Knife Laws in Iowa

Iowa is a state in the midwestern region of the United States. Iowa State is very permissive about knife laws. You feel very relaxed when you know about the knife laws of Iowa.

It has relaxed and permissive knife laws. However, as you go through these laws, you will get some confusing words as well. In this article, you will find all you want to know about knife laws in Iowa.

Legal Knives to Own in Iowa

Most of the knives are legal in this state. You can use and own Bali knives, switchblades/automatic knives, and bowie knives. The best bowie knife is a multipurpose weapon. Such types of knives are not allowed in most states. But in Iowa bowie knives are also legal.

Furthermore, stilettos, daggers, and dirks are legal to own. This law also applies to disguised knives – lipstick, cane, or belt knives.

Illegal Knives to Own in Iowa

Ballistic knives are illegal to own in Iowa. This is only one special category of knives that is illegal in this state. This category is illegal in most states of the USA.

Carry limits

The rules of Iowa state about carrying limits are somewhat confusing. There are restrictions on carrying knives. Normally you can carry all types of knives openly without any restriction or fear.

But please remember that Ballistic knives are illegal to own; so carrying such knives is also illegal.

Concealed Carry

There are some prohibitions and limitations related to concealed carry. For example, a person cannot carry switchblades and other automatic knives, stilettos, daggers, Bali knives, and disguised knives concealed.

In addition to this nobody can conceal a knife that has a blade longer than five inches. All of these knives are considered dangerous and killing weapons. If you have a valid license then you can conceal and carry a “dangerous weapon” without any fear.

Specific Locations / Circumstances

The educational and judicial places are weapon-free zone. So nobody is allowed to carry any knife in Schools, Colleges, and Universities neither openly nor concealed.

You can openly carry legal knives in Iowa, in all places but schools and other educational places have restrictions. Courtrooms and areas for judicial purposes are also weapon-free zones.

Sale or Transfer

There is not any specific law describing the restrictions on the sale and transfer of knives. So you can borrow, sale, and transfer knives.

But again keep in mind that Ballistic knives are illegal in this state; that’s why there are restrictions on the sale and transfer of Ballistic knives.

Statewide pre-emption

There is no statewide pre-emption in Iowa.

Major Cities in Iowa with Knife Ordinances

City, State

Law Title/ Chapter/ Section

Concealed Carry Legal

Max Size Restriction

Short description of the law

Cedar Rapids, IA63.07Yes3″or knife having a blade of three inches or longer in length.
Council Bluffs, IA8.75.010Yes3″or any knife having a blade of three inches or longer
Des Moines, IA70-77.Nobody shall carry whether concealed or not, any knife on primary or secondary school property within the city


There are some exceptions on concealed carry for those who have a valid license. But remember that it is not easy to obtain a valid license for concealed carry. There is no exception for any person.

Summary of Knife Laws in Iowa

Knife laws in Iowa are very easy to understand. You can own any knife according to your intention as long as it is not a ballistic knife. Likewise, you can open-carry all legal knives. Concealed carry of many knives is illegal.

Remember that you cannot conceal carry knives with blades longer than five inches either. Any dangerous weapon cannot be carried concealed. Educational and judicial paces are weapon-free zone.

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