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Iowa is a lenient state when it comes to issuing permits for concealed carry and purchasing firearms. 

As long as you meet all necessary requirements, you will get your permits. Therefore, the state is a shall-issue state.

Iowa is also one of those states that will issue both residents and non-residents permits. It has very flexible reciprocity unlike other states.

There is really a lot to learn about CCW in Iowa, and if you intend to conceal carry in the state for any reason, you have to get familiar with all state’s law.

Iowa Gun Laws

To conceal carry in Iowa, you need the state’s Permit to Carry Weapon (PCW). This PCW represents Iowa’s CCW permit.

Gun permits in Iowa are of two types, the professional and nonprofessional permit. 

A non-professional permit is for people that are at least twenty-one years old. If you are eighteen years old but less than twenty-one, you will only get a professional permit.

Before you can get a concealed carry Iowa permit, you need to meet all requirements provided by the state’s gun law.

Gun Reciprocity Iowa

Iowa CCW permit reciprocity allows the state to respect permits from every other state in the country. 

So, as a non-resident in Iowa, you can conceal carry as long as you have a permit for your gun.

Other aspects of Iowa reciprocity include the following:

  • States that accept Iowa’s CCW Permit: These states will honor Iowa concealed carry permit. There are fourteen of them.
  • States with restricted Iowa CCW permit: These states will only accept a “residents only” CCW permit from Iowa. There are just five of them.
  • States that do not request a permit: These states do not require a permit to conceal carry on their territory as long as you are within the legal age. There are fourteen of them.

Regardless of whether a state accepts Iowa’s CCW permit or not, you are still required to handle your weapon in accordance with the state laws.

Therefore, as a non-resident of a state, you have to understand the gun laws of the state if you must conceal carry within its territory.

Iowa CCW Location Restriction.

Regulation of the usage of guns is taken very seriously in Iowa. Even with an Iowa concealed carry permit, you cannot be with your gun in some places.

Iowa law states this clearly, and these places are regarded as off-limits.

CCW Off Limits Places In Iowa

  • Places that clearly have signs that restrict the usage of weapons within their premises are regarded as weapon-free zones, and you cannot conceal carry in these places.
  • The closest you are allowed to be with a firearm around school buildings and premises is one thousand meters.
  • School buses or vehicles conveying school students.
  • You cannot conceal carry within a university campus or within the venue of an event organized by any of the three universities in Iowa.
  • You cannot conceal carry in or around a courthouse.
  • You cannot conceal carry in game-houses and casinos.
  • You cannot conceal carry in any public gathering, events of fairs that are approved by the government of Iowa.
  • You cannot conceal carry in any professional sporting event.
  • You cannot conceal carry in any place if you are drunk or under the influence of a hard substance.
  • You cannot conceal carry anywhere that is restricted by federal law.

Places Where You Can Conceal Carry In Iowa

  • You can conceal carry in bars and restaurants as long as you are not under the influence of alcohol and the use of a firearm is not restricted in such place
  • You can conceal carry in roadsides and places used as rest areas
  • You can conceal carry in national forests and parks.
  • If there is no post or sign that restricts the usage of guns in a place of worship, you can conceal carry there.

Conceal Carry Iowa For Law Enforcement Officers

The federal government has a law enforcement officer safety act that allows both active and retired law enforcement officers to carry a firearm.

This law means that officers of any law enforcement agency can conceal carry in any state including Iowa, regardless of the state’s gun laws or CCW permit requirements.

In Iowa, retired law enforcement officers have to qualify before they are allowed to conceal carry within the state. The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy allows any licensed police instructor to train retired officers.

Only retired officers that qualify and pass the training will be allowed to conceal carry within the territory of Iowa.

Dealing With Firearm In Iowa

Buying and selling firearms in Iowa are guided by very strict laws. Violating them could lead to issues as serious as jail terms.

Before you purchase a gun in Iowa, you need to have Iowa concealed carry permit to purchase or acquire. However, there is no gun registration for Iowa CCW

Other things you should know include:

Background Check For Buying Gun In Iowa

A background check is necessary before you purchase a gun in Iowa. 

A permit to acquire already proves that you have a clean background check because a NICS assessment must have been completed before a permit is issued to you.

The exceptions to getting a permit include the transfer of firearms to family members, both nuclear and extended.

However, the person receiving the firearm must meet all requirements for obtaining the Iowa CCW permit.

If a firearm will be sold without a permit, then the licensed seller must oversee the buyer’s background check before a sale is completed.

Waiting Period For Purchasing A Firearm In Iowa

If your Permit to acquire is new, then a waiting period of three days is required to purchase a firearm in Iowa.

However, subsequent purchases will not require a waiting period for a duration of five years when the CCW permit expires.

Age Requirement For The Sales and Purchase Of Gun In Iowa

Before dealing with guns, you must be at least twenty-one years old.

An exception to this is when a person under the age of twenty-one uses a gun for only a lawful reason. In this case, the person must be at least eighteen years old.

The person must also be under the supervision of someone within the legal age of twenty-one, and written consent from a parent or guardian must be provided.  

Another important gun law you must pay attention to is the handling of a gun by a minor. A minor in this case is defined as someone who is less than fourteen years old.

