Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some initial questions many clients have when they first contact Lombardi Law Firm. The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find the answers here, you should contact us for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free.

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  • I was denied an Iowa permit to acquire or a permit to carry/My Iowa permit to acquire or permit to carry was suspended or revoked. Can I appeal? If so, how?

    Yes.  If your application for a permit to acquire or carry is denied, or either permit is suspended or revoked, the sheriff or commissioner will provide you a written statement of the reasons for the denial, suspension or revocation.  As long as the reasons for the denial, suspension or revocation do not rest solely on the results of the national instant criminal background check system, you will be able to appeal that decision to an administrative law judge in the department of inspections and appeals.  Note that you will have to do this within thirty days of receiving notice of the denial, suspension, or revocation.   Contact information for the department is available here.

    To file an appeal with an administrative law judge, you need to file a copy of the denial, suspension, or revocation notice with a written statement that clearly states your reasons that you think the sheriff or commissioner decided wrongly (the appeal).  You should include any supporting information that you think is relevant.  You must also include a fee of ten dollars. You must file these documents at Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Division of Administrative Hearings, 502 East 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319, and you must serve a copy of the appeal on the sheriff or commissioner at the same time.

    Within 45 days of receiving your request for appeal, the administrative law judge will set a hearing date and you will receive notice of the hearing.  These hearings are usually held by telephone, but may be held by video conference at the judge’s discretion.  Additionally, you or another party may request an in-person hearing as long as it is not less than five days before the scheduled hearing.  In-person hearings are all held in Des Moines at the address noted above. It is also possible for one party to appear in person and the other to be appear by telephone.

    No later than five days before your hearing, you need to serve on all parties and the administrative law judge copies of all exhibits you intend to introduce as evidence, and a list of witnesses you intend to have testify on your behalf.  It is important to do this because you will only be allowed to introduce witnesses and present evidence that you have already given notice of.  You should also be aware that the judge may not allow you to introduce all the evidence you want to.

    At the hearing, the administrative law judge’s decision will rest on whether there is clear and convincing evidence that the issuing officer’s written statement of the reasons for the denial, suspension, or revocation gave probable cause to deny your application or suspend or revoke your permit.  This means that the judge will determine whether there is a reasonable ground for supposing that there is a well-founded basis for the denial, suspension or revocation. 

    At the conclusion of the hearing, the administrative law judge will order that your denial, suspension, or revocation be either rescinded or sustained.  If the judge decides against you, you can appeal, but if the judge decides in your favor, the issuing officer can appeal.

    Beyond your $10 fee, the agency—the Sheriff or Commissioner—will pay the costs of your hearing.

    The Department of Inspections and Appeals has provided this FAQ sheet for additional questions.

  • I was denied an Iowa permit to acquire or a permit to carry/My Iowa permit to acquire or permit to carry was suspended or revoked. I am confused about the appeals process. Should I get a lawyer?

    It is very difficult to navigate the appeals process without a lawyer—and the further in the appeals process you go, the more difficult it is to navigate.  Because a minor slipup can destroy your entire case, you should seriously consider can cost you your entire case, you should seriously consider getting a lawyer to help you in the appeals process.

  • What am I allowed to do if I don’t have an Iowa permit to carry?

    You still have some weapons rights even if you don’t have a permit to carry.  You can transport a rifle, shotgun or handgun as long as it is unloaded and secured in a closed, locked container.  If you’re actively engaged in legal hunting, or target shooting on a range designed for that activity, you can carry a loaded weapon.  However, if you want to carry a loaded handgun, rifle or shotgun, you need a permit to carry.  

  • Once I have an Iowa permit to carry, will I be able to carry weapons openly, or do they have to be concealed?

    If you have your permit to carry, you can carry firearms openly or concealed.

  • How do I renew my Iowa permit to carry?

    If you want to renew your permit to carry, you have to fill out the permit to carry application again, being sure to check off the box that says that you are renewing and recording your permit number and its expiration date.  The application must be received by your county sheriff or by the Commissioner of Public Safety at least 30 days before your permit expires—if it isn’t, you will have to reapply for a new permit rather than renew your old one.

