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Iowa Firearm Prohibitions

American citizens reserve the right to keep and bear arms thanks to the Second Amendment. However, State governments are permitted to impose certain weapon regulations and prohibitions they deem fit in an effort to keep the general population safe. The State of Iowa is no exception. Although Iowa residents have the right to “constitutional carry,” they must abide by certain rules under the Iowa Code in order to lawfully possess a handgun.

On July 1st, 2021, HF756 went into effect and for the first time any person aged 21 and older could purchase or carry a handgun without a permit. The legislation repealed Iowa’s requirement that purchasers must obtain a permit to acquire a handgun unless they are specifically prohibited by law. For example, if a person has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, it is unlawful for them to be in possession of or carry a handgun.

To learn more about Iowa gun laws and regulations, we recommend speaking to a qualified Iowa firearm defense lawyer like the legal team at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..

Gun Defense Attorney, Des Moines IA | Carrying Weapons in Iowa

At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., the talented criminal defense attorneys on our team have more than four decades of combined legal experience fighting for the rights of the accused. Our team, if retained, can will mobilize to intervene, collect evidence, limit damage, preserve exculpatory evidence, and do whatever essential legal research needed to gain every possible advantage for your case. You can trust that dismissal is always our top priority, and we will work tirelessly towards this goal or the next best possible outcome.

Call us now at (515) 279-9700 or simply submit an online contact form to set up your first consultation. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. has offices in West Des Moines, but we accept clients throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area including Des Moines, Urbandale, Johnston, Ankeny, and Perry.


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Iowa Open Carry Laws

Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law in April 2021 House File 756, which allowed Iowa residents to buy and carry handguns without first obtaining a permit, among other changes. Prior to this new legislation, Iowans were required to apply for and obtain a permit if they want to carry or possess a handgun. Now, it is optional for Iowans to obtain a permit and they can open carry without one. However, if they choose to not obtain a permit, they must pass a background check when purchasing a handgun from a federally licensed dealer.

It’s important to note the new open carry law only applies to handguns. Purchasing and/or carrying a long gun—such as a rifle or shotgun—still requires a permit under the Iowa Code. In addition, certain people will be prohibited from owning a firearm for various reasons. Under Iowa Code Section 724.15, individuals who fit the following criteria are prohibited from possessing or carrying a handgun.

  • Any person under the age of 21 except if it’s required for their job as peace officer, security guard, for military duty, or as a correctional officer
  • Prohibited from owning, shipping, transporting or receiving a firearm either under State or federal law
  • Prohibited from possessing, shipping, transporting or receiving a firearm due to a current court order
  • They are ineligible to possess dangerous weapons pursuant to section 8B
  • They are intoxicated as defined under section 2, subsection 1 of the Iowa Code
  • An issuing officer found the individual has been arrested for a disqualifying offense or is subject to proceedings that could lead to their ineligibility o own firearms.

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Weapon Free Zones in Iowa

Although the State of Iowa now allows residents the right to open carry, there are certain places where the right to constitutional carry doesn’t carry over. The State has deemed specific areas as “weapons free zones,” which means no person can possess or open carry a handgun within one thousand feet of the real property. Under Iowa Code Section 734.4A, any public or private elementary or secondary school is considered a weapons free zone.

Individual who possess, carry, or transport a firearm of any kind, whether concealed or not, on the grounds of a school will be charged with a class D felony. The maximum sentence a person can receive for a class D felony is up to 5 years in prison, and a fine of up to $7,500.

In addition, any real property comprising a public park is also considered to be a weapons free zone. Please note, a weapons free zone will not include the portion of a public park that is designated as a hunting area under Section 461A.42 of the Iowa Code. The penalty for possessing a firearm in a weapons free zone (including any elementary or secondary school) will include a fine twice the maximum amount which may have otherwise been imposed for a public offense.

Under Section 724.32, individuals are prohibited from lawfully carrying, possessing, or transporting a weapon in a county, federal, courthouse or other joint-use public facility.


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What Disqualifies You from Owning a Gun in Iowa?

Other than the criteria listed above, a person can be barred from possessing, acquiring, carrying or transporting a firearm if they have a certain criminal history or they’re under a court order. According to Section 724.26, a person convicted of a felony in State or federal court, or who has been adjudicated delinquent on the basis of conduct that could constitute a felony offense, is prohibited from owning, possessing, receiving or transporting a firearm. Violation of this law will result in a class D felony charge, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • A fine of up to $7,500

Additionally, any person subject to a protective order for a domestic violence offense or has been convicted of a misdemeanor family violence crime cannot knowingly possess, ship, transport, or receive a firearm. Individuals who violate this law are also guilty of a class D felony under Iowa law.


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Additional Resources

Chapter 724: Weapons | Iowa Code – Visit the official website for the Iowa Legislature to learn more about State laws regarding firearms and other dangerous weapons. Access the site to read the rules and regulations surrounding handguns, constitutional carry, permits for long guns such as rifles or shotguns, and other important information.

New Open Carry Rules | Des Moines Register – Visit the official website for the Des Moines Register to read a news article by Stephen Gruber-Miller regarding Iowa’s Open Carry laws. Access the site to learn what constitutional carry is, how it applies to Iowa residents, what Iowans need to do in order to lawfully own a firearm, and more.


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Des Moines Firearm Charges Attorney | Iowa New Gun Laws

If you are facing charges for a firearm or offensive weapons-related crime, contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. for experienced and skilled legal representation. An McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. lawyer can assess the facts of your case and determine a sturdy defense designed to protect your rights. Don’t wait a moment longer when it comes to your freedom and right to bear arms. Contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. and get started on your defense right away.

Schedule your first consultation at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. by calling our office at (515) 279-9700 or simply submitting an online contact form. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. has offices in West Des Moines, but we accept clients throughout every part of Dallas County and Polk County, Iowa.


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