Iowa Governor Branstad Signs Gun Law Modernization

By Dean Weingarten

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -( Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a comprehensive bill, HF 517, to modernize Iowa’s gun laws on Thursday, 14 April, 2017.

The reforms had been bottled up for years by a few legislators, mostly Democrats, that were voted out of office last year. An archaic provision prevented children form receiving safety training for handguns.


One of the provisions of the bill that took effect immediately allows children below the age of 14 to handle pistols or revolvers under the supervision of an adult parent, guardian or instructor — which directly affected the Gibson sisters ages 13 and 11.

“I think the parents should at least teach their kids safety so nothing bad happens out there,” Meredith Gibson said after receiving one of the pens the governor used to sign the bill into law.

“I am very honored to sign House File 517 into law,” Branstad told the assembled group of supporters. “I know this is an important and significant piece of legislation for people that support the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Another provision of the bill will ensure that gun laws are consistent across the state. This part of the bill prevents local governments from enacting laws that are more restrictive than state laws. Most states have a version of this of  preemption for firearm laws.

Here is a list of other reforms placed into law by the bill.

The bill removes the Iowa ban on short barreled rifles and shotguns, in favor of federal law. Possession of short barreled rifles and shotguns will be a violation of state law only if it is a violation of federal law.

House File 517 makes clear that presumption of evil intent is not to be inferred from the mere act of being armed.

Training options to meet the requirements for carry permits have been expanded. They now include having taken a hunter safety course, and web based training provided over the Internet, if certified by the instructor. No renewal training will be required for permits issued in 2011 or later.

It protects the privacy of permit holders by prohibiting disclosure of personal information on carry permits, except for specifically authorized disclosures.

There is a provision to appeal to decision of Sheriff or Commissioner if a permit is refused; court fees can be awarded if the appeal succeeds.

Permits to acquire pistols will be expanded from one year to five years.

Permits to acquire shall not be allowed to contain information about particular weapons, such as make, model, or serial number.

It removes the authority of Director of Administrative Services to ban weapons in the Capitol and associated buildings. The bill allows the concealed carry of weapons by people with permits, in the state capitol.

The bill removes any authority of the Governor or any official of the state to ban the carry or possession of firearms during emergencies, as long as they are carried and possessed in accordance with Iowa laws. Officials may be sued for damages.

The bill removes authority of officials to seize or confiscate legally possessed firearms during states of emergency.

A Stand Your Ground provision is included in the law. The provision provides immunity from civil lawsuit if injuries or death occurs as a result of justifiable self defense.

Defensive display is allowed for. From

The bill provides that a threat to cause serious injury or death by the production, display, or brandishing of a deadly weapon, is not deadly force, as long as the actions of the person are limited to creating an expectation that the person may use deadly force to defend oneself, another, or as otherwise authorized by law.

The bill removes the prohibition on the carry of pistols or revolvers on snowmobiles or all terrain vehicles (ATVs).

The bill protects target shooting in unincorporated areas of Iowa, with the permission of the owner or tenant of the property. State and local ordinances based on noise or nuisance are preempted.

Constitutional Carry, that is, the restoration of the ability to carry firearms concealed without having to obtain a government permit, was originally included in the bill, but was stripped out in the legislative process. Iowans already have the right to carry firearms openly in most areas of the state.

12 other states have restored the right to carry concealed without a permit.  One state, Vermont, never implemented a permitting scheme. Experts disagree about whether the lack of permits decreases crime or has such a small effect as to be difficult to detect.

©2017 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.

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Barry Hirsh

Excellent, comprehensive set of laws.

Next, they need to remove the “permit to purchase” provision for handguns. Nothing except violent criminal history or certified psychotic mental issues should prevent anyone from purchasing any gun, and that information should be discovered by the NICS check. Passing a crimcheck is the least intrusive means of satisfying the compelling government public safety interest, hence a permit to acquire is unconstitutional.


Even NICS is unconstitutional. There are many other ways already in place that DO “vet” an individual wanting to buy a gun. Anyone with a Mother May I Card to carry concealed has already passed a BGC more stringent thatn the NICS one. SHow the stupid Card you shouldn’t have to get, and you can buy your new gun instantly. Or how about getting a valid “proceed” code when you buy a gun in January, and that code works for the next year. No new BGC required. Further, the Feds need to STOP asking for identifying information regarding the specific… Read more »


“Experts disagree…”

WHAT “experts”? I’ve not seen a single real – honest, accurate, honorable – and actually knowledgeable expert who denies the efficacy of armed citizens (permitted or not) in reducing crime. Any so-called expert who questions the existing real-world relationship between gun ownership/possession and local crime rate… is a self-important quack.

Otherwise a good article, but I take exception to that one premise.

Jim S

I read this and I get a sense of hope that there are still indeed common sense people out there. Unfortunately I am stuck in this hell hole of California snowflake socialist wonderland, where the people here happily trade away their constitutional rights.


Well Laddyboy, we never will and we both know it. There is no way it will ever happen in this state . You want to know the kicker of it ? I moved here from WV in 2012 for work and seem to be stuck in this hole. Ive got to find a way out soon, I absolutely hate it.
Where are you located?


The way I read this is: Constitutional COMMON SENSE! Good for you all. I hope to see this type of bill in the State of Maryland. You all make me jealous with your Politicians who now understand the Second Amendment.


Stand your ground is more for creating immunity for property defense. The notion of self-defense is using force against those who would harm you or others. Stand your is more suited for shooting trespassers.

Wild Bill

@Gil the Violence Policy Center shill, Not even you can misread the intent of the law that badly. Is this the latest VPC slogan that you are paid to publish?


VPC is all in favor of “Outrun Your Wife and Children” laws. An action as effective as running from a vicious dog.


Dummy musta larnt reedin frum wunna them thar gummit skewlz…. dont work none too gud….

No, Gil Stand Your Ground simply means you don’t have to turn tail and run when confronted by someone with evil intent to harm you or those with you. You can stand right there where you have a right to be, and defend yourself. If I am on my property stand your ground does not apply anyway, my right in ownership does. thus the trespasser was already “at risk” before this law was passed.


The use of force to keep yourself and others safe should already be part of self-defence. Duty of retreat is about avoiding violence not letting yourself get shot or stabbed in the back.


Think about the kind of people who don’t want you able to defend yourself.