ATTENTION GUN OWNERS & FUTURE GUN OWNERS: GET CONCEALED CARRY CERTIFIED BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

Iowa Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Everything you need to know about owning a firearm in the state of Iowa

Iowa State Seal

Iowa Reciprocity Map

Last Updated: 2021

Iowa Concealed Carry Reciprocity Overview

3.18M

STATE POPULATION

400K

LICENSES ISSUED

12.58%

LICENSE PERCENTAGE

49

STATES HONORED

21

MINIMUM AGE TO CC

5

YEARS LICENSE VALID

33

RECIPROCATING STATES

YES

CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY

1

CC CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

Iowa residents starting their journey toward gaining their concealed carry license should begin by learning more about the gun rights and state laws that apply to them. The state is home to 3.1 million people and has distributed around 400,000 concealed carry licenses to date. This means roughly 12.68% of the population is licensed for Iowa concealed carry.

Understanding how your Iowa gun rights translate across state lines is called reciprocity. Iowa has reciprocity agreements with 33 states and will honor licenses or permits from all other states. You must be at least 18 or 21 years old to gain one of two available concealed carry permits in Iowa, with each remaining valid for five years.

Having a firearms education partner you can trust is a great asset if you’re interested in obtaining your Iowa concealed carry license. Concealed Coalition has trained over a million U.S. citizens on how to carry their weapons safely and effectively. Contact us to find online or local training to help you achieve your concealed carry license.

Iowa Resident at a State Certified Firearms Training Course with Concealed Coalition

Summary of Iowa Gun Laws

Your Iowa Gun Rights

Keeping current with your gun rights is very important for Iowa concealed carry because your home state’s rules can be updated at any time. Iowa residents should always contact their local sheriff’s department for the latest firearms and concealed carry information.

Iowa is both a permitless carry and a shall-issue state, meaning the state must issue a permit to any applicant who meets state requirements for firearms ownership. Residents can get a Permit to Carry by applying to the sheriff’s department in your county of residence.

The permit is available in two forms: professional and nonprofessional. Professional permits are available to those aged 18 and up whose employment requires firearm ownership. Nonprofessional permits are for everyone else.

Buying a revolver or pistol from a licensed firearms dealer in Iowa requires submitting to a background check or having a valid permit to acquire and carry the firearm. 

Open Carry in Iowa

Iowa permits this for anyone who meets the age minimums and the state’s legal requirements for firearms ownership.

Concealed Carry in Iowa

The same rules apply as with open carry, with the addition that the applicant must pass a state-approved firearms course. The accepted means of doing so are detailed in our Firearms Training and Competency section.

Self Defense Laws in Iowa

Iowa has clear rules regarding the use of force. Here are the details on how it can be legally used:

Use of Force

Iowans have no duty to retreat before using force in a location they are legally allowed to be in. People can legally use force in self-defense, defense of others, or property to protect these from criminal interference and the use of or impending use of force.

Use of Deadly Force

This is permitted to avoid injury or a life-threatening situation arising from unlawful entry into, or attempted unlawful removal of someone from, a dwelling, place of business, or occupied vehicle owned by the person acting in self-defense or in defense of others under the same conditions.

Protecting Yourself After Use of Force

Iowa has civil immunity for anyone found to have used force reasonably. This isn’t a guarantee of courts seeing things your way, however. Familiarize yourself with Iowa’s force laws to gain a better understanding of where using it can lead.

Firearms training is another way to increase your legal awareness and develop better situational judgment. Concealed Coalition has trained over a million people to become responsible, certified gun owners. Classes are available locally and online.

Iowa Gun Laws by Statute

Concealed Coalition is dedicated to dispelling the myths surrounding gun ownership and promoting a culture of understanding, responsibility, and confidence. Our certified instructors are qualified across multiple states, and our online or local training classes provide convenient learning environments run by instructors who care.

Contact us today at (515) 207-3239 or email to discuss your concealed carry permit educational needs.

Quick Links

Iowa Concealed Carry Classes

CONCEALED CARRY BASICS IN IOWA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Does Iowa recognize constitutional carry?

