 in 2018, to 460,000 in 2019, and 445,000 in both 2020 and 2021.
Among the few legislators speaking in opposition to the Iowa AR-15 deer season was state representative Todd Prichard, a Democrat from Charles City, and a major in the U.S. Army Reserve.
“The range that I’m familiar with this type of weapon and round is 3400-3600 meters,” Prichard told fellow lawmakers.
“That’s about two and a half miles,” Prichard said, “five miles in diameter.”
“I think I had something like 200 hours of basic rifle marksmanship to learn how to handle a similar weapon to qualify and to be combat certified,” Prichard continued. “Are we going to require that for deer hunters now? I doubt it.”
Iowa governor Kim Reynolds: gun moll for the NRA
Iowa governor Kim Reynolds signed the AR-15 deer hunting season into law on June 21, 2022.
The signing may have been delayed when Reynolds issued an order for Iowa state government flags to “Fly half-staff for Texas school shooting victims.”
Reynolds, 62, was elected Iowa governor in 2017 with the strong endorsement of the National Rifle Association.
Reynolds on April 3, 2021 signed into law House File 621 and House File 756, which respectively allow Iowans to carry concealed firearms without a permit and, in the words of a National Rifle Association media release, “ensure that Iowa has an additional layer of protection to prevent anti-gun extremists from attempting to bankrupt law-abiding businesses by suing them for the third party, criminal misuse of their legal products.”
Texas gun law change enabled Uvalde killings
Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat, pointed out to media on May 25, 2022 that Uvalde mass murderer Ramos was able to buy two AR-15 assault-style rifles from a local gun store only because National Rifle Association-backed legislation on September 1, 2021 amended the Texas Government Code to allow 18-year-olds to buy shotguns and rifles.
Further, explained Giuila Carbonaro of Newsweek, “Handguns can normally only be bought by people aged 21 years old or older, but [the 2021 amendment] allows people who are 18 years old to be eligible for a handgun license if they meet all other requirements except the minimum age under federal law and are under protective orders related to family violence.”
Also, Carbonaro mentioned, “Since September 1, 2021, Texas no longer requires people to have a license to carry a handgun in most public places. Restrictions remained on carrying firearms at schools.”
Can gun maker be sued?
Ramos, observed USA Today writer Nick Penzenstadler, “flaunted his recent purchases of AR-15 style weapons on social media. One of those weapons has been identified as a high-end rifle fitted with an expensive optic sight produced in Georgia.
“The $1,870 Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 rifle is legally sold to anyone over 18 who passes a background check at a gun shop, which the shooter did shortly after his birthday, according to law enforcement.
“But the gun company with ties to military production is facing a raft of unwanted public attention and could soon face years of costly litigation,” Penzenstadler predicted.
On the one hand, Penzenstadler explained, “the manufacturer is largely shielded from civil liability due to the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.”
Guns made & sold to hunt humans
On the other, Penzenstadler continued, “families of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting successfully sued Remington, the producer of the Bushmaster XM15-E2S semi-automatic rifle used in the shooting nine years ago.
“In February 2022, the gunmaker agreed to a $73 million settlement in the case,” Penzenstadler reminded, “which hinged on marketing materials targeted at young men as proof of masculinity and fears of having your ‘man card’ revoked.”
“Courts have generally rejected claims that just selling AR-style weapons is so dangerous that it should open a company up to liability,” Duke University Center for Firearms Law director Jake Charles told Penzenstadler.
But Josh Koskoff, identified by Penzenstadler as “a Connecticut attorney who helped secure the settlement, called the Daniel Defense marketing materials “red meat” for young gun buyers.
“It doesn’t seem like Daniel Defense shies away from promoting the military capabilities of the AR-15 and surely they’re targeting young men who love first person shooter games,” Koskoff alleged to Penzenstadler.
Sandy Hook school massacre was good for business
Daniel Defense founder and chief executive Marty Daniel acknowledged in a 2017 Forbes magazine interview that, “The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 drove a lot of sales. That was a horrible event and we don’t use those kinds of terrible things to drive sales,” Daniel claimed, “but when people see politicians start talking about gun control, they have this fear and they go out and buy guns.”
Added Penzenstadler, “Lucky Gunner, a Tennessee-based online retailer, has faced two lawsuits tied to mass shootings. The most recent suit stemmed from a 2018 shooting at a Texas high school by a 17-year-old. In February, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the case could go forward despite the company’s attempt to have it dismissed.
“The company had successfully fended off a suit in 2015 tied to the Aurora movie theater shooting where the perpetrator purchased more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition before fatally shooting 12 people.
“Jordan Mollenhour, founder and owner of Lucky Gunner, was just appointed to the Tennessee Board of Education by governor Bill Lee,” Penzenstadler concluded.
American Public Health Association executive director Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., reminded all concerned that the Uvalde massacre was the 27th school shooting of 2022, a pace of more than one per week.