Citation(s) from the literature library

Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2023 ‘Concealed Carry in Iowa.’ Guns in Public. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 31 January

Relevant contents

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Iowa

Iowa allows a person to carry a concealed firearm within city limits if the person has a concealed weapons permit. Iowa is a "shall issue" state, meaning that law enforcement must issue a concealed weapons permit to an applicant that is not prohibited under state criteria from obtaining a permit. In Iowa, any person not disqualified under the state eligibility requirements discussed below and who satisfies state training requirements shall be issued a "nonprofessional" permit to carry weapons. "Professional" permits are issued for persons employed in the following professions, if the person's position in that profession reasonably justifies that person going armed:

1) private investigation business or private security business licensed under Iowa Code, Chapter 80A;
2) peace officer;
3) correctional officer;
4) security guard;
5) bank messenger;
6) person transporting property of a value requiring security; or
7) police work.

No person will be issued a professional or nonprofessional permit to carry weapons if the person:

- Is less than age 18 for a professional permit or less than age 21 for a nonprofessional permit;
- Is addicted to the use of alcohol;
- Probable cause exists to believe, based upon documented specific actions of the person, where at least one of the actions occurred within two years immediately preceding the date of the permit application, that the person is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or in such other manner as would endanger himself or herself or another person;
- Is subject to the firearm possession, receipt, transportation or control prohibitions of Iowa Code § 724.26; and
- Has, within the previous three years, been convicted of any serious or aggravated misdemeanor defined in Iowa Code Chapter 708 not involving the use of a firearm or explosive; or
- Is prohibited by federal law from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm.

Firearm Safety Training

All applicants for a nonprofessional permit to carry firearms must satisfy state training requirements. Applicants may demonstrate knowledge of firearm safety by any of the following:

- Completion of any National Rifle Association handgun safety training course;
- Completion of any handgun safety training course available to the general public offered by a law enforcement agency, community college, college, private or public institution or organization, or firearms training school, utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Iowa Department of Public Safety or another state's department of public safety, state police department, or similar certifying body;
- Completion of any handgun safety training course offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of a law enforcement or security enforcement agency approved by the department of public safety;
- Completion of small arms training while serving with the armed forces of the United States as evidenced by any of the following:
- For personnel released or retired from active duty, possession of an honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions; or
- For personnel on active duty or serving in one of the national guard or reserve components of the armed forces of the United States, possession of a certificate of completion of basic training with a service record of successful completion of small arms training and qualification; or
- Completion of a law enforcement agency firearms training course that qualifies a peace officer to carry a firearm in the normal course of the peace officer's duties.
- Satisfactory completion of safety training may be documented by:
- A photocopy of a certificate of completion or any similar document indicating completion of any course or class identified in the aforementioned list;
- An affidavit from the instructor, school, organization, or group that conducted or taught a course or class attesting to the completion of the course or class by the applicant; or
- A copy of any document indicating participation in any firearms shooting competition.

For permit renewals, the training program requirements apply, or the renewal applicant may choose to qualify on a firing range under the supervision of an instructor certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Public Safety or another state's department of public safety, state police department, or similar certifying body. This training or qualification must occur within the 12-month period prior to the expiration of the applicant's current permit.

Duration & Renewal

A nonprofessional permit shall be valid for five years.

Disclosure or Use of Information

Iowa does not have any specific requirements regarding the disclosure or use of the information gathered from concealed weapons permit holders or applicants for a concealed weapons permit. Iowa's Commissioner of Public Safety maintains a permanent record of all valid permits to carry weapons and of current permit revocations.


Iowa recognizes licenses issued by other states, so long as the license holder is not a resident of Iowa.

Brady Exemption

Concealed weapons permit holders in Iowa are exempt from background checks when purchasing a firearm, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) chart that outlines those permits that qualify as alternatives to the Brady Act. Please note that ATF's exempt status determination is subject to change without notice…

[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]

ID: Q7559

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