Course Outline

A concealed handgun being revealed

Laws regarding who may carry a handgun vary from state to state. To carry a handgun legally in Iowa, you must have a Permit to Carry Weapons issued by a county sheriff or the Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

  • You must have a permit when you are:
    • Carrying a concealed handgun in any location or…
    • Carrying a handgun openly in a vehicle or inside city limits.
  • The permit can be either a professional permit or a nonprofessional permit. This course covers the information for nonprofessional permits, which are issued by county sheriffs.
  • To get a nonprofessional permit, you must file an application with the sheriff in the county where you live. The application is available from the Iowa Department of Public Safety website. You also must:
    • Be at least 21 years of age and...
    • Be an Iowa resident and...
    • Demonstrate that you have knowledge of firearm safety, which can be:
      • Proof of completion of a state-approved handgun safety training course or…
      • Evidence of completing a small arms training course while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Upon receipt of the application, the county sheriff will conduct a criminal background with the Department of Public Safety and the national criminal background checking system.
  • The county sheriff will issue your permit within 30 days after receiving your application.
  • The permit is valid for five years.

Permits From Other States

Iowa honors the handgun permits/licenses from all other states. Although several other states honor Iowa's permit, it is your responsibility to make sure any other state where you plan to carry your handgun will honor your Iowa permit. Reciprocity can change as state laws are revised, so make sure you stay current on the latest updates.

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