As of July 1, 2021, permits to acquire or carry a weapon in the state of Iowa are no longer required. House File 756, signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds on April 2, 2021, removes the state requirement (subject to certain limitations) – federal requirements may still be in place. Even though acquiring a permit to carry a weapon is no longer mandatory, Iowans may still want one. Here’s why:
Prevent Delays or Legal Problems
When you go to purchase a weapon through a traditional store or dealer, your permit to acquire or carry can speed up the process. Personally, a permit made buying my first handgun very simple – I walked out with it an hour after walking into the store. Lack of a permit could trigger a check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which could take a significantly increased amount of time.
These permits, while frustrating, may also save you from some legal headaches. It is a lot harder for your carry eligibility to be questioned by a law enforcement officer if you present a permit to carry, for example. Certain permits may also be helpful to have on hand in the case of a weapon dispatch, such as in-home defense.
This is the key reason why I will continue to renew my carry permit until other states also adopt constitutional carry. If you drive or fly with your weapon as I do, a permit is essential. There are some states where Iowans who would like to travel with their weapon would not need a permit, like our neighboring Missouri. But there are already plenty of states that do not show permit reciprocity – let alone allowing an unpermitted carrier within their borders. While it is always smart to check the carry laws in the state you are traveling to, the presence of a permit will make a lot more of those states accessible to you and your weapon.
Adopting a constitutional stance on weapons permitting in Iowa is a good thing – even if it doesn’t fully clear up complications. While the Constitution of the United States’ Second Amendment should absolutely make permits to obtain and carry a weapon obsolete, our legal reality is, unfortunately, a little too complicated. Until the federal government and other states remove some of the roadblocks to gun ownership and weapons carry, a permit may still be a wise idea to keep you from some headaches.