    The issuing officer will conduct another background check to be sure that you are still eligible for a permit to carry.  You will also be required to have completed the training requirements again by the time of application, and submit the requisite documentation—see What training requirements do I have to fulfill to be eligible for a permit to carry?  However, for renewal, you can also fulfill the training requirements on a firing range under the supervision of an instructor certified by the NRA, a state’s department of public safety , police department, or other certifying body.  You will have to have completed this training or qualification within the 12-month period prior to the expiration of your permit.

    You will also be charged a renewal fee of $25.

  • I’m not an Iowa resident, but I want to get my Iowa permit to carry. What problems might I run into?

    A nonresident applying for an Iowa permit to carry has to apply through the Commissioner of Public Safety rather than through a sheriff’s office.  Other than that, the application procedure is the same.

  • What might disqualify me from being approved for an Iowa permit to carry?

    • You are under 18.
    • You are an alcoholic—there are a number of factors that can lead to a legal presumption that you are addicted to the use of alcohol.  For example, if you have been treated for alcoholism in the past year but did not engage in a treatment program to full remission, this will be your stumbling block.  If an employer has taken disciplinary action because of alcoholism it will also work against you.
    • Documentation of your actions gives probable cause to believe that you are likely to use a weapon unlawfully or in a manner that would endanger yourself or others.  One of the documented events has occurred in the past two years.
    • You are the subject of a protective order or have been convicted of a crime of domestic violence.
    • You’ve been convicted of a serious or aggravated misdemeanor not involving the use of a firearm or explosive in the past three years.
    • You are prohibited by federal law from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm.
    • You are fugitive from justice (i.e., there is a warrant out for your arrest).
    • You have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for one or more years
    • You unlawfully use or are addicted to a controlled substance.
    • You are mentally ill or committed to a mental institution.
    • You are an illegal immigrant.
    • You were dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
    • You renounced U.S. citizenship.

  • How do I apply for an Iowa permit to carry?

    After fulfilling the training requirements, you will need to fill out this application, which is provided by the Iowa Department of Public Safety.  If you are applying for a nonprofessional permit to carry weapons, file your application with the Sheriff of your county of residence.  Information about sheriffs’ offices is available here.    If you are applying for a professional permit to carry weapons, file your application with The Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

    All applicants will undergo a criminal background check.    Approval or denial of your application should not exceed 30 days.  You will be charged $50 by the officer who issues your permit.

    The issuing officer may conduct a background check annually ensuring that you are still eligible to hold your permit to carry, and may suspend or revoke it if he finds that you are ineligible.  You may appeal this decision.

  • What training requirements do I have to fulfill to be eligible for an Iowa permit to carry?

    To be eligible for a permit to carry, you have to take a firearm safety course and document that you have taken it.  You can use any one of these courses as your firearm safety course:

    • Any National Rifle Association (NRA) handgun safety training course.
    • Any handgun safety training course available to the general public offered by a law enforcement agency, community college, private or public institution or organization, or firearms training school, as long as the instructors are certified by the NRA or a state’s department of public safety, state police department, or similar agency.
    • Any handgun safety training course offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of a law enforcement or security enforcement agency approved by the department of public safety.
    • Small arms training you received while serving with the armed forces of the United States (with accompanying documentation).
    • A law enforcement agency firearms training course that qualifies a peace officer to carry a firearm in the normal course of his or her duties.

    At the time of application, you can document your training in any of these ways:

    • A photocopy of a certificate of completion showing you completed the requisite training.
    • An affidavit from the instructor, school, organization, or group that taught the course you took, attesting that you completed it.
    • A copy of a document indicating that you participated in a firearms shooting competition.

  • How long is an Iowa permit to carry valid?

    A nonprofessional permit to carry is valid for five years from the date of issue.  A professional permit to carry is generally valid for one year, although certain public officers’ permits to carry may be valid throughout their period of employment in that capacity.