Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task you must undertake as an armed American. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for each of the states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in the Hawkeye State below.

Getting a Concealed Carry Permit

As of July 1, 2021, Iowa is a permitless carry state for both open carry and concealed carry for anyone at least 21 years old that may lawfully possess a handgun. Iowa will continue to issue permits to carry weapons (PCW), for reciprocity purposes.

Iowa has two types of concealed carry permits available: professional and non-professional permits. A professional permit is issued to an individual at least 18 years of age who is employed in a capacity that reasonably justifies that person should be armed. A non-professional permit is issued to an individual at least 21 years of age who meets permit requirements, including state-approved training. Resident and non-resident permits are available.

Also as of July 1, 2021, purchase permits will not be required in order to acquire a pistol or revolver from a federally licensed firearms dealer. There are now several options, including obtaining a purchase permit, having a valid permit to carry weapons or completing a satisfactory national instant criminal background check. There is no waiting period or firearms registration in the state, with the exception of purchase permits becoming valid three days after the date of application. There are no magazine-capacity restrictions. Iowa prohibits the possession of any bullet or projectile containing any chemical compound or mixture designed to explode or detonate upon impact.

An Iowa carry permit also allows the concealed carrying of other non-firearm dangerous weapons such as switchblade knives, TASERs/stun guns, knives with blades in excess of 5 inches, or any other dangerous weapons. However, Tasers are illegal in some counties. In addition, Tasers that shoot electrodes are illegal. Pepper spray is legal to purchase and possess without a permit.

Where Can One Concealed Carry?

In terms of locations where a concealed handgun may be carried, anyone at least 21 years old that may lawfully possess a handgun may carry a handgun in a vehicle. There is no duty to inform a law enforcement officer that you’re carrying a concealed firearm unless the officer asks. Any valid concealed carry license holder can concealed carry at roadside rest areas.

Other areas where concealed carry is allowed are:

  • A restaurant or bar (unless posted, and provided you are not under the influence of an alcoholic beverage — BAC of 0.08 or greater)
  • State/national parks
  • State/national forests
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • Places of worship (however, since places of worship are private property, they may post signs prohibiting firearms)

 Locations where concealed carry is prohibited, even for permit holders, include:

  • Weapons-free zones, defined as in, on or within 1,000 feet of property comprising public or private elementary or secondary schools
  • School buses
  • On a campus or at a university-authorized function or event at the three Iowa state universities
  • Courtrooms, court offices or courthouses used only for judicial branch functions (if posted)
  • Public buildings that are posted and have security guards
  • Casinos
  • Iowa State Fair
  • Anywhere while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, other drug or a combination of such substances
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law

Visit the USCCA Iowa gun laws page now…