Sale of Firearms-Iowa


Gun law in the United States is defined by a number of state and federal statutes.  Sale or delivery of firearms is restricted in Indiana like any other U.S. state.  In almost all the states of the US, an importer, manufacturer, dealer or collector shall be licensed under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 to be a lawful seller.

The Constitution of the State of Iowa contains no provision regarding the keeping or bearing of arms.  However, as per section 724.3 of the Iowa Code, unauthorized possession of offensive weapons is prohibited.  According to section 724.1 of the Iowa Code, an offensive weapons includes a machine gun, a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun, any weapon other than a shotgun or muzzle loading rifle, cannon, pistol, revolver or musket, as well as any bullet or projectile.[i]  Also included in the category of offensive weapon are mechanical devices specifically constructed and designed so that when attached to a firearm silences, muffles, or suppresses the sound when fired.  Any person, other than a person authorized by the code, who knowingly possesses an offensive weapon, commits a class “D” felony.[ii]

Iowa does not regulate assault weapons.  However, in Iowa, a person who sells or offers for sale a manual or power-driven trigger activating device constructed and designed so that when attached to a firearm increases the rate of fire of the firearm is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor.[iii]

Subject to limited exceptions, any person seeking to purchase a handgun in Iowa must possess an annual permit to acquire a handgun, which requires a background check.[iv]  Iowa prohibits any person from transferring a handgun to a person who does not possess a valid annual permit to acquire a handgun and from transferring a handgun to a person the transferor knows is prohibited by section 724.15 from acquiring ownership of a handgun.[v]

In Iowa, a person who knowingly transfers or acquires possession, or who facilitates the transfer, of a stolen firearm, is criminally liable for a class “D” felony for a first offense, and a class “C” felony for subsequent offenses or if the weapon is used in the commission of a public offense.[vi]   However, this prohibition does not apply to a person purchasing stolen firearms through a buy-back program sponsored by a law enforcement agency if the firearms are returned to their rightful owners or destroyed.[vii]

Generally, Iowa prohibits any person from selling, loaning, giving or making available a rifle or shotgun or ammunition for a rifle or shotgun to a minor, which violation constitutes a serious misdemeanor for a first offense and a class “D” felony for second and subsequent offenses.[viii] Moreover, Iowa prohibits any person from selling, loaning, giving or making available a handgun or handgun ammunition to a person under age 21, a violation constituting a serious misdemeanor for a first offense and a class “D” felony for second and subsequent offenses.[ix]

In Iowa, private transfers of long guns ( transfers by non-firearms dealers) are not subject to a background check requirement, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions still apply.

[i] Iowa Code § 724.1

[ii] Iowa Code § 724.3

[iii] Iowa Code § 724.29

[iv] Iowa Code § 724.15

[v] Iowa Code § 724.16

[vi] Iowa Code § 724.16A

[vii] Id.

[viii] Iowa Code § 724.22(1)

[ix] Iowa Code § 724.22(2)