Iowa

Updated as of Monday, July 15, 2013.

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION

Iowa has no State Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. However, the Iowa Constitution does guarantee certain inalienable rights—among which are “defending life” and “protecting property.”

Article 1, Section 1.

Important/Relevant Gun Laws

RIFLES AND SHOTGUNSHANDGUNS
Permit to PurchaseNoYes
Registration of FirearmsNoNo
Licensing of OwnersNoNo
Permit to CarryNoYes

Iowa will not publish a list of states that recognize their permit, so it is up to the individual permit holder to verify what states offer reciprocity for an Iowa permit.

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.  

Reciprocity

  • These states recognize Iowa permits:
  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas , Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin
  • Iowa recognizes permits from:
  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas , Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Map of states recognizing Iowa permits:

A synopsis of Iowa state laws on purchase, possession and carrying of firearms.

PURCHASE

No state permit is required to purchase a rifle or shotgun. An annual permit to purchase is required to purchase a handgun. The permit to purchase may be used to purchase more than one handgun. The permit is required for non-dealer purchases as well as purchases from a dealer. A permit is not required for antique handguns, handguns not capable of being readily restored to a firing condition, a handgun designated a collector’s item by the Commissioner of Public Safety, transfers between relatives within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, or by the holder of a valid permit to carry weapons. READ ALL

A permit to purchase a handgun is obtained by applying to the sheriff of the county of the applicant's residence. The applicant shall display an identification card that bears a distinguishing number assigned to the cardholder, name, date of birth, sex, residence address, and brief description and colored photograph, or other identification as specified by the Department of Public Safety.

The permit shall be issued to the applicant immediately upon completion of the application. A state record check and a NICS check are conducted. The permit becomes valid three days after issuance and is good for one year.

An annual permit shall be issued upon request to any resident of the state unless the person is subject to any of the following:

  • is less than twenty-one years of age.
  • has been convicted of a felony or adjudicated delinquent on the basis of conduct that would constitute a felony if committed by an adult.
  • is subject to to a protective order or been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
  • is prohibited by federal law from shipping, transporting, possessing, or recieving a firearm.

It is unlawful to sell, loan, give, or make available a rifle, shotgun or their ammunition to a person under 18. An exception allows a parent, guardian or spouse who is 18 or older, or another with the express consent of the minor’s parent or guardian or spouse who is 18 or older may allow a minor to possess a rifle or shotgun or their ammunition for lawful use.

It is unlawful to sell, loan, give, or make available a handgun or handgun ammunition to a person under 21. Exceptions include:

  • For eighteen, nineteen, or twenty year olds to possess a firearm and their ammunition if they are military, police, corrections, or security guard when such duty requires the possession of such a weapon.
  • For eighteen, nineteen, or twenty year olds while the person receives instruction in the proper use of firearms from an instructor who is twenty-one years of age or older.
  • For a person fourteen years of age but less than twenty-one, a parent or guardian or spouse who is twenty-one years of age or older may allow the person to possess a pistol or revolver or their ammunition for any lawful purpose while under the direct supervision of the parent or guardian or spouse who is twenty-one years of age or older.
  • A person fourteen years of age but less than twenty-one may possess a pistol or revolver or their ammunition while receiving instruction in the proper use from an instructor twenty-one years of age or older, with the consent of a parent, guardian or spouse who is twenty-one years of age or older.
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POSSESSION

No state permit is required to possess a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.

Persons under 21 cannot possess handguns or handgun ammunition, except under the conditions listed in the purchase section.

It is a felony to go armed with, carry, or transport a firearm of any kind, whether concealed or not, on the grounds of any public or nonpublic school.      

Loaded firearms must be secured from minors under 14.

