State Public Health Emergency Declaration Provides Temporary Extension of Weapon Permits

Debbie McClung
Strategic Communications Bureau Chief

March 21, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa - On March 20, 2020, Governor Reynolds issued an additional State Public Health Emergency Declaration related to the COVID-19 virus. Included in the proclamation were certain modifications to the current law on weapon permits. 

The declaration temporarily addresses portions of Iowa law regarding professional and nonprofessional permits to carry firearms, and permits to acquire pistols or revolvers.  Based on the Governor’s actions, permits to carry weapons and permits to acquire will not expire during the declaration.  This extension, however, does not allow one to use an otherwise expired permit to purchase a firearm without completion of a NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) check at the time of the purchase or transfer.  All Federal Firearms License holders (FFLS) must conduct a NICS check prior to the sale or transfer of any firearm if an expired permit is presented. Again, a holder of an otherwise expired permit will not be able to purchase a firearm without a NICS being performed by the FFL.  

The declaration also gives county sheriffs greater discretion in determining how they receive weapon permit applications so as to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Please check with your local county sheriff’s department to determine its procedure for accepting applications during this time.  



The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the largest law enforcement agency in the state. It includes six divisions and several bureaus, all working together with local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to keep Iowa a safe place by following our core values: leadership, integrity, professionalism, courtesy, service and protection. Divisions within the Iowa DPS: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, and Administrative Services Division. The Department of Public Safety is led by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor.