Iowa allows adults to purchase a carry weapons if they obtain the proper permits, but this does not mean that everyone may carry a gun, or that you may always carry a gun wherever you like. (Iowa Code Ann. § 725.15 & 724.11.) For more information on permitting laws, see Iowa Gun Laws.
The following sections explain who may not have a gun, and the circumstances or situations when carrying a gun is illegal.
People Who May Not Carry a Gun in Iowa
The following individuals are prohibited from carrying a weapon in Iowa.
those younger than 21 years old (or younger than 18 years old for if you need to carry a weapon as a required part of your employment)
convicted felons (or those convicted of certain other violent crimes or activities that give police probable cause that you would harm yourself or others if you carried a firearm), and
people prohibited from carrying a firearm under federal law.
(Iowa Code Ann. § 724.15.)
Iowa imposes increased penalties for persons who commit crimes, involving a firearm (including permit violation),, when the crime is committed within a "weapons free zone." (A weapons free zone is the area in or within 1,000 feet of a public or private elementary or secondary school; or in or on a public park.) Violations that occur within such a zone are subject to twice the maximum fine that would otherwise apply.
(Iowa Code §724.4A.)
Some local ordinances may further restrict the areas or places where you may carry a gun, so check with your local city or county law enforcement office if you have specific questions.
Penalties for Gun Carry Violations
It is an aggravated misdemeanor to carry a firearm in Iowa without a carry permit. Penalties include a fine of at least $625 (and up to $6,250), up to a year in jail, or both. (Iowa Code Ann. § 724.4.)
It is a class D felony to carry a firearm in a weapons-free zone. Penalties include a fine of at least $1,500 (and up to $15,000), up to five years in prison, or both. (Iowa Code Ann. § 724.4A &B.)
Getting Legal Help
The penalties for violating gun carry laws are serious, and often include harsh fines and long prison sentences. If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in Iowa, or if you are facing charges for a gun violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.