CARRYING

It is unlawful to carry a handgun or any loaded firearm of any kind within the limits of any city, whether concealed or not. It is also unlawful to carry a handgun or other firearm concealed on or about one’s person or to knowingly transport a handgun in a vehicle. READ ALL

Exceptions to the above prohibition are:

  • Possessors of a valid permit to carry a handgun whose conduct is within the limits of that permit.
  • Carrying in one’s own dwelling, place of business, or on land owned or possessed by the person.
  • Peace officers, correctional officers, members of the armed forces and National Guard, or persons in the service of the United States when carrying weapons in connection with their duties.
  • A person who for any lawful purpose carries an unloaded handgun inside a closed and fastened container or securely wrapped package which is too large to be concealed on the person.
  • A person who carries or transports for lawful purposes an unloaded pistol or revolver in a vehicle inside a closed and fastened container or securely wrapped package which is too large to be concealed on the person or inside a cargo or luggage compartment where the pistol or revolver will not be readily accessible to any person.
  • A person lawfully engaged in target practice on a range designed for that purpose or while actually engaged in lawful hunting.

It is unlawful to have or carry any rifle, shotgun or any other gun (except a handgun as detailed above) in or on a vehicle on a public highway, unless the gun is taken down or totally contained in a securely fastened case, and its barrels and magazines are unloaded.  If an individual has a permit to carry weapons, it is lawful for individuals to possess uncased and loaded firearms in a vehicle.

It is unlawful for a person to carry any dangerous weapon on or about his person without a permit. Permits to carry a weapon come in two forms–professional and nonprofessional. Residents make application to the local sheriff; nonresidents make application to the Commissioner of Public Safety. Professional permits are valid for 12 months; and nonprofessional permits are valid for 5 years.  The permit fee is $50.00. Renewal and duplicate permits are $25.00. The sheriff or commissioner of Public Safety shall issue or deny a permit within 30 days of receipt of an application.

Professional permits are issued to private investigators, private security members, security guards, bank messengers, corrections officers, peace officers, or other persons whose job reasonably justifies that person going armed. The permit holder may go armed anywhere in the state, only while engaged in such employment, and while going to and from the place of such employment.  A permit issued to a peace officer authorizes him to go armed anywhere in the state at all times.  When the employment is terminated, the permit must be surrendered to the issuing officer for cancellation.

A nonprofessional permit shall be issued to a person who is not disqualified under section 724.8, who satisfies the training requirements of section 724.9, and who files an application in accordance with section 724.10. Any restrictions are listed on the permit.

No professional or nonprofessional permit to carry weapons shall be issued to a person who is subject to any of the following:

  • is less than eighteen years of age for a professional permit or less than twenty-one years of age for a nonprofessional permit.
  • is addicted to the use of alcohol.
  • Probable cause exists to believe, based upon documented specific actions of the person, where at least one of the actions occured within two years immediately preceding the date of the permit application, that the person is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or in such other manner as would endanger the person's self or others
  • Is convicted of a felony or adjudicated a delinquent on the basis of conduct that constitute a felony.
  • is subject to a protective order or who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
  • Has, within the previous three years, been convicted of any serious or aggravated misdemeanor defined in chapter 708 not involving the use of a firearm or explosive.
  • Is prohibited by federal law from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm.

A person shall not be issued a permit to carry weapons unless the person has completed and signed an application on a form to be prescribed and published by the commissioner of public safety. The applicant shall also display an identification card that bears a distinguishing number assigned to the cardholder, personal identifying information, a brief description and colored photograph. 

The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of firearm safety by completing a firearm safety program. or by providing proof of training through service in the military or law enforcement. Knowledge of a training program may be demonstrated by completion of; a National Rifle Association handgun safety course, any handgun safety course offered by any college, law enforcement agency, public or private institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or Department of Public Safety or similar certifying body. 

A person armed with a handgun concealed upon the person must have in the person's immediate possession their concealed carry permit and shall produce the permit for inspection at the request of a peace officer.  A permit shall be invalid if the person holding the permit is intoxicated as defined by state law.

