Iowa Weapons Law

JUVENILES AND FIREARMS

A loaded firearm must be secured if it is known or there is reason to believe that a minor under the age of 14 years is likely to gain access to the firearm. A loaded firearm can be secured by a trigger lock mechanism, by placing it in a securely locked box or container, or by placing it in some other location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure from a minor.

A person under the age of 18 may possess a rifle or shotgun or its ammunition for lawful use when allowed to do so by the person's parent, guardian, spouse who is 18 or older, or another with the express consent of the minor's parent, guardian or spouse who is 18 or older.

A person must be at least 18 years old to acquire a rifle or shotgun or its ammunition. A person must be at least 21 years old to acquire a handgun or its ammunition. Caliber .22 rimfire ammunition is considered as rifle ammunition.

A person between the ages of 14 and 21 may be allowed to possess a pistol or revolver or its ammunition while under the direct supervision of the person's parent, guardian or spouse who is 21 or older, or while receiving instruction in the proper use of a handgun from an instructor who is 21 or older.

A person must be at least 18 years old to apply for a permit to carry. However, a permit to carry that is valid for handguns cannot be issued to a person who is 18, 19 or 20 years old unless that person will be performing the duties of a peace officer, security guard or correctional officer, or while on military duty, or while under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian, or spouse who is 21 years old or older, or while receiving instruction from an instructor who is at least 21 years old with the consent of such parent, guardian or spouse.

BUYING OR ACQUIRING FIREARMS

The Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Brady Handgun Control Act require that persons must meet certain requirements before taking possession of firearms from federally licensed firearm dealers. These are listed in the section entitled Acquiring and Possessing Firearms in Iowa. A background check through the National Instant Check System (NICS) is required to ensure that these qualifications are met.

RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS

If a federally licensed dealer runs a NICS check prior to the sale of the rifle or shotgun and the person is disqualified, the dealer will be told to deny the sale but will not be told the reason. If the person believes the denial to be in error and wants to appeal, this can be done on forms available through the dealer. Under federal law, if a person has a valid Iowa permit to acquire or permit to carry, a federally licensed dealer may transfera firearm to the permit holder without running a NICS check.

HANDGUNS

Iowa law also requires a person to have a valid Iowa permit to acquire or permit to carry before acquiring a handgun. This applies to both dealer sales and private transactions. A handgun may generally be transferred from one family member to another without a permit as long as the person receiving the handgun meets the state and federal requirements for possession.

AMMUNITION

A person must be at least 18 years old to aquire ammunition for a rifle or shotgun, and must be at least 21 years old to aquire ammunition for a handgun. Caliber .22 rimfire ammunition is considered as rifle ammunition.

LEGALLY TRANSPORTING HANDGUNS, RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS IN MOTOR VEHICLES WITHOUT A PERMIT TO CARRY

An unloaded handgun may be transported in a closed and fastened container or securely wrapped package which is too large to be concealed on a person, or inside a cargo or luggage compartment where the handgun is not readily accessible to any person in the vehicle. An unloaded rifle or shotgun may be transported if it is taken down or totally contained in a securely fastened case.

CARRYING WEAPONS IN MOTOR HOMES

When a motor home is being used as a means of transportation, a permit to carry is not needed if the weapon is unloaded and in a container or package too large to be concealed on a person or inside a cargo or luggage compartment where the handgun is not readily accessible to any person in the vehicle. When a motor home is used as a residence or place of business, no permit is required.

CARRYING WEAPONS - RESIDENCES, BUSINESS OWNERS AND LAND OWNERS

The law restricting the carrying of weapons does not apply to persons who are in their own dwelling or place of business, or to persons on land owned or possessed by them. Dwelling includes homes, rented apartments, and hotel/motel rooms. Dwelling does not include hallways, lobbies and other common area outside apartments or hotel/motel rooms.

CARRYING WEAPONS - TARGET PRACTICE AND HUNTING

A person does not need a permit to carry while lawfully engaged in target practice on a range designed for that purpose or while actually engaged in lawful hunting.

BLACK POWDER FIREARMS

Black powder firearms (rifles, shotguns and handguns) are defined as dangerous weapons in the Iowa Code section 702.7. Therefore, they are considered the same as modern weapons for the purpose of permits to carry. Under federal law and state law, black powder firearms are classified as antiques. Neither permits to acquire nor federal instant checks are required.

STUN GUNS

Stun guns fall under the defination of a dangerous weapon (Iowa Code, section 702.7). Therefore, the permit-to-carry laws apply. Permits to acquire are not required, as they are not classified as firearms.

PAINT GUNS, AIR RIFLES, BB GUNS, LONG BOWS AND CROSSBOWS

The purchase, acquisition or possession of paint guns, air rifles, BB guns, long bows and crossbows is not regulated by federal or state law.

AMMUNITION RESTRICTIONS

Iowa law prohibits the possession of:

  • exploding bullets (classified as offensive weapons in 724.1 and prohibited in 724.3)
  • fireball type ammunition, also known as dragon's breath (classified as offensive weapons in 724.1 and prohibited in 724.3)

WEAPON FREE ZONE

Weapon free zone means the area in or on, or within one thousand feet of, the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, or in or on the real property comprising a public park. A weapons free zone shall not include that portion of a public park designated as a hunting area under section 461A.42. A person who commits a public offense involving a firearm or offensive weapon in a weapon free zone shall be fined twice the normal maximum amount.

CARRYING WEAPONS ON SCHOOL GROUNDS


A person who goes armed with, carries, or transports a firearm of any kind, whether concealed or not, on the grounds of a public or nonpublic school commits a class "D" felony. This does not apply to a person who has been specifically authorized under the Iowa Code or by the school to go armed, carry, or transport a firearm on the school grounds, including for the purpose of conducting an instructional program regarding weapons.

NON-CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES


A legal resident alien who has been a resident of Iowa continuously for at least 90 days is considered to be a resident of the state for the purpose of acquiring or carrying weapons. After the 90-day waiting period, a resident alien has the same rights and priviledges of a US citizen.

NON-RESIDENTS


Non-residents are not eligible for permits to acquire but may make application to the Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety for permits to carry.