Iowa Gun Laws: What You Should Know


As a responsibly armed American, you already know how challenging it can be to stay up to date on gun laws…

Iowa gun owners, you’re in luck. We’ve gathered some of the most frequently asked firearms questions in your state. Read on for answers to some of the top questions regarding Iowa gun laws. (Not from Iowa? Check the Legal & Second Amendment tab for your state!)

Is It Legal to Open Carry in Iowa?

Yes. Any person who is at least 21 years old and has an Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW) can open carry or concealed carry a firearm within city limits. Non-residents with resident permits from states Iowa honors may also open or concealed carry in city limits. No permit is required to open carry outside of city limits.

Can You Carry a Gun in Your Car in Iowa?

Yes, a person may have a concealed and readily accessible handgun in a vehicle with an Iowa PCW or a resident concealed carry permit from a state that Iowa honors. Without a permit, handguns must be unloaded and inside of a closed and fastened container or securely wrapped package that is too large to be concealed on a person. Firearms may also be inside a cargo or luggage compartment where they will not be readily accessible to any person riding in the vehicle. When a motor home is parked and being used as a residence, no permit is required.

Is Iowa a ‘Stand Your Ground’ State?

Yes. Iowa is a Castle Doctrine state as well as a “stand your ground” state. There is no duty to retreat so long as a person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any actual or imminent use of unlawful force. The law applies at a person’s residence, vehicle or place of business. There is civil immunity when using “reasonable force” in defense of self, property or another.

What Are the Concealed Carry Laws in Iowa?

Iowa is a shall-issue state. There are two types of permits available. A resident must be 21 years old and can apply for a non-professional permit at the Sheriff’s office in his or her county of residence. A non-resident 18 years or older can apply for a professional permit at the Department of Public Safety. He or she must also demonstrate a need for a permit, such as owning a business or property in Iowa or frequent travel to Iowa. Concealed carry permits require a firearms training course that has been state-approved. In terms of reciprocity, Iowa recognizes permits from all states and jurisdictions.

How Much Is a Gun Permit in Iowa? How Long Does It Take to Get a Permit in Iowa?

The cost for a new permit is $50, and that permit is valid for 5 years. Renewals cost $25. Iowa issues permits to residents and non-residents. Applicants must complete a firearms training course that has been state-approved. Processing time is 30 days.

Do I Need a Permit to Purchase a Handgun in Iowa?

Yes. Either an annual purchase permit or a valid permit to acquire weapons is required to purchase a handgun in Iowa. There are exceptions for Federal Firearms Dealers, transfers between some relatives and antique handguns. There is no waiting period or firearms registration in the state.

Are Silencers Legal in Iowa?

Yes. Firearm suppressors were legalized in Iowa in 2016. However, prior to acquisition, suppressors must be registered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). A $200 transfer fee or tax stamp must be paid to the ATF, and the Federal Firearms Dealer you use for the process may also charge a fee. The registration process takes approximately 6-10 months.

Ready to Learn More About Iowa Gun Laws?

It is your responsibility as a gun owner to know and understand the laws regarding your concealed carry rights. The USCCA’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity & Gun Laws Map has been designed to help inform and educate armed citizens like you. To learn more about Iowa’s concealed carry permit application process, concealed carry restrictions and training requirements, visit the Iowa gun laws page now…

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and, as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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