A valid permit or license issued by another state to any nonresident of Iowa shall be considered to be a valid permit or license to carry weapons issued, except that such permit or license shall not be considered to be a substitute for an annual permit to acquire pistols or revolvers.

A complete guide to the concealed carry law can be found at http://www.dps.state.ia.us/  under the heading, “Permits to Carry Weapons.”

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ANTIQUES AND REPLICAS

An antique firearm is any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898 or a replica of an antique firearm if the replica is not designed or redesigned to use conventional rimfire or centerfire ammunition or if the replica uses only rimfire or centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

Antique and replica firearms are exempt from the permit to purchase requirements above. The same laws on carrying that apply to modern firearms apply to antique and replica firearms.

MACHINE GUNS

A machine gun is a firearm which shoots or is designed to shoot more than one shot, without reloading, by a single function of the trigger.  State law prohibits the possession of machine guns and suppressors by private parties.  Suppressors may, however, be possessed and used by a person solely for the purpose of shooting a deer pursuant to an approved city special deer population control plan if the person has a valid federal permit to possess the supressor.  A list of limited exceptions pertaining to the possession of machine guns can be found at Iowa Code Ann. § 724.2, Authority to Possess offensive weapons.

PREEMPTION

A political subdivision of the state shall not enact an ordinance regulating the ownership, possession, legal transfer, lawful transportation, registration, or licensing of firearms when the ownership, possession, transfer, or transportation is otherwise lawful under the laws of this state. READ ALL

724.28  Prohibition of regulation by political subdivisions.  
   A political subdivision of the state shall not enact an ordinance regulating the ownership, possession, legal transfer, lawful transportation, registration, or licensing of firearms when the ownership, possession, transfer, or transportation is otherwise lawful under the laws of this state. An ordinance regulating firearms in violation of this section existing on or after April 5, 1990, is void. 
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Range Protection

A person who acquires title to or who owns real property adversely affected by the use of property with a permanently located and improved range shall not maintain a nuisance action against the person who owns the range... READ ALL

IOWA CODE ANN. § 657. 9. Shooting ranges

Before a person improves property acquired to establish, use, and maintain a shooting range by the erection of buildings, breastworks, ramparts, or other works or before a person substantially changes the existing use of a shooting range, the person shall obtain approval of the county zoning commission or the city zoning commission, whichever is appropriate. The appropriate commission shall comply with section 335.8 or 414.6. In the event a county or city does not have a zoning commission, the county board of supervisors or the city council shall comply with section 335.6 or 414.5 before granting the approval.

A person who acquires title to or who owns real property adversely affected by the use of property with a permanently located and improved range shall not maintain a nuisance action against the person who owns the range to restrain, enjoin, or impede the use of the range where there has not been a substantial change in the nature of the use of the range. This section does not prohibit actions for negligence or recklessness in the operation of the range or by a person using the range.

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MISCELLANEOUS

Persons found guilty of a forcible felony and who represented that he or she was in the immediate possession or control of a firearm, displayed a firearm in a threatening manner, or were armed with a firearm, shall serve a minimum of five years of the sentence imposed by law and shall not be eligible for parole until such minimum sentence has been served.

No unit of local government may regulate the ownership, possession, legal transfer, lawful transportation, registration, or licensing of firearms otherwise lawful under state law.

It is unlawful to intentionally discharge a firearm in a reckless manner.

When traveling on a public highway in a vehicle, an attached magazine must be unloaded. (In addition to disassembled and encased.)

SOURCES: Iowa Code Sections 483A.35, 483A.36, 724.1 through 724.30 and 902.7 and Chapter 571-51(481A) and 571-61.5(461A) of the Iowa Administrative Code.  Internet sources: http://www.dps.state.ia.us/asd/weapon_permits.shtml


CAUTION: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. This summary is not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. This summary does not include federal or local laws, ordinances or regulations. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation. YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.