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Purchase of Firearms-Iowa

Iowa Constitution does not directly address the peoples’ right to bear arms.  However, Article 1, Section 1 of the Iowa Constitution does guarantee certain inalienable rights such as defending life and protecting property.  Iowa state permit is not required to purchase a shotgun, or rifle.  Under Iowa Code Section 724.15, a permit is required to purchase a handgun.  The buyer should be 21 years or older to apply for a permit.  The permit becomes valid three days after the date of application, and is valid for one year.  A single permit can be used to purchase more than one handgun.  Under 724.16, if a person acquires a handgun without a permit is considered guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor.

Following type of handguns does not require a permit:

  • antique handguns manufactured before 1898,
  • handguns not capable of being readily restored to a firing condition,
  • a handgun designated a collector’s item by the commissioner of public safety,
  • handgun that transfers between relatives within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, or
  • by a holder of a handgun carrying permit.

Under Section 724.17, an application for a permit to purchase a handgun should be made to the sheriff of the county of the applicant’s residence.  The application should be in a form prescribed and published by the commissioner of public safety.

The application should state:

  • the full name of the applicant,
  • the driver’s license or nonoperator’s identification card number of the applicant,
  • the residence of the applicant, and
  • the age of the applicant.

The sheriff will conduct a criminal history check of each applicant by obtaining criminal history data from the Department of Public Safety.  It is a class D felony to give false statement of material fact on the application.  The applicant will also have to display an identification card that bears a distinguishing number assigned to the cardholder, the full name, date of birth, sex, residence address, and brief description and colored photograph of the cardholder, or other identification as specified by rule of the department of public safety.

The main government offices that deal with issues relating to firearms are:

Iowa Department of Public Safety

Wallace State Office Building

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Phone: (515) 281-3211



Attorney General

1305 E. Walnut Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Phone: 515-281-5164

Fax: 515-281-4209


Inside Purchase of Firearms-Iowa