Iowa gun background checks are mandatory when transferring a handgun from a private seller to a prospective buyer and when applying for a permit to carry weapons. In order for a legal firearms transfer to take place, both the prospective buyer and private seller must present their Annual Permit to Acquire a Pistol or Revolver. County Sheriffs are responsible for the distribution of permits but the process to obtain such a permit is more or less the same in each county. The Sheriff is in charge of conducting criminal history checks (through the Department of Public Safety), which will involve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Permit applications are approved as long as the applicant is twenty-one (21) years of age or older and is not subject to the prohibitions stated below.

Bill of Sale – Used when transferring a firearm from one individual to another involving the exchange of money.

Application for Iowa Permit to Acquire a Pistol or Revolver – Anyone wishing to buy or sell firearms must have a valid Permit to Acquire.

Application for Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons – This permit gives individuals the right to carry a weapon open or concealed.

Prohibited From Purchasing – § 724.8 and § 724.26

For Sale of a Gun

Step 1 – A sale made by a private seller can only be completed if both seller and prospective buyer have a valid Iowa Permit to Acquire a Pistol or Revolver. To apply for such a permit, download the Application Form.

Step 2 – Complete the application form and submit it to a local County Sheriff’s office. The Sheriff will complete a criminal background check using the State’s DPS criminal investigation division as well as the NICS database.

Step 3 – Once the permit has been obtained, carriers of the permit have the ability to purchase and sell firearms privately.

Concealed Carry Permit

It is illegal to carry a weapon in the State of Iowa, open or concealed, without a Permit to Carry Weapons.

Step 1 – Download the Application for Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons Form.

Step 2 – Completed forms must be submitted to the local County Sheriff in which the applicant resides. The Sheriff’s Department will conduct a background check using criminal history data from the DPS and NICS.

Step 3 – Upon approval, applicants will receive their Permit to Carry Weapons.