House bill would allow stun guns on campus

DES MOINES — A bill to allow people to carry stun guns on community college and regent university campuses was approved Tuesday by the Iowa House, 60-37.

Senate File 188 would prohibit community colleges and regents universities from enforcing any rule to prevent people from carrying a weapon “producing a non-projectile high-voltage pulse designed to immobilize a person” — a stun gun.

“It’s about people being able to make the decision for themselves, to choose to use one of these devices if they need to, if they want to and, hopefully, avoid having a tragic attack and or assault perpetrated upon them,” Rep. Matt Windschitl. R-Missouri Valley, said.

A 2017 law allows Iowans older than 18 to carry stun guns, but Windschitl said some colleges and universities have written rules against their possession on campus.

Rep. Lindsay James, D-Dubuque, agreed “college campuses can be a dangerous place for women.” As a campus chaplain, she said she dealt with a “revolving door of women who were victims of sexual assault who had been suffering in silence.”

Instead of allowing stun guns on campus, she called for an interim study to review and study criminal activity on such campuses.

Windschitl said the Legislative Council already has the authority to form such a study committee.

An amendment by Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, will bar people convicted of a felony from carrying a stun gun on campus, so the bill must go back to the Senate for consideration of that change.