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Any person seeking to acquire ownership of a handgun in Iowa must possess a valid five-year permit.1 See the Universal Background Checks in Iowa page for further information.

The permit to acquire a handgun qualifies as an exemption from the requirements of the Brady Act. Under federal law, persons who have been issued state permits to purchase or possess firearms are exempt from background checks if those permits were issued: 1) within the previous five years in the state in which the transfer is to take place; and 2) after an authorized government official has conducted a background investigation, including a search of the NICS database, to verify that possession of a firearm would not be unlawful.2 Consult the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) chart outlining those permits that qualify as alternatives to the Brady Act. Please note that ATF’s exempt status determination is subject to change without notice. For further information, see the Iowa Background Check Procedures section.


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  1. Iowa Code § 724.15. Application requirements for an annual permit to acquire handguns are detailed in sections 724.17, 724.18, and 724.19. If the issuing officer determines that the applicant has become disqualified under the provisions of section 724.15(1), he or she may immediately invalidate the permit. Section 724.15(3).[]
  2. 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(3), 27 C.F.R. § 478.102(d).[]