I can legally carry a concealed firearm in Iowa, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
Based on our most recent research, the USCCA has identified just two states with statutes against carrying a concealed firearm while wearing a mask: California and Illinois (although sheriffs and county prosecutors in Illinois have made statements indicating that wearing a mask to protect others from COVID-19 while carrying a gun isn’t illegal as long as the wearer isn’t wearing the mask while committing a crime). Due to the large number of inquiries, some states have publicly addressed their laws regarding wearing masks, clarifying that they actually refer to individuals concealing their identity with the intention to commit illegal acts or to specifically hide their identity, and do not address wearing a mask while legally carrying a concealed firearm. Per the Iowa FAQ page, Iowa code does not place any type of clothing restrictions on a permit holder in a public place.
If you have further questions, we recommend that you reach out to your local law enforcement office, or district attorney.
Iowa is a shall-issue state. There are two types of permits available. Professional permits are issued to individuals at least 18 years of age that are employed in a capacity that reasonably justifies that person going armed. Non-professional permits are issued to individuals at least 21 years of age that meet permit requirements, including training.
Either a purchase permit or a valid permit to acquire weapons is required to acquire 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.
Iowa issues a Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW) that is necessary in order for residents to openly carry or concealed carry a firearm, within city limits. No permit is required to open carry outside city limits. The minimum age is 21 years old for non-professional permits and 18 years old for professional permits. Concealed carry is legal for residents with an Iowa PCW and non-residents with a CCW permit from any state. 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.
Use of Deadly Force A person is presumed to reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety or the life or safety of another in either of the following circumstances:
The person against whom force is used is doing any of the following:
Unlawfully entered by force or stealth or entering by force or stealth the dwelling, place of business or employment, or occupied vehicle of the person using force;
Unlawfully removing or attempting to unlawfully remove another person against the other person’s will from the dwelling, place of business or employment, or occupied vehicle of the person using force.
Defense of Self or Another A person is justified in the use of reasonable force when the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any actual or imminent use of unlawful force.
A person who reasonably believes that a forcible felony is being or will imminently be perpetrated is justified in using reasonable force, including deadly force, against the perpetrator or perpetrators to prevent or terminate the perpetration of that felony.
Defense of Property A person is justified in the use of reasonable force to prevent or terminate criminal interference with the person’s possession or other right in property and to to aid another in the lawful defense of the other person’s rights in property or in any public property.
Civil Immunity A person who is justified in using reasonable force against an aggressor in defense of oneself, another person or property is immune from criminal or civil liability for all damages incurred by the aggressor pursuant to the application of reasonable force.
Yes without a permit outside city limits. However, a valid permit to carry is required within the limits of any city. Open carry of handguns is prohibited in the state capitol building and grounds, except by law enforcement.
What is the minimum age in Iowa to get a concealed carry permit?
You must be at least 18 years old to get a concealed carry permit in Iowa.
Professional permits are issued to individuals at least 18 years of age that are employed in a capacity that reasonably justifies that person going armed. Non-professional permits are issued to individuals at least 21 years of age that meet permit requirements, including training.
Weapons Other Than Handguns Allowed?
Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in Iowa with a concealed carry permit (or under permitless carry if applicable)?
An Iowa carry permit allows for the concealed or open carrying of handguns, rifles and shotguns, excluding those classified by Iowa law as offensive weapons (machine gun, ballistic knife). An Iowa carry permit also allows the concealed carrying of other non-firearm dangerous weapons such as knives with blades in excess of five inches, switchblade knives, TASERs/stun guns or any other dangerous weapon.
Note: Non-firearm dangerous weapons may be carried openly without a permit. Non-firearm dangerous weapons may also be regulated by local ordinance that is more stringent than Iowa law.
Yes, although Tasers that shoot electrodes are illegal. In addition, Tasers and stun guns are prohibited in Denison and Crawford Counties. A concealed carry permit is required to purchase or possess a stun gun or Taser, except on your own property. It is illegal to carry a stun gun (openly or concealed) with the intent to use the stun gun on another person, without justification.
Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Iowa?
Yes, with a valid permit to carry. Without a permit, handguns must be unloaded and inside a closed and fastened container or securely wrapped package that is too large to be concealed on the person. They may also be inside a cargo or luggage compartment where the pistol or revolver will not be readily accessible to any person riding in the vehicle or common carrier. When a motor home is parked and being used as a residence, no permit is required.
Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Iowa?
Yes, with a valid permit to carry. Carry is permitted at roadside rest areas in Iowa.
Carry in State/National Parks, State/National Forests and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)?
Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas in Iowa?
Yes. A person with a valid permit may carry his or her firearm, but the use of that firearm is prohibited. Use includes brandishing, displaying, bartering, striking with, and, most obviously, firing or attempting to fire the weapon.
Can you carry a firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Iowa?
Yes, there is no statute making it illegal to concealed carry with a valid concealed carry permit, unless posted.
Carry/Possess at a hotel?
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Iowa?
A person operating a hotel has the right to refuse or deny the use of a room, accommodations, facilities, or other privileges of the hotel to an individual the hotel operator reasonably believes is bringing in anything which may create an unreasonable danger or risk to other persons, including but not limited to firearms or explosives. The individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it's concealed carry policy. See the Handguns at Hotels page for additional information.
Are "No Weapons Allowed" signs enforced in Iowa? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.
No. Iowa does not enforce "No Weapons Allowed" signs.
Does Iowa have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?
Yes. There is full state preemption of all gun laws. No municipality may have any ordinance, motion, resolution, policy, or amendment regulating the ownership, possession, legal transfer, lawful transportation, modification, registration, or licensing of firearms, firearms attachments, or other weapons. However, municipalities may restrict firearms in government buildings provided there is appropriate screening as well as armed security personnel present.
In addition, Iowa Code § 724.28(3) authorizes any “person adversely affected” by the regulation to file suit in court for “declaratory and injunctive relief for damages.”
No. However, a person commits assault when they intentionally point a firearm toward another, or display a dangerous weapon in a threatening manner with the intention of placing another in fear of immediate physical contact.
Carry While Using Alcohol or Controlled Substances?
Does Iowa have laws regarding carrying a firearm while using alcohol or controlled substances?
Not while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage (BAC of 0.08 or greater), while any amount of a controlled substance is present in the person, as measured in the person's blood or urine, or a combination of such substances.
As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Iowa?
Yes. A permit to acquire or a valid permit to carry weapons is required.
Background Checks for Private Gun Sales? Exceptions?
Are background checks required for private gun sales in Iowa? Are there exceptions?
Yes. A person acquiring a handgun must have a permit to acquire pistols or revolvers or a current permit to carry, both of which involve an initial background check.
There are exceptions, including one for family members (grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces or half-siblings), unless the person transferring the pistol or revolver knows that the person acquiring the firearm would be disqualified from obtaining a permit.
Does my current Iowa concealed carry permit exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?
Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Iowa?
Only in the sense that a permit to acquire a handgun becomes valid 3 days after the date of application. After the permit is issued, the holder may purchase additional handguns without a waiting period for 5 years (the duration of the permit).
Do handguns need to be registered in Iowa?
No. Handguns do not need to be registered in Iowa.
Minimum Age to Possess and Transport?
What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Iowa?
21 years old.
5. a. A parent or guardian or spouse who is 21 years of age or older, of a person under the age of 21 may allow the person, while under direct supervision, to possess a pistol or revolver or the ammunition therefor for any lawful purpose, or while the person receives instruction in the proper use thereof from an instructor 21 years of age or older, with the consent of such parent, guardian or spouse.
8. A parent, guardian or spouse who is 21 years of age or older, of a minor under the age of 14 years who allows that minor to possess a pistol or revolver or the ammunition pursuant hereto, shall be strictly liable to an injured party for all damages resulting from the possession of the pistol or revolver or ammunition therefor by that minor.
Permit to Acquire Application Process In order to purchase a handgun in Iowa, whether through a licensed firearms dealer or a private transaction (unless between family members), either a Permit to Acquire a pistol or revolver or a Permit to Carry Weapons is required. The application for a Permit to Acquire is processed at the county level and is valid for 5 years after the date it is issued. Some counties accept online applications, others accept them by mail, but most require an application to be submitted at the county sheriff’s office in person. To see if your county of residence accepts online permits, check the county sheriff’s office website directly.
In order to obtain a Permit to Acquire, you will need a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID and will have to pay a fee. A NICS background check will be processed. The processing time to obtain a Permit to Acquire will differ county by county and may take up to 10 days. The permit itself is not valid until 3 days after the date it is issued.
Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in Iowa?
Yes. A person in possession of a valid permit to carry weapons may carry a handgun while hunting. However, only handguns as described in Iowa Admin. Code 571.106.7(3) may be used to hunt deer and only when a handgun is a lawful method of take, except where the possession or carrying of a firearm is prohibited by state or federal law.
Carry While Bow Hunting?
Can you concealed carry while bowhunting in Iowa?
Yes, with a valid concealed carry permit , although the handgun may not be used to shoot or dispatch any deer. Hunters who do not have a permit to carry may not have a handgun in their possession while hunting under an archery tag.
Hunter Harassment Law?
Is there a Hunter Harassment Law in Iowa?
