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How to restore your gun rights in Iowa?

Restoring Your Gun Rights in Iowa: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Pardons and Firearm Rights Restoration

A pardon is an official act of forgiveness that restores all rights lost due to a conviction, including the right to vote, hold public office, and possess firearms. On the other hand, firearm rights restoration specifically addresses the ability to own and possess firearms. It’s important to note that the Governor cannot restore firearm rights for federal or out-of-state convictions. Additionally, certain offenses, such as felony drug or weapons charges and forcible felonies, permanently disqualify individuals from having their firearm rights restored, even through a pardon.

Eligibility Requirements


To be eligible for a pardon, you must have completed your sentence, including any probation, parole, and payment of fines and restitution. It’s the general policy of the Governor’s office to require at least ten years to pass from the date of your most recent conviction before granting a pardon. However, exceptions can be made in exceptional circumstances.

Firearm Rights Restoration

For firearm rights restoration, the waiting period is typically five years from the date of completing your sentence. All fines and restitution must be paid in full. As mentioned earlier, certain offenses permanently disqualify individuals from having their firearm rights restored.

The Application Process

  1. Obtain and Complete the Application Form: The first step is to obtain the “Application for Pardon and/or Restoration of Firearm Rights” form from the Governor’s website. Fill it out completely and accurately, providing detailed information about your conviction(s), sentence, and personal background.
  2. Gather Supporting Documentation: Along with the application, you’ll need to submit various supporting documents, including:
    • A certified copy of your criminal record
    • Proof of payment for all fines, court costs, and restitution
    • Letters of recommendation from employers, community leaders, or others who can attest to your good character and rehabilitation
  3. Submit the Application: Once you’ve compiled all the necessary documents, submit your application to the Iowa Board of Parole. They will review your application and forward it to the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) for a full review.
  4. DCI Investigation: During the DCI review, you and others you know may be contacted to verify the information provided in your application. This process can take several months.
  5. Board of Parole Recommendation: After the DCI review, the full Iowa Board of Parole will review your application and submit a recommendation to the Governor.
  6. Governor’s Decision: The Governor will review your completed application, the Board of Parole’s recommendation, and any other relevant information before making a final decision on your application. This entire process can take up to two years from the date of submission.

Increasing Your Chances of Success

While there are no guarantees, there are several steps you can take to improve your chances of having your gun rights restored:

  • Maintain a clean record and demonstrate a law-abiding lifestyle for an extended period
  • Provide detailed letters of recommendation from respected community members
  • Clearly explain the circumstances surrounding your conviction and demonstrate genuine remorse and rehabilitation
  • Seek legal assistance from an experienced attorney familiar with the pardon and firearm rights restoration process in Iowa

Remember, the decision ultimately rests with the Governor, who will consider various factors, including the nature of your conviction, your conduct since the conviction, and any potential public safety concerns.

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