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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 concealed carry or pistol purchase permits. Under Iowa law, a person must have a permit to carry a firearm, either openly or concealed.  They are also required to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun, either from a dealer or privately. While these requirements are a little unusual (most states don’t require a permit to carry firearms openly, and only a few require a permit to purchase one) the online process seems much more convenient than most, and, compared to most concealed carry permits, is reasonably priced . . .

An Iowa permit to carry costs $54 and is good for five years. It also doubles as a permit to purchase pistols during that same five year period. In addition, the carry permit is renewable for additional five year periods for $29 more. The permit to purchase (presumable for home and range use) costs $14, and is good for one year. Of those fees, $4 is a service fee for using a credit card, and can be avoided by paying cash in person at the Sheriff’s office.

No information about the 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 also 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 doesn’t have or require gun registration, I was intrigued, only to find the program to acquire permits to carry or purchase handguns 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’s more than a little questionable that the Sheriff’s Department would place these suggestions so prominently when some are only opinions, and others carry the force of law. And they aren’t 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).

Overall, I have to give the Scott County Sheriff’s Department good marks for their efforts to make the permit process easier for everyone. This online system is still new, and will likely be refined in time.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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    • We had several Police Chiefs claim that in Iowa. Usually ones from college towns or near college towns. We have yet to have any of that come true. Here its too cold to have blood in the streets. If you are shot, it freezes immediately, giving you time to make it to the hospital. But seriously its just easier to go to the local class still. They host them all over, including at the sporting goods stores. The ID is up to the sherif. Quality of the license varies from my sherif (piece of paper a 4 year old could forge) to a full fledged DL style license with photo.

  1. I take issue with bullet item 2. I’m not disclosing that information unless specifically asked. Obviously, this is assuming I’m not committing a crime, or suspicious of committing one.

    • I notified an officer one time I was armed and he asked me if I was threatening him. I said no, just a heads up. That cured that for me. Shut up until they ask you.

      • Some states require notification (e.g., Ohio). California law does not require it, but it is often included as a condition on a CCW permit from some counties (but not others). Remember that crazy Ohio cop that went postal over a driver who, unable to get a word in edge-wise, “failed” to notify? If it’s a traffic stop, the easy thing to do it to hand over your permit with your DL. It’s seems better than having him draw down on you if he spots your piece, like that vid where the cop drew down and arrested an old man upon spotting a legal CCW when the guy leaned over to get his DL out of his truck (can’t remember if that was Florida or Louisiana)–and that was in a state with no notification requirement.

        • In Texas, technically you’re required to notify an officer with whom you come in to official contact. However, the legislature removed the penalty a few years ago for failure to notify.

          I figure go ahead and just present both your carry license and drivers license when stopped. You might get a cop who doesn’t know the law (surprise) and might try to cite you for not notifying, or otherwise try to jam you up.

          More likely, they’ll see it when they run your plates, anyway, assuming you’re the registered owner of the vehicle you’re driving. So not notifying could look suspicious.

          I do the whole pull over promptly, flashers, dome and cargo lights on, and notify routine. That’s always gotten me off with word of caution for whatever very minor infraction triggered the original stop. Basic DBAD rule stuff, I guess.

    • In some states it’s required by law that you do so. I just hand my CHL and DL over at the same time if they ask to see ID. If they don’t, I figure we’re not interacting in an “official manner” and keep it to myself.

        • Proof? Never have seen a list nor been on one in Iowa. A quick search of the Google News engine doesn’t yield anything. A quick search of doesn’t yield anything either. I have seen a list of overall stats of total CCW permits but not who has them.

        • I believe the legislature corrected that after the fiasco in NY. It is now NOT public information.

    • Avoid the appearance of hunting is the best explanation I got. Its illegal to have an uncased weapon on an ATV in Iowa. I learned that the hard way. DNR guys can be jerks.

    • Do not expect rationality in the law. There are enormous areas in the law that are caused by nothing more than compromise, oversight, ignorance, and power seeking.

      I suspect that ATVs and guns in Iowa fits into this category. Likely the DNR sought the law or regulation to “make their jobs easier”, and the legislature obliged, second amendment ignored or never considered.

  2. “I have to give the Scott County Sheriff’s Department good marks for their efforts to make the permit process easier for everyone.”

    I s’pose, but it doesn’t make it any less un-Constitutional.

  3. Iowans are so lucky to have such beneficent rulers that allow the masses the convenience of online management of their 2nd Amendment rights.

  4. I’m astonished and pleased. Now, I have always known Iowa to contain a fair amount of sensible humans, (mere coincidence that it is where I have lived for 24 years!) but Scott County is just a short hour from the bleeding liberal heart of Johnson County, IA. I didn’t foresee any pro-gun progress happening within a 200-mile radius of Iowa City, such is the frothing and foaming of the indigent population of Noisous Liberalius. Hopefully we’ll see more counties swing toward Sheriff Conard’s line of thinking.

      • Gluba is a major tool. Davenport is a unique city with interesting characters. One of our local stations did a news story on their anchor getting arrested for DUI.

  5. “only a few require a permit to purchase one”

    As of (April?) last year, Michigan is no longer one of them. Asking permission to buy ANYTHING always irked me….

  6. I actually don’t have a problem with the permit. All it is is a pre-vetting background check that removes the need of a state background check at the time of purchase.
    When I lived in VA a little over 10 years ago, we had to fill out the 4473 and an accompanying state form that went to the Virginia State Police and the FFL had to call the VSP to perform a background check (this was for long guns as well) and the buyer had to wait on average 2 – 3 hours for the police call back with a yes or no on the sale. With the Iowa permit, I was deligted to see that we can just walk in, fill out the 4473, pay the man and go.

    As far as the open carry vs concealed, a lot of the Iowa wording is wonky because state law only references the “carrying” of weapons and does not differentiate in any way between open or concealed. The only time this really comes into play is the fact that Iowa law allows open carry per state law, but municipalities can (and do) disallow the ability to do so. The permit overrides this and allows open or concealed carry in or out of town. Also, “no guns allowed” signs do not carry the force of law here and will only lead to a tresspass charge upon refusal to leave when asked.

    It is also interesting to note that the Iowa permit is a “Permit to Carry Weapons” (This is in part due to the lack of distinction between open or concealed) and allows for the carrying of other devices such as tazers, stun guns, and long bladed knives.

  7. If you are prior military you might as well not even bother with the online. A dd214 and your $50 check (which is what this really all about) is all you need. Take about 5 minutes. Including the picture for the card. You walk out with it. Oddly, to get a drivers license in Iowa, you have to wait for the DMV to mail it to you.

    • I was surprised by this also. I got my permit a month or so after the switch to shall issue. The back log on requests was weeks in Scott County. I brought in my application and a valid military ID (army reserves at the time) and the clerk had me out the door in 10 minutes.

  8. Davenport Iowa getting some positive press? What bizzaro world did I enter? We are a shall issue state and are working hard to overturn the ban on suppressors. Any Iowans here need to contact their state representatives and voice their opinion.


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