Governor Chet Culver today signed into law Senate File 2379, legislation that standardizes the weapon permit process across Iowa.

Iowa has historically been a “may issue” state, meaning that decisions on whether to issue an individual a permit to carry a weapon were made at the local level at the sheriff’s discretion, with inconsistencies among counties. Senate File 2379 makes Iowa a “shall issue” state in which individuals will be granted weapon permits unless they meet certain criteria for denial.

The law does not grant automatic approval of application for permits for people who are likely to be a danger to themselves or their communities, but it provides that Iowans start with an assumption that an application will be approved, with reasonable safeguards for public safety.

Sheriffs will be required to deny permits based upon applicants’ previous illegal acts, age restrictions (applicants must be over 21), and to applicants who are likely to commit a violent act with the firearm. People denied a permit under these limitations may appeal their case to an administrative law judge. Applicants for a carry permit must be knowledgeable and trained in firearm safety, and continue to show proficiency in control of the firearm.