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Iowa Gun Control Laws

As the national debate regarding gun control and gun ownership shows no signs of cooling down any time soon, states are left to balance both sides in their regulatory statutes (laws). Although the Second Amendment permits citizens to keep and bear arms, states are permitted to outlaw certain weapons and accessories. For example, in Iowa, sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, and silencers are all illegal. This is an introduction to gun control laws in Iowa.

Iowa Gun Laws

State gun control laws restrict the sale, ownership, and use of firearms. While the Hawkeye State imposes no waiting period for gun purchases, buyers must be of legal age to purchase, can't have a felony conviction on their record, and are limited to certain types of firearms.

The chart below lists the details of Iowa's gun control statutes.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Illegal Arms

The following firearms are illegal to own in Iowa:

  • Offensive weapons
  • Machine guns
  • Short-barreled rifles or shotguns
  • Any weapon other than a shotgun or muzzle-loading rifle, cannon, pistol, revolver, or musket, which fires or can be made to fire a projectile by the explosion of a propellant charge which has a barrel of more than six-tenths of an inch in diameter
  • Any bullet containing any explosive mixture capable of exploding upon impact
  • Silencers

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm in Iowa.

Who May Not Own

You are prohibited from owning a firearm if you:
  • Have a felony conviction
  • Are an adjudicated delinquent for a crime that would be a felony if it was committed by an adult
  • Are under 21 years old
  • Have a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction or are subject to a domestic violence protective order

License Required?

A license is not required to purchase or own a firearm.

Concealed Carry License Required?

A concealed carry license is not required.

Open Carried Allowed?

Open carry is allowed except in the state capitol building.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

You can get a nonprofessional concealed carry license if:
  • You are above 18 years of age
  • There is no probable cause that you will likely use the weapon unlawfully to endanger yourself or others
  • You are not addicted to alcohol
  • You complete a firearm safety training
  • You are not prohibited from owning a gun under Iowa or federal laws
  • You have not been convicted of any aggravated misdemeanors

Iowa also recognizes licenses issued by other states.

Machine Gun Laws

You are not allowed to own a machine gun in Iowa.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

  • Possession of a firearm by a person with a felony conviction is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500 or both.
  • Possession without a permit is an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to $6,250 or both (for offenses prior to July 2021)
  • Possession of a dangerous weapon while under the influence is a serious misdemeanor

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Carrying a firearm on or near school grounds is a class D felony.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

The Interplay of State and Federal Gun Laws

The state of Iowa's gun laws coincide with federal firearms statutes that also regulate gun ownership by restricting the kinds of guns a person may legally own. As mentioned above, the Second Amendment allows citizens to own firearms, but the government (both state and federal) are permitted to place some restrictions on the kinds of guns people may own and by whom they may be purchased.

Because federal statutes supersede those of the state, Iowa gun owners should also comply with the federal Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the National Firearms Act.

Iowa Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

Gun ownership and use is a serious matter. If you or someone you know has been injured in a gun incident, you may have recourse against the manufacturer, distributor, or owner of the gun. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's section on Gun Law. You can also consult with an Iowa attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a gun issue, or if you would like to know your rights and responsibilities as a gun owner.

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