Pepper Spray Laws – Iowa

Iowa has virtually no laws concerning civilian possession, carry and use of defensive sprays. You can get defensive sprays and pretty much every configuration in every quantity you might desire, from tiny personally sized dispensers of OC to jumbo cans of tear gas.

flag of Iowa
flag of Iowa

Accordingly purchase and sale of such defensive sprays is barely regulated at all, and you can order any variation you might desire off the internet or from elsewhere out of state.

Additionally there is no law concerning age for purchase or possession, so people who are under the age of 18 can still take advantage of pepper spray for self-defense.

You can learn what more there is to tell about Iowa’s pepper spray laws in the rest of this article and also catch up on the relevant laws at the very end.

Fast Facts

  • Iowa does not restrict the type of defensive spray formulation that civilians may possess. Traditional OC pepper spray is permissible as are both typical tear gas formulations, CN and CS. Chemical mace is also permitted.
  • Citizens may choose from and carry any size dispenser that serves their purposes; there is no restriction on the quantity of agent carried at any one time.
  • Interestingly Iowa does not have an age restriction on the purchase or possession of any defensive spray. People under the age of 18 may still be in possession of pepper or other defensive sprays for self-defense.

Overview

Iowa is among many other states that effectively do not regulate the purchase and possession of defensive sprays among civilians.

They don’t care what kind of spray you carry so long as it is not intended to cause any lasting injury and they also don’t care what quantity you carry.

They don’t even have an age restriction, meaning people who are under the age of 18 may still purchase and carry a defensive spray unit for personal protection.

Iowa doesn’t even regulate the importation of pepper sprays directly to end users via internet commerce. That’s great news for citizens!

In short, this means it’s so long as you purchase a commercially manufactured and purpose designed defensive spray unit from a major producer you shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever possessing or carrying it in the state of Iowa.

However, it is worth mentioning that this lack of legal oversight concerning the possession and carry of various defensive sprays does not mean that they’re use, particularly their use against other people, is likewise unregulated.

If you illicitly employ your pepper spray for any other purpose except its intended purpose you could potentially be charged with felony battery, and that is trouble you don’t need. Never, ever use your pepper spray for anything unless it is a legitimate self-defense situation.

My Assessment

Iowa has effectively no regulations concerning defensive sprays for citizens and visitors to the state.

All typical formulations are permitted and there is no restriction on the quantity that citizens are allowed to carry. Pepper spray is even purchasable by those who are under the age of 18, and may likewise be carried.

So long as you’re not engaged in any illicit or criminal activity with your defensive spray Iowa does not care one iota otherwise. Just make sure you behave yourself and you won’t have any issues in Iowa!

Relevant State Statutes

702.7 Dangerous weapon.

A “dangerous weapon” is any instrument or device designed primarily for use in inflicting death or injury upon a human being or animal, and which is capable of inflicting death upon a human being when used in the manner for which it was designed, except a bow and arrow when possessed and used for hunting or any other lawful purpose. Additionally, any instrument or device of any sort whatsoever which is actually used in such a manner as to indicate that the defendant intends to inflict death or serious injury upon the other, and which, when so used, is capable of inflicting death upon a human being, is a dangerous weapon. Dangerous weapons include but are not limited to any offensive weapon, pistol, revolver, or other firearm, dagger, razor, stiletto, switchblade knife, knife having a blade exceeding five inches in length, or any portable device or weapon directing an electric current, impulse, wave, or beam that produces a high-voltage pulse designed to immobilize a person.

702.18 Serious injury.

1. “Serious injury” means any of the following:

a. Disabling mental illness.

b. Bodily injury which does any of the following:

(1) Creates a substantial risk of death.

(2) Causes serious permanent disfigurement.

(3) Causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

c. Any injury to a child that requires surgical repair and necessitates the administration of general anesthesia.

2. “Serious injury” includes but is not limited to skull fractures, rib fractures, and metaphyseal fractures of the long bones of children under the age of four years.

724.1 Offensive weapons.

1. An offensive weapon is any device or instrumentality of the following types:

a. A machine gun. A machine gun is a firearm which shoots or is designed to shoot more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

b. Any weapon other than a shotgun or muzzle loading rifle, cannon, pistol, revolver or musket, which fires or can be made to fire a projectile by the explosion of a propellant charge, which has a barrel or tube with the bore of more than six-tenths of an inch in diameter, or the ammunition or projectile therefor, but not including antique weapons kept for display or lawful shooting.

c. A bomb, grenade, or mine, whether explosive, incendiary, or poison gas; any rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces; any missile having an explosive charge of more than one-quarter ounce; or any device similar to any of these.

d. A ballistic knife. A ballistic knife is a knife with a detachable blade which is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism, elastic material, or compressed gas.

e. Any part or combination of parts either designed or intended to be used to convert any device into an offensive weapon as described in paragraphs “a” through “d”, or to assemble into such an offensive weapon, except magazines or other parts, ammunition, or ammunition components used in common with lawful sporting firearms or parts including but not limited to barrels suitable for refitting to sporting firearms.

f. Any bullet or projectile containing any explosive mixture or chemical compound capable of exploding or detonating prior to or upon impact, or any shotshell or cartridge containing exothermic pyrophoric misch metal as a projectile which is designed to throw or project a flame or fireball to simulate a flamethrower.

