Iowa gun laws encourage possession of firearms as well as open and concealed carry.

The state issues permit types to make the carrying of firearms easy for everybody that wishes to do so.

However, you must still be familiar with the laws to open carry the right way without any violations.

Iowa Gun Law Summary

Iowa has two types of firearm permit in the state.

The first type of permit is the professional one for those that are at least eighteen years old and need a permit for employment. This is called the professional permit

The next type of permit is the non-professional permit, and this is for only those that are at least twenty-one years old.

Iowa has a shall-issue policy, with the application processed by the county sheriff or the commissioner for public safety in the state.

It also requires that a purchase permit be obtained for buying guns.

Firearm dealers must complete the criminal record background check, except it is a transfer between family members.

With a permit to carry, you do not need to undergo the background check before buying.

The state permits are valid for both residents and non-residents of the state. The commissioner for public safety is in charge of non-residents’ application.

You must meet all the state requirements to possess firearms before the review board accepts your permit.

However, as a non-resident, you can also conceal and open carry with permits from other states in the country.

Is Open Carry Legal In Iowa?

Yes. You can open carry in Iowa as long as you have the state’s permit to carry. You can use the permit for concealed carry in the state as well.

Iowa also has restrictions for the possession of firearms in specific locations; hence you might face prosecution if you open carry in these places.

Iowa Open Carry Laws

Iowa is one of the permissive open carry states in the USA. This means that as long as you have your permit to carry, you can open carry. [Update: As of July 1st, 2021] An Iowa resident will not need a permit to carry so long as the individual is not prohibited from specific state or federal laws from owning a firearm.

Iowa also preempts local laws in the state.

Another important thing about open carry in Iowa is the type of firearms the state allows for these activities.

The state prohibits assault weapons, like machine guns and automatic firearms.

Ammunitions that have chemical compositions and are likely to explode after projecting are also not allowed.

The exceptions to these are members of the United States Armed Forces, law enforcement officers, peace officers, and employees from government agencies that use firearms.

 Iowa Open Gun Law Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carry.YesYesYou must have an Iowa permit to carry firearms before you open carry in the state.
Firearm registrations for open carry.NoNoThere are no requirements to register firearms after buying in Iowa.
Assault weapon for open carry.YesNoIowa restricts bullets with chemical compositions and firearm machine guns in the state.
Magazine limitNoNoThere are no limits for the number of magazines that must be in an open carry firearm in Iowa.
License for the owner of a firearm.Not requiredNot requiredYou do not require any other license to own a firearm in Iowa.
Red flag lawNoNoIowa does not have any red flag law to restrict the possession of firearms in the state.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesIowa is a castle doctrine state with a stand your ground policy in your dwelling place, workplace, or personal vehicle.
Background check for private dealersYesYesA background check is compulsory for all dealers of firearms in the state. The only exception is for the transfer of firearms from one family member to another in the state.
PreemptionYesYesIdaho has preemption gun law with the state government owning all the authority for firearms handling in the state. However, local areas can enact laws for buildings that they own, and regulate permit and possession of firearms within their territory.
Concealed carry permit.NoYesConcealed carry is only possible for those that have either of the state-issued permits to conceal carry in the state.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleNoYesYou can conceal carry only handguns in your vehicle, and you must be with your firearm permit to do so.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoYou cannot open carry in schools, colleges, universities, and other technical institutions in the state.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Iowa?

You can open carry in the following places in Iowa:

  • Restaurants and bars: You can open carry in restaurants areas except they have posts that prohibit the possession of firearms.
  • Roadside areas: You can open carry in roadside areas as long as you have a permit to do so.
  • State parks, forests, and wildlife management areas: You can open carry in forests, parka, and wildlife management areas in Iowa.
  • Place of worship: You can open carry and possess firearms in places of worship, except they have signage that prohibits this.

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In Iowa?

Iowa prohibits open carry and possession of firearms in the following places:

  • Schools: The closest to schools in the state you can open carry is at least one thousand feet. This also includes colleges and university campuses in Iowa, as well as school buses and vehicles used for transportation of students.
  • Courthouses: You cannot open carry in courthouses and during a court proceeding.
  • Public occasions: You cannot open carry on public occasions like the state fair and in casinos.
  • Under the influence: You cannot open carry or possess your firearm under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance in the state.
  • Prohibited places: You cannot open carry in places prohibited by federal laws of the state.

FAQs About Open Carry Iowa

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about open carry in Iowa.

Do I Need A Permit Before I Open Carry In Iowa?

Yes. Open carry in Iowa is not possible without the state’s permit to carry weapons.

Do I Need The Same Permit To Open And Conceal Carry In Iowa?

Yes. Iowa issues the same permit to carry weapons for both open and concealed carry in the state.

At What Age Can I Open Carry In Iowa?

