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Iowa Gun Rights

An Overview of Gun Laws in Iowa


Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms?


Concealed Carry

Iowa is a shall-issue state. Sheriff’s departments are required to issue carry permits to all qualified applicants. Applicants must submit to a background check and successfully complete a handgun safety course. The course does not have to be a state-certified course; a number of options will fulfill the requirement, including National Rifle Association handgun training courses or handgun training courses offered by departments of public safety in any state. Small arms training as part of military duties also fulfill the requirement. In addition to the usual circumstances banning persons from obtaining permits, Iowa also refuses permits to anyone addicted to alcohol or anyone who has been convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor, even if it does not include the use of a firearm, within three years.

States that honor Iowa’s carry permits include: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

Iowa honors carry permits from every state except Illinois and Wisconsin.

Castle Doctrine

Iowa does not currently have a castle law under the modern political definition of the castle doctrine, which usually refers to “stand your ground” laws, though such a law has been debated by the state’s lawmakers. However, the current law does protect citizens by not requiring retreat from aggressors within their home or place of business. The law provides civil immunity to persons who injure aggressors in defense of themselves, but does not provide civil immunity to persons who injure aggressors in defense of another.

Pro-Gun Provisions

Iowa has a firearms preemption law, which prohibits municipalities and other local governments from passing gun laws more restrictive than state law. Iowa also has a law protecting firing ranges.

Open carry is not permissible in Iowa.


Gun bans: None.

Waiting periods for gun purchases: No.

License or permit to purchase guns: A permit is required for handgun purchases. Permits are applied for through local law enforcement agencies. They are received immediately upon application, are valid in three days and are good for one year. Persons with a carry permit are excluded from the need to obtain a permit for purchasing handguns.

Registration of guns: No.

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