Subject to limited exceptions, any person seeking to purchase a handgun in Iowa must possess an annual permit to acquire a handgun, requiring a background check.1 Any person acquiring a handgun without possessing a valid annual permit is criminally liable for an aggravated misdemeanor.2 Iowa also prohibits any person from transferring a handgun to a person who does not possess a valid annual permit to acquire a handgun, and from transferring a handgun to a person the transferor knows is prohibited by Iowa’s permitting requirements from acquiring ownership of a handgun.3
Iowa prohibits any person from knowingly transferring or acquiring possession, or who facilitates the transfer, of a stolen firearm.4
Generally, Iowa prohibits any person from selling, loaning, giving or making available a rifle or shotgun or ammunition for a rifle or shotgun to a minor (person under age 18).5 Moreover, Iowa prohibits any person from selling, loaning, giving or making available a handgun or handgun ammunition to a person under age 21.6
Private transfers of long guns (i.e., transfers by non-firearms dealers) are not subject to a background check requirement in Iowa, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions still apply. See the Iowa Background Checks section.
See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.