Gun laws in Iowa

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Gun laws in Iowa regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Iowa in the United States.

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
State Preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes 724.28 A political subdivision of the state shall not enact an ordinance regulating the ownership, possession, legal transfer, lawful transportation, registration, or licensing of firearms when the ownership, possession, transfer, or transportation is otherwise lawful under the laws of this state
Permit to Purchase? No Yes 724.15 Permit To Carry may be used in lieu of Permit to Acquire when purchasing a handgun
Permit to Carry? N/A Yes 724.4 Iowa is a "shall issue" state. An Iowa carry permit is technically a "Permit To Carry Weapons", and is not limited to firearms. It allows people in Iowa to open or conceal carry any kind of weapon, so long as that weapon is not otherwise illegal to own in Iowa. However, based on the current wording of the statute, state preemption only applies to firearms. As such, residents are advised to be aware of local ordinances that might restrict the possession of knives, swords, or other types of weapons that are not firearms.
Open Carry? Yes Yes 724.7 Iowa issues a "Permit to Carry Weapons" that is necessary to carry a firearm. Firearms may be carried open or concealed. Concealed carry is more typical in Iowa, but open carry is not uncommon.
Castle Doctrine No (see Notes) 704


Civil immunity for use of "reasonable force" in self defense
Firearm registration? No No
Assault weapon law? No No
Magazine Capacity Restriction? No No
Owner license required? No No
NFA weapons restricted? 724.1 Suppressors legal as of March 31, 2016.[1]
Background checks required for private sales? No Yes 724.15 A person acquiring a handgun must have an annual permit to acquire pistols or revolvers.
Location of Iowa in the United States

On January 1, 2011, Iowa became a "shall issue" state for a permit to carry weapons on one's person.[2] Applicants must successfully complete an approved training course.

Iowa will honor any valid permit issued by any other state. Persons do not have to be a resident of the state from which the permit was issued. However, an Iowa resident must have an Iowa Permit To Carry in order to lawfully carry a firearm on his or her person in Iowa.

A Permit To Acquire (PTA), obtained from the sheriff of the county of the applicant’s residence, is required when purchasing or otherwise acquiring a handgun, either from a dealer or from a private party. A Permit To Acquire shall be issued to qualified applicants aged 21 or older. The PTA becomes valid three days after the date of application, and is valid for one year. A PTA is not required when purchasing an antique handgun, defined as one made in or before 1898 and including post-1898 replicas of matchlock, flintlock, or percussion cap pistols.

Iowa residents with a Permit To Carry (PTC) can use the PTC in lieu of a PTA when acquiring a handgun. The PTC is valid for 5 years.

Iowa has enacted state preemption of firearms laws, so local units of government may not restrict the ownership, possession, or transfer of firearms, or require their registration.[3]

Under Iowa law, private citizens may not possess automatic firearms, short-barreled rifles (barrels under 16 inches), short-barreled shotguns (barrels under 18 inches), any firearm "other than a shotgun or muzzle loading rifle, cannon, pistol, revolver or musket" with a bore of more than 6/10 of an inch (unless it is an antique made in or before 1898), or any explosive, incendiary or poison gas destructive device. Sound suppressors ("silencers") may be possessed if the suppressor is federally registered.


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