Do You Need a Permit to Carry?

Carry Permit_Masked2Hello and welcome to the blog today.  I hope everyone had a great Christmas… The cats sure did!

Jesse received two favorites:  a box of “Chicken in a Bisket” snack crackers and his own bag of large  cooked shrimp.  Jennifer received LOTS of new toys to play with and a bag of cat treats of her own.  Jennifer is generous with her toys but Jesse guards his prawns like a pit bull… Those teeth and claws are like dangerous weapons.  (I’ve got scars to prove it!)

As an outdoorsman I also use dangerous weapons quite often but not what a person might think.  No, there are not currently any guns around the house or van but I do often use knives – large enough to be regulated.  My favorite is the Buck Silver Creek folding fillet knife.  It’s got a 6.5 inch titanium blade.  The blade is very sharp and surprisingly rigid.  It is legal to carry the knife openly and use for cleaning fish.  Fold it up and throw it in the glove compartment,  coat pocket, or tackle box and you might just be in violation of Iowa’s concealed weapons law… That involves a hefty fine and possibly a little jail time.  Is it worth the risk?

Buck Silver Creek Knife

The Buck Silver Creek knife works wonders on fish but the 6.5 inch blade makes it illegal to carry concealed without a permit.

It’s surprisingly easy (in Iowa, that is) to get a permit to carry concealed weapons, including guns, tasers and knives.  We are a “shall issue” state (meaning that Sheriffs shall issue concealed carry permits without having to show any special reasons for wanting one).  There are a few things that will disqualify a person – most of them related to domestic abuse, criminal convictions, or involuntary commitment to a mental institution.   The main requirement for the non-professional certification is to take a class for handgun safety and to review Iowa’s laws.

In Iowa you can complete the course online.  No shooting qualification is needed – unless the class instructor requires it.  I used the Carry Iowa web site, completed the course and examination, and received a perfect score.  (The test did have some tricky, thought provoking questions).  Then it is just a matter of making application (which includes a questionnaire) at the local Sheriff’s office, paying a fee, and waiting up to 30 days for the plastic card to arrive in the mail.  It’s pretty painless.

Online is the way to go for simplicity, especially if a person has some knowledge and experience in firearm safety.  Otherwise, it is probably better to pay more for a live, instructor-led class which often includes some time at a shooting range.  The instructor-led classes are often taught by former or current law enforcement folks and are well worth the money.

So why would a law abiding, camping person want a concealed weapons permit and to carry weapons?

  • Protection from people with evil intentions
  • Protection from animals at the camping unit, on the trail, etc.
  • To ensure a person is compliant with the carrying laws at ALL times (i.e. carrying a large folding knife)
  • To keep practiced in shooting skills – an enjoyable outdoor activity
  • The permit is a credential I would use on most job apps – showing good character and a clean background

At this time I do not own any firearms but will not advertise if and when I do buy one.  (maybe a 9mm semi-automatic?)  In any case, I do think a firearm is a tool that would be a benefit to camping folks, particularly if you are in isolated areas or where there might be dangerous animals.  I’ve encountered skunks, snakes, and dogs over the years and you never know what’s lurking in the rural areas.  It does not hurt to be safe!

Christmas Border2

That’s about it for now.  I’ve been planning a camping / fishing trip for some time but it’s all up in the air.  We have a major winter storm coming in on Monday and the areas to the north will be affected.  There will be some kind of camping somewhere over New Year’s Eve and Day though.

Thanks for visiting today!  Take care!  Safe and Happy travels always!

Brad, Jesse James, and Jennifer
Jones County, Iowa

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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