Iowa Gun Laws

Learn about gun control laws, gun permit requirements, and penalties in Iowa.

In Iowa, you must obtain an annual permit to purchase a pistol or revolver. If you want to carry a weapon that you already own, or to purchase and carry a weapon, you must obtain a permit to carry a weapon. Although both permits have the same eligibility requirements (discussed below); note that a purchase permit alone does not qualify you to carry a weapon in public, whereas a permit to carry covers both purchase and carry. (Iowa Code Ann. § 725.15 & 724.11.)

For more information, see Open and Concealed Gun Carrying Laws in Iowa.

How to Obtain a Purchase or Carry Permit in Iowa

To obtain an annual purchase permit or weapons carry permit, you must apply at the sheriff’s office in county where you live. To qualify, you must:

  • be at least 21 years old (or 18 years old, if applying for a professional permit to carry a weapon as part of your job),
  • show proof that you have completed a firearms safety training course,
  • and pay all required fees

Additionally, you must not be:

  • a convicted felon (or convicted of certain other crimes involving domestic or other violence)
  • addicted to alcohol
  • someone who has committed certain actions in the past two years that lead the police to have probable cause to believe that you will endanger yourself or others if you were to possess a firearm, or
  • prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law.

(Iowa Code Ann. § § 724.7, 724.8, 724.11, 724.15.)

Does Iowa Recognize Concealed Weapons Permits From Other States?

Yes. Iowa recognizes concealed weapons permits issued by all other states, according to the terms of those states’ licenses. However, you must obtain an Iowa license if you become an Iowa resident. (Iowa Code Ann. § 724.11A.)

Penalties for Failing to Obtain a Concealed Carry Permit

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.)

Getting Legal Help

If you have any questions about whether you are eligible to get a firearm permit, are allowed to purchase and carry a gun in Iowa, or if you are facing charges for a gun permit violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.

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