Yes. Intentional interference with lawful hunting, fishing, or fur-harvesting activities is illegal and includes one or more of the following:
Intentionally placing oneself in a location where a human presence may affect the behavior of a fur-bearing animal, game, bird, or fish or the feasibility of killing or taking a fur-bearing animal, game, bird, or fish with the intent of obstructing or harassing another person who is lawfully hunting, fishing, or fur harvesting.
Intentionally creating a visual, aural, olfactory, or physical stimulus for the purpose of affecting the behavior of a fur-bearing animal, game, bird, or fish with the intent of obstructing or harassing another person who is lawfully hunting, fishing, or fur harvesting.
Intentionally affecting the condition or altering the placement of personal property used for the purpose of killing or taking a fur-bearing animal, game, bird, or fish with the intent of obstructing or harassing another person who is lawfully hunting, fishing, or fur harvesting.
A person shall not interfere with the lawful hunting, fishing, or fur-harvesting activities of another person in an area where hunting, fishing, or fur harvesting is authorized by a custodian of public property or an owner or lessee of private property.
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State Constitutional Provision
All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights - among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness. -Article 1, Section 1 Note: A constitutional amendment was passed by the House and Senate in March 2019. The text of the proposed amendment reads: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny." It would need to be passed by the Legislature again and approved by voters before it could take effect. The earliest it can be placed on the ballot is 2022."
IOWA HAS NO STATE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS.
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
Be at least 18 years of age for a professional permit;
Be at least 21 years of age for a non-professional permit;
Complete a firearms training course;
Not be addicted to the use of alcohol;
Have no pending charges;
Have no felony convictions;
Have no outstanding arrest warrants;
Not be subject to the firearm possession, receipt, transportation or control prohibitions;
Not have been convicted within the previous 3 years in any court of a serious or aggravated misdemeanor not involving a firearm or explosives for which the court could have imprisoned him or her for more than 1 year, even if he or she received a shorter sentence, including probation;
Not bear probable cause to use a weapon unlawfully or in such other manner as would endanger the person’s self or others based on prior actions in the last 2 years; and
Non-resident permits are available and the application is the same as for residents. Professional permit applications for non-residents must be made to the Commissioner of Public Safety. [Iowa Code § 724.11]
Iowa DPS recommends that a person notify the Sheriff’s Office that issued a permit when a person has a change of address. However, if a person moved from one county to another, he or she must start over to get a permit showing the new address, as the Sheriff of the new county of residence cannot issue a duplicate or renew a permit that the Sheriff did not issue. There will be a procedure to allow a person to transfer his or her permit from one county to another after a move. This transfer process is currently being developed and should be available once the new permit cards are available.
Apply to the Sheriff in the county of your residence for a duplicate, replacement or renewal.
Moving to Iowa and interested in applying for a permit? How soon can you apply? Iowa issues permits to residents, members of the military and limited non-residents who work or go to school in Iowa. You can apply for a resident permit with the sheriff of your county once you have established your residence in that county and have an Iowa Driver's license or state-issued ID.
Moving from Iowa and have an Iowa resident permit? Does that permit transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your Iowa permit remains valid? If a person with an Iowa permit to concealed carry establishes residency in another state, he or she should contact the issuing authority for a determination as to how long the permit remains valid.
A person wishing to renew a Permit to Carry Weapons must apply within 30 days before the permit expires, or within 30 days after the permit expires, otherwise the higher NEW permit fee must be charged.
Download the application or pick up from your Sheriff's office. Professional permit applications for non-residents must be made to the Commissioner of Public Safety.
Apply in person at your local county Sheriff’s office or the Commissioner of Public Safety. You will need the following documents:
Drivers license; and
Completed application form.
Pay the fee.
You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details, check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.
Iowa Admin. Code 661.93 addresses identification cards for former peace officers. Any police firearms instructor approved by the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) can qualify retired law enforcement officers. The ILEA in-service standard is used for annual firearms qualification and ILEA conducts open range dates for retired LEOSA qualification. Officers receive a card indicating current qualification.
Carry in bars/restaurants that serve alcohol? Yes, unless posted.
Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? No. Any firearm would need to be unloaded and inside a closed and fastened container that is too large to be concealed on the person or inside a cargo or luggage compartment where the handgun will not be readily accessible to any person riding in the vehicle.
Carry in roadside rest areas? Yes.
Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests and WMAs? Yes.
Carry in places of worship? There is no state statute prohibiting concealed carry in places of worship. However, since places of worship are private property, they may post signs prohibiting firearms.
The only knives that are illegal are ballistic knives. It is legal to open carry any legal knife. It is legal to concealed carry a balisong, dagger, stiletto, razor, switchblade or knife with a blade longer than 5 inches only with a permit. Based on the current wording of the statute, state preemption only applies to firearms. Therefore, local ordinances may restrict the possession of knives, swords or other types of weapons that are not firearms.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.
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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