Open carry in Iowa is legal for people that are eighteen years old or more.

What Is The Age Requirement To Apply For Iowa Permit To Carry?

For a professional permit, you must be at least eighteen years old. For a non-professional permit, you must be at least twenty-one years old.

Does Iowa Have A Red Flag Law?

No. Iowa does not have a red flag policy in the state.

Is Iowa Permit To Carry Available For Non-residents Of The State?

Yes. Non-residents can apply for an Iowa permit. But only the commissioner for public safety in the state can issue non-residents a professional carry permit.

You can also conceal and open carry in the state with permits from other states in the USA.

Is Iowa A Constitutional Carry State?

No, Iowa does not recognize constitutional carry in the state.

What Other Weapons Can I Open Carry In Iowa?

You can open carry knives according to state statutes, except for ballistic knives.

However, this depends on your county of residence because local law can regulate the open carry of such weapons in their territory.

Does Iowa Have Firearm Restriction Laws In The State?

Yes. Iowa gun law statutes define machine guns as offensive weapons, and this is unlawful in the state.

According to Iowa gun laws, machine guns are any type of firearm that, when fired, will shoot more that one ammunition without reloading or pulling a trigger.

Must I Obtain A Firearm Purchase Permit before Buying Firearms In Iowa?

Yes. You can only buy firearms in Iowa if you have a purchase permit.

Is NISC Criminal Record Background Check Compulsory For The Purchase Of Firearms?

Yes. You have to complete the background check, except you already have the state’s permit to carry.

How Long Does Iowa Permit To Carry Firearm Lasts?

The permit is valid for five years, after which you must apply for a renewal permit.

Is It Compulsory To Notify A Law Enforcement About Your Possession Of Firearms?

No. You are not under any form of obligation to inform the police that you are carrying a firearm with you.

Does Iowa Make Use Of Caste Doctrine Policy?

Yes. The state will recognize castle doctrine as a means of self-defense; therefore, you can stand your ground at home, in workplaces in your vehicle.

Does Iowa Allow The Use Of Deadly Force?

Yes. However, you can use deadly force if you feel that an attack can cause bodily injury or imminent death.

Must I Pass A Firearm Training Before Open Carry In Iowa?

Yes. You must enroll in a safety class, or you apply for a firearm training online, conducted by a state-approved instructor.

Must I Complete Firearm Registration After Buying A Firearm?

No. There are no requirements to register your firearm in Iowa.

Relevant Open Carry Law And Legislature In Iowa

Some of the relevant open carry laws in Iowa include the following:

Ammunition Restriction In The State

Iowa gun law prohibits the usage of any ammunition or bullet that has a chemical composition manufactured to detonate upon shooting the firearm.

Preemption Law In Iowa

Iowa has preempted gun laws. Also, the state allows anybody affected by the gun laws to file a suit at the court.

Iowa’s attorney general also allows local areas and municipalities to regulate the use of a firearm in their territory.

Therefore, municipalities and counties can make use of home rules for concealed carry permits, open carry, and firearm possession in their building or properties.

Brandishing Of Firearms

According to Iowa gun laws, it is an assault crime to deliberately point your firearm at another person or use your firearm in such a dangerous manner that puts someone in fear or threatens their safety.

A Person guilty of this will face state prosecution.

Possession Of Firearms Under The Influence Of Alcohol

It is a crime to handle firearms while under the influence of alcohol in Iowa. Under the influence is defined in the state statute as a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08.

This law also covers a person under any other intoxicating drug or substance controlled by the drug law enforcement agency.

In this case, a test on the person’s urine will determine if the person is under the influence or not.

Open Carry While Hunting

It is legal to open carry while hunting in Iowa. However, the state law has provisions for firearms that are lawful for open carry in the state.

Also, you must have a permit before you open carry while hunting in the state.

But while bow hunting or during archery, you cannot open carry. In this case, you can conceal carry with firearms, and the firearm cannot be used to hunt animals during archery sessions.

Iowa has hunter harassment laws to help protect hunting activities in the state like fishing and harvesting of furs.

The law consists of the following:

  • No one should deliberately be in any location where his or her presence will influence the behaviors of animals with furs, games in wildlife, birds, and aquatic animals.
  • No one should deliberately affect the possibility of killing or taking games by disturbing or harassing anybody lawfully carrying out hunting activity in the state.
  • No one shall intentionally create any type of stimuli that will affect the behaviors of games to disturb or harass legal hunting activities in the state.
  • No one should intentionally alter a personal property used for hunting activity in the state.
  • Nobody should interfere with hunting, fishing, harvesting of furs of another person is an area approved for these activities to take place, either owned by a person or leased to the person.

Additional Resources

Iowa Gun Laws
Iowa Concealed Carry Laws
Iowa Gun Permit Laws

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