Concealed Carry in the State of Iowa
Iowa’s concealed carry rights were expanded in April of 2017 when Governor Terry Branstad (R), who will soon serve as ambassador to China for the Trump administration, signed House File 517 into law.
When signing the House Republican bill, Branstad — who is the longest-serving governor in American history and is currently in his sixth term — broadened stand your ground rules by removing the requirement for law-abiding citizens to retreat in a public place before using deadly force when confronted with danger to life or property.
On top of that, city and county laws concerning gun control are pre-empted under new state law (they may not regulate firearms), children may use firearms with adult supervision, those with concealed carry permits may have firearms on their person in the state capitol building and the new law removes the need to immediately show proof of a weapons permit when carrying a CCW in public, which was previously a misdemeanor for not having the permit immediately on hand when carrying.
An earlier version of this bill would have removed the state permit system and the background check system, but as it stands those are still in effect.
How To Apply For An Iowa Concealed Carry Permit
The professional permit, defined under Iowa Code § 724.6, allows residents to carry weapons when one’s employment in a private investigation or security business reasonably justifies that person to be armed while on the job. This section also mentions and pertains to peace officers, correctional officers, security guards and bank messengers.
The nonprofessional permit to carry weapons is the general permit for the general public, expiring after five years. Iowa is a shall-issue state.
Applicants will submit their initial permit application to their county sheriff, while professional permits will be filtered through the commissioner of public safety. Nonresident applications, which are only available for the professional permit when doing business in the state of Iowa, are also filtered through the commissioner of public safety.
To qualify for the permit, one must fulfill the state’s training requirements. These may be satisfied under any of the following:
- An NRA handgun safety training course
- A handgun safety training course offered to the general public through a law enforcement agency, community college, college, private or public institution or organization, or firearms training school
- A handgun safety training course offered for security guards, special deputies, investigators or any law/security enforcement agency approved by the Iowa Department of Public Safety
- Small arms training while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces shown either after honorable discharge with a DD-214 or through active duty with a certificate of completion of military basic training
- A law enforcement agency firearms training course that qualifies a peace officer to carry while on duty
Documentation, depending on the type of training, can be shown through a photocopy, an affidavit from a course instructor or the previously mentioned DD-214.
There are federal and state eligibility requirements for a permit to carry weapons. This is validated through an NICS background check. Federal firearm prohibitors include felony convictions and indictments, being a fugitive from justice with an active warrant, unlawfully using or being addicted to a controlled substance, being adjudicated incompetent or committed to a mental institution, not having a valid citizenship status, dishonorable discharge, having a domestic protection/restraining order and domestic violence convictions.
State prohibitors include the same felony conviction regulations, including juvenile felony adjudication. Aggravated misdemeanors involving a firearm or explosive, misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, and protection/restraining orders are also listed as state prohibitors.
An application can also be declined because of alcohol addiction or probable cause to believe the applicant will use the firearm unlawfully or in a way that will endanger themselves or others.
Professional permit applicants must be at least 18 years old and nonprofessional permit applicants must be at least 21 years old.
The applicant should consult their county issuing authority to confirm the fees attached to the application, some counties charge $5-$10 more for the wallet card. State law sets new permit fees for $50, renewals at $25 and duplicate permits at $25.
This living document is in no way an exhaustive account of every detail on carrying firearms in the state, nor is it formal legal advice, so be sure to take any questions up with a county or state licensing authority.
The nonprofessional permit to carry must be renewed at least 30 days before expiration, and within 12 months prior to reapplying the applicant must again satisfy the training requirement or qualify on a range under the supervision of a certified instructor who will determine their qualification.
The state has a separate permit to acquire pistols or revolvers, but applying for and receiving the permit to carry weapons effectively removes the need to get the additional permit to acquire pistols or revolvers.
There is no requirement to reapply for another permit after a change of address in Iowa or after a name change after getting married, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
Once the permit is issued, it is valid statewide and it cannot be further restricted by one’s issuing authority, but there are still limitations on the permit.
Iowa Gun Laws Restrict Weapons In Specific Locations
A permit will not be valid:
- While bowhunting
- While riding a snowmobile
- While riding in an ATV
- At a state game refuge
- At state parks and preserves (only use is prohibited, not carrying or possessing the firearm, according to a letter from an interim director of the Department of Natural Resources)
- State fairgrounds
- State licensed casinos
- State Board of Regents institutions (University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa)
- K-12 school premises
- While intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
Neither chapter 724 of the Iowa Code nor the Administrative Rules, 661, Chapter 91 mentions whether or not firearms may be restricted by a private property owner or in the workplace. However, one may carry on their own private property or business without a permit, according to Iowa Code 724.4.
A loaded firearm may be carried in a motor vehicle, however, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, but only if one has a valid permit, according to Iowa Code 724.4. Otherwise, it must be stored in a closed container and not readily accessible.
This type of permit is also not required while lawfully hunting or while target shooting at a range.
Iowa Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Iowa concealed carry reciprocity does not have agreements between states, but has what the Iowa Department of Public Safety calls “universal recognition.”
This means as long as a visitor has an out-of-state permit and is not a resident of Iowa, that permit is valid and recognized by Iowa.
Iowa does not list any states that would recognize its permit, because it does not want to provide out-of-date information, which is fair.
For this reason, valid CCW reciprocity maps are good tools for the average gun owner.
Click On Another State To Learn About Their Concealed Carry!
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.