2. An offensive weapon or part or combination of parts therefor shall not include the following:

a. An antique firearm. An antique firearm is any firearm, including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system, manufactured in or before 1898 or any firearm which is a replica of such a firearm if such replica is not designed or redesigned for using conventional rimfire or centerfire fixed ammunition or which uses only rimfire or centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

b. A collector’s item. A collector’s item is any firearm other than a machine gun that by reason of its date of manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics is not likely to be used as a weapon. The commissioner of public safety shall designate by rule firearms which the commissioner determines to be collector’s items and shall revise or update the list of firearms at least annually.

c. Any device which is not designed or redesigned for use as a weapon; any device which is designed solely for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line-throwing, safety, or similar device; or any firearm which is unserviceable by reason of being unable to discharge a shot by means of an explosive and is incapable of being readily restored to a firing condition.

724.4 Carrying weapons.

1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person who goes armed with a dangerous weapon concealed on or about the person, or who, within the limits of any city, goes armed with a pistol or revolver, or any loaded firearm of any kind, whether concealed or not, or who knowingly carries or transports in a vehicle a pistol or revolver, commits an aggravated misdemeanor.

2. A person who goes armed with a knife concealed on or about the person, if the person uses the knife in the commission of a crime, commits an aggravated misdemeanor.

3. A person who goes armed with a knife concealed on or about the person, if the person does not use the knife in the commission of a crime:

a. If the knife has a blade exceeding eight inches in length, commits an aggravated misdemeanor.

b. If the knife has a blade exceeding five inches but not exceeding eight inches in length, commits a serious misdemeanor.

4. Subsections 1 through 3 do not apply to any of the following:

a. A person who goes armed with a dangerous weapon in the person’s own dwelling or place of business, or on land owned, possessed, or rented by the person.

b. A peace officer, when the officer’s duties require the person to carry such weapons, or as provided in section 724.6.

c. A member of the armed forces of the United States or of the national guard or person in the service of the United States, when the weapons are carried in connection with the person’s duties as such.

d. A correctional officer, when the officer’s duties require, serving under the authority of the Iowa department of corrections.

e. A person who for any lawful purpose carries an unloaded pistol, revolver, or other dangerous weapon inside a closed and fastened container or securely wrapped package which is too large to be concealed on the person.

f. A person who for any lawful purpose carries or transports an unloaded pistol or revolver in a vehicle inside a closed and fastened container or securely wrapped package which is too large to be concealed on the person or inside a cargo or luggage compartment where the pistol or revolver will not be readily accessible to any person riding in the vehicle or common carrier.

g. A person while the person is lawfully engaged in target practice on a range designed for that purpose or while actually engaged in lawful hunting.

h. A person who carries a knife used in hunting or fishing, while actually engaged in lawful hunting or fishing.

i. A person who has in the person’s possession and who displays to a peace officer on demand a valid permit to carry weapons which has been issued to the person, and whose conduct is within the limits of that permit. A person shall not be convicted of a violation of this section if the person produces at the person’s trial a permit to carry weapons which was valid at the time of the alleged offense and which would have brought the person’s conduct within this exception if the permit had been produced at the time of the alleged offense.

(…)

724.22 Persons under twenty-one — sale, loan, gift, making available — possession.

1. Except as provided in subsection 3, a person who sells, loans, gives, or makes available a rifle or shotgun or ammunition for a rifle or shotgun to a minor commits a serious misdemeanor for a first offense and a class “D” felony for second and subsequent offenses.

2. Except as provided in subsections 4 and 5, a person who sells, loans, gives, or makes available a pistol or revolver or ammunition for a pistol or revolver to a person below the age of twenty-one commits a serious misdemeanor for a first offense and a class “D” felony for second and subsequent offenses.

3. A parent, guardian, spouse who is eighteen years of age or older, or another with the express consent of the minor’s parent or guardian or spouse who is eighteen years of age or older may allow a minor to possess a rifle or shotgun or the ammunition therefor which may be lawfully used.

4. A person eighteen, nineteen, or twenty years of age may possess a firearm and the ammunition therefor while on military duty or while a peace officer, security guard or correctional officer, when such duty requires the possession of such a weapon or while the person receives instruction in the proper use thereof from an instructor who is twenty-one years of age or older.

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