January 1, 2011. This is the effective date in which nonprofessional permits were issued. What this meant at the time was that any person can apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Only persons eligible will be issued that permit.

What makes a person ineligible?

In order to receive a permit to carry, the person applying must be at least 21 years of age and do so at the sheriff’s office in the county in which they live. These are a few of the ineligibility circumstances.

  • cannot have been convicted of a felony
  • cannot have an active warrant
  • must be a legal resident not on a visa
  • cannot have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • cannot be subject to a restraining order or convicted of domestic violence
  • not had any serious or aggravated misdemeanor in the previous three years.
  • The applicant must also be at least 21 years of age.

What kind of training do I need to complete before applying for a permit?

In Iowa, any training provided by the NRA – National Rifle Association – will be accepted, as will completion of any handgun safety training course for the general public or for security guards. Small arms training in the military is also accepted. It is important to note that the above training is conducted by a law enforcement agency, private or public institutions and their instructors have been certified from the NRA or an Iowa law enforcement academy.

What is reciprocity and how does it affect my permit?

Reciprocity, by definition, is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. What this means for a carry permit is Iowa accepting a permit issued in another state. However, the state of Iowa has a universal recognition law, which means that a permit issued in another state will be recognized as if it had been issued in Iowa. This does not mean that an Iowa permit will be accepted in other states. The Iowa Department of Public Safety does not maintain a list of states that accept Iowa issued permits.

If I’m pulled over, or otherwise stopped by an officer, should I let them know I am carrying?

While it is not required that you inform an officer you are carrying, it a very good idea. As a matter of safety for both you and the officer, it is recommended that you verbally tell the officer you have your permit to carry, where the weapon is on your person and have your permit available.

It is also important to note that your driver’s license and your permit to carry are not linked.

Since I have my permit, can I carry anywhere?

No. While your permit to carry cannot be restricted, there are exceptions as to where you can carry. For example: Anywhere prohibited by state or federal law, some of these include, but are not limited to:

  • Schools such as elementary through high school
  • State capital buildings
  • State fairgrounds
  • While riding an ATV, snowmobile or while bowhunting
  • While intoxicated either by alcohol and/or drugs
  • Casinos
  • Private property is not addressed in the Iowa firearms law, however, because it is private property, if you are asked to leave and do not, the establishment can have you arrested for trespassing.