Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hein Responds

In the previous post I discussed state Representative Lee Hein's apparent flip-flop on Constitutional Carry.  Hein emailed me back and rather than translate his position (and potentially put words in his mouth) I decided just to include our correspondence below.
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2011 9:13 PM
To: Hein, Lee [LEGIS]
Subject: Constitutional Carry

Dear Representative Hein:

I was disappointed to hear from Iowa Gun Owners that although you said you would support a "Constitutional Carry" bill while campaigning you now say that you will not. I realize that gun issues have gotten a lot of media attention and have become a contentious issue this year, but I hope that you will reconsider and SUPPORT Constitutional Carry as you originally said you would.

As you know, Constitutional Carry is a simple, straight forward idea. If passed, it simply permits anyone who is eligible to own a firearm to carry a firearm concealed without a permit. This legislation would not get rid of the current permit system, but it would merely give gun owners another option for exercising their right to bear arms. For reciprocity between states, citizens might still want a permit, but that’s their choice under the Constitutional Carry system. Constitutional Carry is currently law in Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and now Wyoming.

Again, please support Constitutional Carry in Iowa. Thank you for your time.

 Benjamin R. Cashner
[Address redacted]

Here's Hein's response, which I received April 4th:


I want you to hear my position on the Constitutional Carry bill. I would support the bill if they would add some education to the bill. I believe everyone who carries a firearm should understand the law before they get put into a situation. The education can be as simple as a pamphlet that they receive when they get the Right to purchase permit. I want to protect the average citizen who needs to understand the consquences [sic] of what can happen after he or she pulls and points the firearm.

I believe that law abiding citizens who wants [sic] to carry should be able to. What I do not want, is to have to put that citizen in prison because he did not understand the laws of the state of Iowa. I do not think this is to much to ask. I would like to hear your views on this.
Rep. Lee Hein

Lastly, here's my reply which was sent April 7th:

Dear Representative Hein:

Thank you for your prompt reply and for explaining your position on Constitutional Carry.  I'm still somewhat confused since I believe that HF 2241, which you expressed support for while campaigning, contained no education requirements for citizens who choose to carry firearms without a permit, which you now say is needed for your support.  Some are characterizing this as a deliberate misrepresentation on your part.

I can appreciate your not wanting citizens going to jail because they don't fully understand Iowa's self-defense laws.  While that danger would exist under a Constitutional Carry system, it already exists under current law.  I doubt, for instance, that many of the people now getting their permits to carry using their military discharge papers as proof of training received much instruction on the intricacies of Iowa weapons and self-defense laws.  Ultimately the duty to educate oneself resides with each individual.  With freedom comes responsibility.

If it turns out that some Iowans are going to jail because Iowa laws run contrary to the average Iowan's concept of what is "self-defense," then the laws need changed. (Your support of the Enhanced Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground bill was a good step in that direction.)

That said, if the state did want to create some type of public awareness campaign or pamphlet (as you suggest), that might not be a bad idea.  However, I don't think that the people's right to freely exercise their pre-existing Constitutionally-protected right to bear arms should be made contingent upon it.

Once again, thank you for your time.

Benjamin R. Cashner


  1. As soon as a pamphlet or other document is printed with what is current law in Iowa, as with technology, it becomes obsolete due to other changes shortly after. Then there's the debate on enough funding to print updated versions.

  2. Hein's lack of support is not surprising to me.

    Whatever a politician SAYS he or she will do in a campaign means nothing - unless they have a record of actually DOING something that supports gone rights.

    That's why surveys alone are pointless. And promises made without any track record of actually doing something to support gun rights - are meaningless promises.

    Politicians are all full of hot air. It's their ACTIONS and not their WORDS which should be used to rate any politician as PRO 2nd Amendment or Not.

  3. David, you're probably right about the pamphlet, but if it makes the state feel better...

    By the way, I "borrowed" the description of the Constitutional Carry bill in the first email from


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