Iowa Gun Laws

If you’re looking to obtain a legal firearm in Iowa, here are some facts about Iowa gun laws.


Iowa is a shall-issue, permitless carry state. In Iowa, open carry and concealed carry are legal without a license. Any person at least 21 years of age and legally entitled to possess a firearm may open carry a firearm in public without a license or permit. Two types of concealed carry permits or Permits to Carry Weapons (PCW) available in Iowa. Professional permits are issued to individuals at least 18 years of age that are employed in a capacity that justifies being armed. Non-professional permits are issued to individuals at least 21 years of age that meet permit requirements, including training. Concealed carry permits are issued by local county sheriff’s office or the Commissioner of Public Safety.

Is There a Waiting Period to Buy a Handgun in Iowa?

No, with a permit, you can purchase a handgun with no waiting period. If you do not have a permit, you must go through a background check.

Is A Permit Required To Purchase A Handgun In Iowa?

No, in Iowa a permit is not required to purchase pistols, revolvers, or long guns.

Do You Need To Register Handguns in Iowa?

No, handguns, rifles and shotguns do not have to be registered in Iowa.

Who Is Eligible To Obtain a Concealed Carry Permit or Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW) in Iowa?

Any Iowa state resident who is at least 18 years of age can apply for a Professional permit and 21 years old can apply for a Non-professional permit.

Is Firearms Training A Requirement in Iowa For a Concealed Carry Permit or Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW)?

Yes, in Iowa a firearms training course must be completed to obtain a Concealed Carry Permit or Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW).

What Are The Requirements To Obtain a Concealed Carry Permit or Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW) in Iowa?

Guidelines to obtain a Iowa Concealed Carry Permit or Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW):

  • 18 years of age for a professional permit or 21 years of age for a non-professional permit
  • Complete a firearms safety course
  • Must meet federal law requirements

What Are The Steps To Obtain A Concealed Carry Permit or Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW) in Iowa?

In Iowa you need to apply for a Concealed Handgun Permit or Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW) by downloading an application from the Iowa Department of Public safety website: Or you can pick up an application from your local sheriff’s office. You will be notified in 30 days if your application has been approved.

Step 1: Complete a firearms safety course

Step 2: Download or pick up an application and fill it out

Step 3: Submit the application at your local sheriff’s office along with your firearm training certificate, driver’s license, and fee.

How Much Does An Iowa Concealed Carry Permit Cost?

The fee for an Iowa Concealed Handgun Permit or Permit to Carry Weapons (PCW) is $50.

Does Iowa Recognize Concealed Carry Pistol Permits From Other States?

Yes, Iowa honors concealed carry permits from all states.

Is Iowa a Constitutional Carry State?

Yes, Iowa is a constitutional carry state.

Is Iowa an Open Carry State?

Yes, open carry is legal in Iowa without a license or permit for anyone at least 21 years of age and is legally entitled to possess a firearm.

Is Iowa a Castle Doctrine State?

Yes, Iowa is a Castle Doctrine state and a Stand Your Ground state. There is no duty to retreat before defending yourself.

Are AR-Style and Other Semi-Auto Rifles Legal in Iowa?

Yes, magazine-fed semi-auto rifles are legal to buy and possess in Iowa.

Are Standard-Capacity Magazines Allowed in Iowa?

Yes, in Iowa, there are no state magazine-capacity restrictions.

Does Iowa Have Gun Storage Laws?

Yes, Iowa gun storage law states a firearm must be secured by a trigger lock mechanism, placed in a securely locked box or container, or placed in some other location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure from a minor under 14 years of age, if the person knows or has reason to believe that a minor under the age of 14 years is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent, guardian, or person having charge of the minor.

Is Iowa a Red Flag State?

No, Iowa is not a Red Flag state.

DISCLAIMER: provides this information to subscribers and readers, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of gun laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information disclosed. Gun laws are constantly changing, for legal advice, consult a lawyer in your state.

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Robert Sadowski
Having been trained by many top-shelf handgun, shotgun, AR carbine, and long-range shooting instructors, Robert Sadowski brings a user's perspective to Gun Tests. He has authored and edited 15 books on firearm values, firearm disassembly and assembly, and gun guides. His Book Of Glock (Skyhorse Publishing) debuted as an Amazon #1 New Release and is a must-read for the Glock enthusiast. His latest book, 9MM - Guide to America's Most Popular Caliber (Gun Digest Books), is an indispensable resource on the 9mm and understanding the cartridge's performance for concealed carry, home defense, or competition. Over the past two decades, Sadowski has written for many magazines and websites, including,,, and more. His print work has appeared in Combat Handguns, Ballistic, Real World Survivor, Guns Digest, Guns of the Old West, SHOT Business, and more. He is currently the Treasurer/Secretary of the Glock Collectors Association. After receiving an MA from New York University, he worked for a number of magazine publishers and advertising agencies. Sadowski is a lifelong hunter, competitive shooter, and native of Connecticut. He now lives in North Carolina to take full advantage of our 2nd Amendment privilege.


  1. Much of the info on this page about Iowa gun laws is wrong, you do not need a permit to buy or carry a handgun, I do not believe there has been a waiting period for handguns since 2021.

  2. Also a law that was passed silently. You must keep a copy of the buyers permit if selling privately… I got charged with this in Washington County, to my surprise up to 15 yrs – luckily they fizzled out to a fine.


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