If the guardian or parent of the minor is at least twenty-one years old, and they allow the minor to possess a firearm, they shall be duly responsible for all injuries and damages caused by the minor while handling the gun.

How To Get A Permit To Deal With Gun

You need either a Permit to Acquire a Pistol, or a Permit to Carry Weapons before you can purchase a firearm from a private dealer or a federally licensed dealer in Iowa.

As earlier stated, the only exception is for a transfer between family members.

The permit application process will be carried out at the municipality level, and this differs from county to county.

Some counties in Iowa accepts online applications only, while others require applications by mail. You can also submit the required paperwork in the Sheriff’s office.

Make sure that you check the sheriff’s website to understand how to go about your permit application.

The document you have to provide before getting a permit to acquire is an Iowa issued driver’s license or a valid ID from the state (This comes with a fee).

The process of approval includes a NICS background check. The period to complete this differs from municipality to municipality.

However, after your permit has been issued to you, you cannot make use of it for a period of three days.

Iowa CCW Permit Requirement

For Iowa concealed carry permit application, you must satisfy all CCW requirements of the state. They include the following:

  • If you are applying for a professional permit, you must meet the minimum age requirement of eighteen years.
  • If you are applying for a non-professional permit, you must meet the age requirement of twenty-one years old.
  • You must complete a gun training course, and this could be Iowa concealed carry online
  • You must not be an addict of alcohol or any other dangerous substance.
  • You must not have a pending law charge in your name
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony against the state
  • You must not be a fugitive or have an arrest warrant from any law enforcement agency in your name.
  • You must not have a court order that prevents you from the possession or transportation of a firearm.
  • You must not be convicted for a misdemeanor or any offense, even if it does not involve the use of firearms, for a period of more than one year, regardless of if you get the sentence reduced or not. This also includes probation.
  • You must not have been involved in the usage of a firearm in a dangerous and unlawful manner that has threatened a life, for a period of two years.
  • You must meet all federal law requirements for the application of a concealed carry permit.

How To Apply For CCW Permit In Iowa

Now that you know the requirements you have to meet for Iowa concealed carry permit application, let’s go through the application process.

There are four stages you have to go through to get your Iowa CCW permit.

Complete The Firearm Training

An Iowa concealed carry class must be completed, and this is the first stage of the application process.

Without training from a licensed instructor you cannot proceed.

Get Your Application Form

Depending on your county, you can either download Iowa concealed carry permit application online or visit the sheriff’s office to pick it up.

If you are non-resident, visit the Department of Public Safety for your application

Application Process

For this stage, you need to provide the following documents:

  • A photocopied certificate from your completed firearm training
  • State’s driver’s license
  • A completed application form and your payment fee.

Take these documents to your sheriff’s office, or the department for public safety.

Get Approval Notification

You will get at approval notification mail if your application is granted.

How To Apply For Iowa CCW Permit Renewal

Iowa CCW permit is only valid for a period of five years. Therefore, you will definitely have to renew your permit if you still intend to conceal carry Iowa.

To renew, you have a grace of thirty days before and after your permit expires. If this elapses, you will be charged a new permit fee.

The renewal process includes the following:

Download Renewal Form

Download the renewal application form from your local sheriff website, or you visit the sheriff’s office to collect it.

Submit The Application Form

After filling the form, submit in person to the sheriff’s office. The completed form must be submitted alongside a means of identification.

You will also pay the renewal fee.

Get Notification

You will receive an approval notification by mail.

Castle Doctrine In Iowa

Iowa refers to the castle doctrine as a stand your ground policy.

This means that you are not obliged to retreat if you deem it fit that a required force is needed to protect and defend yourself or another from an illegal break-in on your premises.

Castle doctrine in Iowa covers the following places:

  • Home residence
  • Vehicles and
  • Business places.

For castle doctrine in Iowa, you have civil immunity as long as the force you used for self-defense and protection of your property is reasonable in accordance with the law.

Iowa CCW Training Requirements

A recognized CCW training is required in Iowa before you can conceal carry.

You must prove that you are knowledgable in handling firearms by completing Iowa concealed carry class in any of this format:

  • A National Rifle Association firearm safety program
  • A training class that is overseen by a licensed instructor in the state, and is open to everyone.
  • A training course that is organized by security personnel and has been certified by the Department of Public Safety
  • Any form of training organized by the United States Armed Forces while serving as an officer
  • A training course organized by the law enforcement agency  
  • A handgun training that is licensed by the Iowa National Resource Commission for hunter education.

Each of these training must include a live-wire session.

It is important that the training you enroll for has a permit from Iowa state. If this is not the case, any certificate you get from such training is invalid.

Iowa Concealed Carry FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about Iowa CCW

How Much Is The Iowa CCW Permit Application?

For Iowa permit application, the fees are as follow:

  • Fifty dollars for an initial permit
  • Twenty-five dollars for a renewal application
  • Twenty-five dollars for a duplicate permit

What Is The Processing Period For A CCW Permit

It usually takes thirty days.

Can I Get An Iowa Non-resident Permit?

Iowa issues both residents and non-residents permit.

Additional Resources

Iowa Gun Laws
Iowa Open Carry Laws
Iowa Gun Permit Laws

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