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Business Owners Lit Up Over Smoking Ban

By Staff | Oct 2, 2008

There’s a saying: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It is apparent that a fire has been lit inside several Iowans who are against the smoking ban that went into effect July 1.

Larry Duncan, owner of Aunt Bea’s and Otis Campbell’s Bar & Grill, spoke to a crowd of approximately 30 local business owners and other individuals at The Office on Tuesday evening, Sept. 30.

The West Burlington businessman has joined other dissenters in forming the Freedom Fighters For All Citizens Of Iowa, an organization dedicated to upholding the Iowa State Constitution. The Freedom Fighters have recently taken to the road, traveling throughout Iowa to spread their message and recruit support in voting legislators, responsible for the ban, out of office.

“We’ve been fighting this from the very first day,” said Larry Duncan. “Hopefully, we can light enough of a fire in each of you tonight to make you want to get involved in our cause to take our state back.”

Duncan, who has been a non-smoker for over three decades, says that the ban against smoking in bars and restaurants is unconstitutional. He cited three “tests” that the legislation fails to pass:

First, the Iowa Constitution states that laws shall not grant any citizen privileges or immunities which shall not apply equally to all citizens.

Duncan argues that since the smoking ban exempts casinos, it is a law that does not apply equally to all. According to Duncan, there are 1,800 entities that hold Class C Liquor Licenses, and just 18 non-Native American casinos.

Second, Article II, Section I of the Iowa Constitution states that the Constitution shall be the supreme law of the state and any law inconsistent with the Constitution shall be null and void.

Duncan notes that since the smoking ban does not apply equally to all citizens, it is, therefore, in violation of the Constitution.

Finally, all elected officials must take an oath swearing to support the Constitution of the United States and the State of Iowa.

Duncan argues that those legislators who voted for the ban neglected the oath that they took.

“They’ve made an unconstitutional law,” stated Duncan. “[Senator] Kibbie and [Representative] Frevert chose the casino over you. Vote to not send them back to Des Moines. If everyone here made a commitment to go out and get five people who are ticked off about this, we could get this done. You have 35 days [before the General Election] to do it.”

Duncan added that his cause is not a Republican or Democrat issue, and that the Freedom Fighters do not endorse one party over another.

“We’re for the ones that are for the people,” Duncan said. “It’s not about smoking. It’s about our rights.”

More information about the Freedom Fighters can be found online at www.freedomfightersforallcitizensofiowa.org.