Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office
1400 Big Lake Road
Council Bluffs, Iowa 51501
Non-Emergency : 328-5737
Emergency : 911
Please be advised our policy will be that a background NCIC check will be conducted, the Sheriff will have to approve the application and once this procedure is finished you will have to come into the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office, 1400 Big Lake Road, Council Bluffs, Iowa, in person. You may call ahead to see if you have been approved at 712-890-2228.
When you come into the Sheriff's Office the following items will be required:
Fees will apply to the following:
Permits are issued in person only, during the following hours:
Monday & Tuesday 8:30am - 4:00pm
Wednesday 8:30am - 5:00pm
Thursday & Friday 8:30 - 4:00pm
A valid Iowa driver's license is required. For more information, please call 712-890-2200.
The Sheriff of your county of residence is the only person who is authorized to issue permits unless you are a non-resident of Iowa or require a permit as a result of your employment by the State of Iowa, in which case, the Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety can issue Permits to Carry.
Annual Permit to Acquire Pistols or RevolversA Permit to Acquire authorizes the holder to acquire pistols and revolvers and long guns; however, this does not authorize the holder to carry a weapon. An Iowa Permit to Acquire pistols and revolvers shall be valid three (3) days after the date of application and is valid for five years after the date of application (Code of Iowa, Section 724.20). It is valid throughout the state.
In April 2010, SF2379 was signed into law. This legislation significantly changes the laws that govern the issuance of permits to carry weapons in the State of Iowa. These changes will not be implemented until January 1, 2011. Until that time, the existing Iowa law and policies of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff will continue to apply. Existing permits remain valid until the expiration date printed on the permit. While the new law will make many changes (which are summarized at the bottom of this page), many provisions remain the same. The following is only a summary of the laws. If you have questions, you should review the law, contact your attorney, or ask the Sheriff.
All applicants for a permit to carry must demonstrate knowledge of proper firearms handling through:
- a handgun safety course available to the public and offered by law enforcement, community college, college, private or public institutions or organizations, or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by DPS-equivalent in another state, or the NRA.
- a 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 DPS.
- an NRA handgun safety training course
- a Law Enforcement handgun safety training course
- small arms training in the U.S. Armed forces
- Hunter Education
- peace officer certification that has occurred within the year prior to the application or expiration of a current permit.
Be wary of instruction unless it is verified that the instructor(s) is properly trained and certified and that the class contains adequate information to meet the training requirements.
While the permit will not be limited to particular weapons, it is important that a permit holder be competent to handle each weapon that is planned to be carried. A responsible trainer will be able to test your abilities with each weapon.
It is recommended that applicants complete training through individuals that have provided his/her training instructor certificate to this Sheriff's Office. Other programs may be questionable which may delay, or prevent, issuance of a permit.
Applications are made on forms provided by the Sheriff's Office, and must include proof of training and a valid photo I.D. issued by the state DOT. Upon submission, the necessary background checks will be conducted by the Sheriff, which may take up to 30 days to process. Permits are $50 for new applications, $25 for renewals and are valid for five years. A laminated permit is available for an additional $10 fee.
A person is not eligible for a permit if the applicant:- is younger than 21 years of age
Types of Weapons
A permit to carry allows a person to carry "dangerous weapons," which is an instrument or device designed primarily for use in inflicting death or injury on persons or animals or is capable of or used in such a manner as to inflict death upon persons. This generally includes handguns, rifles, shot guns, Taser-type devices, and knives with blades longer than five inches. The permit does not allow a person to carry "offensive weapons" which are things like machine guns, short-barreled rifles or shot guns, weapons with a barrel or tube with the bore of more than six-tenths of an inch in diameter, bombs, grenades, mines, rockets, missiles, ballistic knives, flamethrowers or silencers.
Permits to Acquire
A person holding a permit to carry need not obtain a separate permit to acquire.
Permits are not valid when a person is under the influence or intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, or when there are any drugs in the person's system. Many drugs remain in the body up to 30 days after ingestion.
A private property owner or business is entitled to ban weapons from their premises, and may legally ask you to remove a weapon from their premise even if you have a valid permit. Also note that bringing a weapon into some businesses (i.e. convenience stores, banks) may invite a police response due to the nature of the business conducted or an employee's concerns for their safety and the safety of their patrons.
Recognition of Permit
Permits in other states are recognized as valid; however, an Iowa permit is not necessarily recognized by other states. If travel is anticipated, it is wise to check the laws of the other jurisdictions to determine if an Iowa permit is recognized.
Suspension/Revocation of Permit
Violation of the terms of the permit or the occurrence of an event that makes a person ineligible for a permit (i.e., arrest for a disqualifying offense or act that causes the Sheriff to believe the permit holder may use a weapon unlawfully or in a manner to endanger the person's self or others) will result in suspension of the permit until disposition of the matter, at which time the permit will be revoked unless due to acquittal the permit may be re-instated. The Sheriff may conduct periodic checks to determine if suspension or revocation is appropriate.
Weapons require a great deal of responsibility. It is important to safeguard a weapon so that it is not stolen or used against you. Most importantly, a permit to carry does not authorize a person to use a weapon in most circumstances. The law is very precise about when such force is justified. Guidance on that issue should be covered during your training. It is also important to note that even if use of a weapon is justified, it often may not be the wisest course of action, and may carry criminal and/or civil consequences.
Effective July 1, 2017, there is a 60 day renewal window. A person wishing to renew a Permit to Carry Weapons must apply within 30 days before the permit expires, or within 30 days after the permit expires, otherwise the higher NEW permit fee must be charged.
** Please note that while a permit can be renewed within 30 days after it expires, a person whose permit has expired should not go armed in a fashion that requires a permit until a person has renewed their permit.
A person who holds (or held) a permit issued on or after 1/1/2011 is not required to complete another training course to renew or obtain a new permit to carry weapons, however, please note that even though re‐training is not required, completing another training course or taking other steps to learn about law changes could be highly beneficial to a person who intends to go armed.
Most of the changes were made in House File 517. However, there were also some highly technical changes made in another bill, Senate File 516. To see the actual wording of the new laws, it would be necessary to read both House File 517 and Division V of Senate File 516. Both bills are available online at the following web addresses:
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