Yes.

Is open carry permitted in Iowa?

Yes, as of July 1, 2021.

If Iowa requires a license to carry a concealed firearm, how are those licenses issued?

Iowa is a shall-issue state.

What is the minimum age in Iowa to get a concealed carry license?

You must be at least 21 years old.

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in Iowa with a concealed carry license (or under permit-less carry if applicable)?

No.

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Iowa?

Some counties prohibit these, while others allow them as long as they do not shoot electrodes. Both weapons require an Iowa concealed carry permit to own or possess one. Contact your local sheriff for more details.

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Iowa?

Yes.

Does Iowa have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

No.

Does Iowa have ammunition restrictions?

Ammunition containing any contents that allow it to detonate or explode on impact is prohibited.

CONCEALED CARRY LOCATIONS IN IOWA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Where can't I carry a concealed firearm in Iowa?

Iowa concealed carry is forbidden in the following locations:

  • Areas prohibited by state regulation or law, or by federal law
  • On private property if the owners prohibit firearms
  • The Iowa State Fair
  • Within 1,000 feet of any location or facility used for or in conjunction with private or public elementary or secondary schools
  • School buses
  • On the grounds of Iowa state universities
  • Casinos
  • Court buildings
  • Posted public buildings with security guards present

This list may be subject to change. Calling ahead to ask about the firearms policy of any intended destination can prevent unnecessary complications.

Where can I carry a concealed firearm in Iowa?

Places of worship (with permission) are allowed, as are the other locations mentioned in the following questions. It’s again recommended to check with your intended destination beforehand to be sure of their firearms policy.

Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Iowa?

Yes, when 21 or older and in possession of a firearms permit.

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Iowa?

Yes. No permit is necessary.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forest and Wildlife Management Areas in Iowa?

Yes, but the weapon may only be discharged under certain circumstances.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Iowa?

Yes, unless it is posted that concealed carry is prohibited.

Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Iowa?

Hotels can set their own firearms policies. Iowa locations do have the right to refuse lodgings to any party in possession of a potentially dangerous or hazardous object under item 137C .25(d). Always call ahead to clarify a hotel’s firearms policy position in advance.

Does Iowa have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

This is not addressed in any Iowa codes or laws, but it’s a good idea to consult with your employer before attempting to do so.

IMPORTANT GUNS LAWS IN IOWA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Do you have a duty to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Iowa?

Iowa concealed carriers have no duty to inform an officer of their firearms status whenever stopped.

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, but it’s always required to respect the wishes of a property owner who may not wish firearms on their premises in any capacity.

Does Iowa have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e., Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

Yes. Municipalities can restrict firearms from entering government buildings, however, by using armed security personnel and screening.

Does Iowa have a red flag law?

No.

Does Iowa state law define brandishing?

No, but either irresponsible firearms handling or malicious intent might constitute assault under item 708.1 subdivisions b and c.

Does Iowa have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or chemical substances?

Iowa law doesn’t specifically address this. It’s never recommended to have or be in the vicinity of a firearm while under the influence.

Does Iowa issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?

Yes.

Does Iowa allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

No.

HANDGUN PURCHASE & POSSESSION IN IOWA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Iowa?

No.

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Iowa?

No, as of July 1, 2021.

Does my current Iowa concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase firearm? 

Yes.

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Iowa?

There’s a three-day period before the initial firearms permit becomes active, with no waiting period necessary after this for as long as the permit is valid.

Do handguns need to be registered in Iowa?

No.

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Iowa?

21 years old. However, individuals younger than 21 may do so under the supervision of a parent or guardian who will be liable for the younger’s conduct while possessing the weapon or its ammo.

Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home in Iowa without a license? 

Yes.

IOWA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE INFORMATION

Concealed Carry Requirements to Register for a License in Iowa

An applicant must:

  • 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

Fees:

  • Initial Permit  $50
  • Renewals $25
  • Duplicates $25

Valid For:

5 years.

Processing Time:

30 days.

Applications:

Link to CCW Application.

Non-Resident Concealed Carry License:

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.

Name & Address Changes:

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.

Lost or Stolen Licenses:

Apply to the Sheriff in the county of your residence for a duplicate, replacement or renewal.

Residency Changes:

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.

IOWA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS

Step One:

Complete a firearms training course if required.

Step Two:

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.

Step Three:

Apply in person at your local county sheriff’s office or the Commissioner of Public Safety. You will need the following documents:

  • Photocopy of firearms training certificate
  • Drivers license
  • Completed application form.

Pay the fee.

Step Four:

You will be notified if your application has been approved.

IOWA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE RENEWAL PROCESS

Overview:

Renewals cost $25 and must be submitted 30 days before (and no later than 30 days following) the current permit’s expiration. Nonprofessional application renewal forms are available at your local sheriff’s department.

Online versions are also available, depending on the department. Applicants should submit renewals to their local sheriff or the Iowa DPS. Your completed application and a driver’s license are required for renewal. Those needing a Professional permit must apply to the Commissioner of Public Safety.

Step One:

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.

Step Two:

Apply in person at your local county Sheriff’s office or the Commissioner of Public Safety. Pay the fee.

Step Three:

You will be notified if your application has been approved.

Concealed Carry for Law Enforcement Officers and Retired LEOs

The federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) allows both active and retired law enforcement officers (LEOs and RLEOs) to concealed carry anywhere in the U.S. with some restrictions. State law specifies that RLEOs must meet five criteria to qualify for their Former Peace Officer ID card.

This ID will certify that the RLEO’s firearm skills are up to date. RLEOs must maintain this state-approved standard of firearms proficiency via approved instructors of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA). RLEOs in any doubt about concealed carrying after leaving active duty should contact their previous department or the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) for further information.

Firearms Training & Competency

The certified instructors at Concealed Coalition will teach you the applicable laws for your state and how to carry and fire a firearm safely. Training is available across the U.S. and online, so contact us to sign up or ask any questions.

Iowa provides several acceptable routes to gaining the firearm skills necessary for concealed carry. These and other training options are listed here to help Iowans become as informed, capable, and confident as possible:

NRA Training

Completing any NRA firearms safety course is acceptable proof of firearms training and competency in Iowa. The NRA offers a broad spectrum of firearms training covering many different subjects at a wide range of locations. Use the local training locator to find a firearms safety course and other worthwhile lessons near you.

Hunter Safety Courses

Completing a hunter education program approved by the Natural Resource Commission that includes handgun safety training is acceptable, provided successful completion of the course is included on the certificate. Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources offers a hunter education program with four options to learn the necessary skills. Note: These classes are typically held from March 1 to November 15. 

Firearms Safety Courses From Other Providers

Iowa accepts the completion of any handgun safety training course available to the general public when offered by:

  • A law enforcement agency
  • A community college or college
  • A private or public institution or organization
  • A firearms training school

Instructors must be from state-recognized bodies such as the ILEA or the NRA.

A Firearms Training Course With a State-Certified Instructor

Concealed Coalition offers firearm training to help you gain valuable skills toward securing a concealed carry license. Our highly specialized instructors provide actionable lessons based on their extensive practical experience to ensure you gain tested and reliable skills.

DD Form 214 or Military Orders for Active or Former Military Members

Iowa codes don’t specifically mention the DD 214. Iowa recognizes small arms qualifications gained while serving in the U.S. military, however.

Employment-Based Firearms Training

Iowa recognizes the completion of any handgun safety training course offered for the following professions:

  • Security guards
  • Investigators
  • Special deputies
  • Any division or subdivision of a law enforcement or security enforcement agency approved by the Iowa DPS

Contact the Iowa DPS if you doubt whether your professional training applies toward a concealed carry license.

Get Certified for a Iowa Concealed Carry Permit Today

Our network of firearms professionals are holding training classes and in-person certification courses throughout Iowa. Use our certification locator to enroll in an upcoming firearms training course near you today, or visit our Iowa concealed carry permitting resource for online certification.

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