Iowa Carry and Pistol Purchase Permits Online

By Dean Weingarten


Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( Starting on 5 February, 2014, the Scott County, Iowa  Sheriff's Department has instituted an innovative and convenient way for Iowa residents to obtain their firearms carry permit or pistol purchase permit.   Under Iowa law, a person must have a permit to carry a firearm before they can carry one, either openly or concealed.   They are also required to obtain a permit to purchase a pistol before purchasing one, either from a dealer or privately.  While these requirements are a little unusual (most states do not require a permit to carry firearms openly, and only a few require a permit to purchase a pistol) the online process seems much more convenient than most, and, compared to most concealed carry permits, is reasonably priced.

A permit to carry costs $54  and is good for 5 years.  It also doubles as a permit to purchase pistols during that 5 year period.     In addition, the carry permit is renewable for each additional  5 years for $29 more.  The permit to purchase a pistol (presumable for home use only!) costs $14, and is good for one year.   $4 of each of these fees is a service fee for using a credit card, and can be avoided by paying in person at the Sheriff's office.

No information about pistols acquired is required by the Sheriff's office.  Unfortunately,  you have to pick up your permit at the Sheriff's office in person, and only between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:00  pm, Monday through Friday.   You have to present identification at the time of pickup, and show documentation of the required training for the carry permit.

My attention was drawn to this innovative program by a short article on, titled “Online Gun Registration In Scott County”.  As Iowa does not have or require gun registration, I was intrigued, only to find the program to acquire permits to carry guns or purchase pistols, and nothing to do with registration.

There are also some “suggestions” listed by the Scott County Sheriff's Department that are a bit confusing.  It is a little questionable that the Sheriff's Department would place such “suggestions” so prominently when some are only individual opinions, and others carry the force of law, and they are not clearly differentiated.    People could be deceived into thinking that some opinions are a part of Iowa law when they are not, and some parts of the law are opinions, when they carry criminal penalties.   Here are the “suggestions” listed by the Scott County Sheriff's Department:


Please consider the following suggestions:

  • Permit holders are STRONGLY encouraged to safely conceal their weapons versus carrying in the open or plain view.
  • At the onset of any contact with law enforcement, IMMEDIATELY notify the deputy/officer(s) that you have a permit to carry and you are armed.
  • A permit holder is required by law to carry their permit while armed by State Code of Iowa 724.5
  • Prior to traveling across state lines, familiarize yourself with the laws of the state you intend to pass through and enter. Iowa recognizes and honors weapon permits from other states, but in many other states there is no such reciprocity.
  • Weapon possession/use is prohibited while a person is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs by State Code of Iowa 724.4C
  • Permit holders may possess weapons in vehicles but not while riding on an ATV or snowmobile.
  • Contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for specific inquiries regarding hunting.
  • Private establishments may post signs prohibiting weapons on their premises.
  • Permit holders may not carry on school grounds.
  • Permit holders are STRONGLY encouraged to gain proficiency with the weapon they carry (to include shooting accuracy, weapon safety, and justification in the use of deadly force).

I found these “suggestions” to be rather confusing. To be fair, Iowa law may require greater clarification than this short list can supply.

Overall, I have to give the Scott County Sheriff's Department good grades for their efforts to make the permit process easier for everyone. This online process is quite new, and will likely be refined as time passes.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 7 thoughts on “Iowa Carry and Pistol Purchase Permits Online

    1. Wash co. IA

      How do I get a permit to purchase a weapon? The Sheriff’s Office has an application that must be completed and signed. The applicant must have photo identification when the application is returned for processing. The permit is available after a background check and a 3-day waiting period. There is a $5 fee and the permits; the permit is valid for 1 year after date of issue. Completed permits may be picked up at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., except holidays.

    2. Okay…re-read the article, they are still requiring one to stop by the office and show proof of the permit class…so why pay the extra 4.00 fee for the “online” process when you have to stop by anyway??

    3. In Iowa we are required to take a “permit to carry” class and provide the certification from said class to the Sheriff Dept along with the 50.00 fee when we go in to the Sheriff’s office to apply for the permit….they can take up to 30 days to issue the permit after that. Not sure how this dept is getting around that….

    4. We are also required to show proof that we went through a “Permit to Carry Class” as well before obtaining said permit….not sure how they are getting around that in this county.

    5. If you’re just buying a gun for the home, anything beyond filling out a Federal 4473 and passing the NICS check is an infringement on your rights!

    6. The sheriff’s suggestions:

      -The permit in Iowa is called “Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons”. There is nothing in the Iowa law that states your weapon must be concealed.

      -There is nothing in Iowa law that states you must notify a LEO that you are carrying a weapon upon contact.

      -There is no shooting requirement in Iowa’s law to obtain an Iowa permit.

      These three points are just some of the issues that have been a thorn in the side of many of the 99 Iowa sheriff’s since “shall issue” was past in the state. That was when their discretion to issue was taken away from them.

    7. For a firearm purchase only, anything beyond filling out a Federal 4473 and passing NICS is an infringement of your right to bear arms! When getting a permit to carry, additional fees and scrutiny make sense.

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