Firearms / Weapons Offenses
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
- Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Despite the words of the Second Amendment, the Iowa Legislature has passed laws abridging the freedom to carry arms and harshly regulating who can carry weapons and where they can carry them. These criminal laws have yet to be overturned in the courts. If you are convicted, not only will you face jail time and fines, but you will have a criminal record that may make potential employers and landlords believe you are a dangerous person.
Des Moines Weapons Charges Lawyer
If you face any charges relating to weapons or firearms, you have a right to a Des Moines weapons charges lawyer to represent you. At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., our criminal defense attorneys have more than four decades of combined legal experience in fight for the rights of the accused. We will work to suppress illegally obtained evidence — even the weapon itself — which may lead to your charges being reduced or dismissed. They will fight the charges in court, arguing the jury why there is reasonable doubt and why they must acquit. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free consultation.
We represent those facing gun charges throughout Polk County and Dallas County, including in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Urbandale, Johnston and Ankeny. We also represent those facing weapons and firearms charges across the state of Iowa.
Iowa Weapons Charges Information Center
- Offenses Involving Firearms and Weapons in Iowa
- Punishment for Polk County Weapons Offenses
- Defense of Des Moines Gun Charges
- Iowa Weapons Charges Resources
Unlawful Possession of Weapon (Iowa Code 724.4): It is illegal, an aggravated misdemeanor, to carry a concealed weapon or carry a firearm within city limits unless any of the following conditions apply:
- You are in your home or business or on your property;
- You are an on-duty law enforcement officer, member of the Armed Forces or corrections officer;
- The firearm is unloaded and contained within a closed container or securely wrapped package that is too large to be concealed;
- The firearm is unloaded and is inside a cargo or luggage compartment and is not readily accessible;
- You are engaged in target practice;
- You are engaged in legal hunting or fishing; or
- You have permit for said weapon.
Possessing a knife used in the commission of a crime or that has a blade longer than eight inches is also an aggravated misdemeanor. If the blade is between five and eight inches, it is a serious misdemeanor.
Carrying a weapon on a school ground is a Class D felony.
Unauthorized Possession of an Offensive Weapon (Iowa Code 724.3): For some weapons, it is always illegal to possess them unless you have special authorization, such as you are a peace officer or a member of the military. Those weapons include:
- Machine guns
- Short-barreled rifles
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Bombs or grenades
- Ballistic knives
Carrying such a weapon is a Class D felony.
Trafficking in Stolen Weapons (Iowa Code 724.16A): Knowingly selling or otherwise transferring any firearms that has been stolen is a Class D felony for a first offense and a Class C felony for a second offense. It is a Class C felony for a first offense if that weapon is used in the commission of a crime.
Minors and Firearms (Iowa Code 724.22): It is against the law to sell, give or allow use of a firearm or ammo to any person younger than 21 unless the minor's parent gives consent for a rifle or shotgun, or are supervising a minor 14 or older while using a pistol. The offense is a serious misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class D felony for any subsequent offense.
It is a serious misdemeanor to leave a firearm without a trigger lock in an unsecured location where a reasonable person would know a person younger than 14 might find it if a minor does find it and either uses the weapon illegally or displays it in an unsafe manner.
Possession of Firearm by Felon (Iowa Code 724.26): If you have ever been convicted of a felony in any state or federal court, it is a Class D felony to knowingly possess or transport a firearm.
- Serious Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in prison and a fine from $315 to $1,875
- Aggravated Misdemeanor: Up to 2 years in prison and a fine from $625 to $6,250
- Class D Felony: Up to 5 years in prison and a fine from $750 to $7,500
- Class C Felony: Up to 10 years in prison and a fine from $1,000 to $10,000
Weapons charges may be in addition to any other charges you may face, like robbery or assault charges. If convicted of all charges, you may face punishment for those, as well.
Unlike some provisions of the Constitution, the Second Amendment has not been heavily litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the few cases that have made it, like Miller v. Texas, have largely upheld state laws regulating firearms, although the recent D.C. v. Heller case did strike down and extreme ban. It is unlikely that citing your Second Amendment rights will provide an effective defense if charged with a weapons offense.
However, there are defenses available that your Des Moines criminal defense lawyer can use. For instance, the prosecution must still prove all elements beyond reasonable doubt, including, for some offenses, that you did everything "knowingly."
Armed Citizen Project: The Armed Citizen Project is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help citizens in neighborhoods with higher crime rates obtain firearms for their protection.
Gun Owners of America: GOA is a nonprofit that lobbies Congress to restore and protect Second Amendment rights.
National Rifle Association: Founded in 1871, the NRA promotes ownership of firearms and lobbies Congress and other legislative bodies for Second Amendment rights.
McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. | Polk County Firearms Charges Attorney
If you face charges for illegally possessing a firearm or any other weapons offense, an experienced Des Moines weapons charges lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can help you protect your rights and beat the charges.
The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. represent clients charged with the violation of laws or ordinances dealing with weapons offenses that are often regulatory in nature. These crimes can involve the manufacture, sale, or possession of deadly weapons. Related offenses including carrying deadly weapons, concealed or openly; furnishing deadly weapons to minors; and aliens possessing deadly weapons.
We will put our four decades of legal experience to work for you. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free consultation.
This article was last updated on Friday, October 7, 2016.