Iowa Court Hands Down Ban on Popular Mask Law

In a decision handed down by U.S. Gritzner, he has continued to prohibit Iowa enforcement of the mask law that requires people in public spaces to show their faces when asked by police officers

This is a ruling on an injunction issued in January

The state’s attorney general argued the ban was necessary for safety and security reasons without presenting any evidence to support his claims during the January hearing

The ruling finds that because no evidence was presented by the state to support their claims of safety and security is linked to being asked to show one’s face, that there is no reason for the law to remain in effect. The plaintiff’s attorney argued that if the police are truly concerned with public safety they should target behaviors rather than law-abiding citizens who are engaging in peaceful expression

Judge Gritzner agreed that the mask law infringes on constitutional rights and continues to order a stay of enforcement of the law while it is unconstitutional

Gritzner’s ruling also referred to a previous ruling by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1993 that found requiring a person to show his or her face in public may be necessary when there is a legitimate and substantial government interest for doing so, such as ensuring the basic security of our schools and protecting major public events.

This is a significant victory for the First Amendment rights of all while we wait for a final ruling by Judge Gritzner on this law’s constitutionality. The next step would be an appeal of this decision to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals which previously upheld these laws in Kelling v. City of Boston in 2000.

The following news report on the initial injunction hearing provides additional information on the case

In the wake of another tragedy, there have been calls by political leaders to limit or ban certain types of firearms. And while this is not an uncommon act after any act of violence involving guns, there are calls by some people to go beyond limiting access to firearms but to go after the people who own them.

This was seen in a recent post where it was suggested that gun owners should receive harsher punishments if caught driving while intoxicated or that doctors should be allowed to place limits on patients who have guns due to mental health issues, despite no evidence supporting such policies are effective nor that they would have prevented any of the tragedies that have occurred.

This post suggests that such policies are likely to be proposed and passed by state and local governments even if they would not be effective at preventing future tragedies.

The following article provides additional information on this type of proposal as it relates to physicians, therapists, and psychologists.

It has been a little over two weeks since the tragedy in Newtown, CT, and in that time there has been much debate on the best course of action to prevent future shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School.