Iowa prohibits any person from storing or leaving a loaded firearm that is “not secured by a trigger lock mechanism, placed in a securely locked box or container, or placed in some other location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure from a minor under the age of fourteen years, if the person knows or has reason to believe that a minor under the age of fourteen years is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent, guardian, or person having charge of the minor.”1 If the minor lawfully gains access to the firearm without the consent of his or her parent, guardian, or person having charge of the minor, and the minor exhibits the firearm in a public place in an unlawful manner, or uses the firearm unlawfully to cause injury or death to any person, the parent, guardian, or person having charge of the minor is criminally liable for a serious misdemeanor.2
If the minor obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person, this criminal liability will not attach.3
Any person who sells, loans, gives, or makes available a rifle or shotgun or ammunition for a rifle or shotgun to a minor is criminally liable for a serious misdemeanor for a first offense and a class “D” felony for second and subsequent offenses.4 However, a parent, guardian, spouse age 18 or older, or another person with the express consent of the minor’s parent or guardian or spouse who is at least age 18 may allow a minor to possess a rifle or shotgun or ammunition for lawful use.5
Any person who sells, loans, gives or makes available a handgun or ammunition for a handgun to a person under age 21 is criminally liable for a serious misdemeanor for a first offense and a class “D” felony for second and subsequent offenses.6 This prohibition does not apply to:
- A person age 18, 19 or 20 while on military duty or while a peace officer, security guard or correctional officer, when such duty requires the possession of such a weapon or while the person receives instruction in the proper use of such firearms from an instructor age 21 or older; or
- A minor of any age if the minor’s parent, guardian or spouse age 21 or older allows the minor to possess a handgun or handgun ammunition for any lawful purpose while under the “direct supervision” of the parent, guardian or spouse, or while the person receives instruction in the proper use of a handgun from an instructor age 21 or older (with the consent of the parent, guardian or spouse).7 “Direct supervision” is defined to mean “physical presence near the supervised person” by a parent, guardian, spouse or a firearms instructor over age 21, when the supervising individual “maintains visual and verbal contact at all times with the supervised person” and is not intoxicated or under the influence of an illegal drug.8
For other measures related to child access prevention, see the Iowa Locking Devices section.
See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.