POV shot of hand holding a revolver

Criminal Lawyer: Can the police charge a valid permit holder with carrying weapons while intoxicated in Cedar Rapids, Iowa? 


When there is cause to believe a valid weapons carry permit holder is intoxicated, Iowa law allows law enforcement to allege that the permit holder has exceeded the scope of that permit and is no more permitted to carry weapons than someone without the permit. In other words, if intoxicated, even a valid permit holder can be charged with carrying weapons as if they had no permit at all.

Iowa Code § 724.4C instructs that “[a] permit issued under this chapter is invalid if the person to whom the permit is issued is intoxicated as provided in section 321J.2, subsection 1.” In other words, if someone is intoxicated if they were operating while intoxicated under Iowa Code § 321J.2, a validly issued permit to carry weapons is no longer valid.

Edit: Iowa Code § 724.4C was amended in 2017 to charge a serious misdemeanor.

Intoxication, or, under the influence is defined here.

Carrying weapons without a valid permit is an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by fines ranging from $625 to $6250 and incarceration up to and including an indeterminate two year prison sentence. Jail is also possible but only up to a year. Anything longer must be a prison sentence. 

This generally comes up when someone is stopped for suspected drunk driving and the officer inventories the vehicle before it is towed after an OWI arrest. Under the seat, in the glove box, or in the center console is a firearm within reach of those in the passenger compartment. 

Of course, the best place for a firearm is secured and away from children, locked in a cabinet or gun safe at a residence-- especially during a night on the town. Even if you're the designated driver, confusion could occur as to who has access to a firearm inside the passenger compartment, especially if it's their car the "DD" is driving. Better to leave your guns at home if anyone is consuming alcohol.

If that's not possible, it's better to have someone sober and trained to handled firearms, preferably a sober permit holder, and in a non-public setting, remove any magazines from semiautomatics, safety check the chamber to remove any live rounds from the chamber or, in the alternative empty chambers from the cylinder if it is a revolver, and safely place the unloaded firearm in a closed case too large to conceal on the person, with a trigger lock installed if possible. Stow the cased firearm safely in the rear of the passenger compartment (SUV) or trunk without possibility of access by any person in the vehicle. Again, this is not ideal. But it's better than a firearm in the passenger compartment after one or more persons has been consuming alcohol. 

If you or a loved one has been arrested for an Iowa OWI (DUI), contact DAC-LAW PLC at 319-389-4276 or


for an initial consultation today. However, remember that a blog is not legal advice and that sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet does not establish an attorney-client relationship. 

DAC-LAW PLC - Cedar Rapids OWI-DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyer

305 2nd Avenue Suite 200

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401


Don't bring your guns to town ​an old Johnny Cash ballad laments the tale of a restless young man who takes his guns to town and gets his first taste of hard liquor with disastrous results. It's a cautionary tale gun owners should heed in Iowa. Public intoxication invalidates a valid permit to carry weapons in Iowa, rendering the possession of a firearm on or about the person by an intoxicated permit holder illegal. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a firearms offense in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, or other Iowa community, contact DAC-LAW PLC today at 319-389-4276.