Iowa Knife Law – The Complete Guide (In Plain English)

Iowa knife law is friendlier than the legislations of other states. Most of the knives and blades are allowed to carry in this state. Some legal norms are made for the safety of the citizens in Iowa because most people misuse knives and blades.

Iowa is located in the Midwestern part of the United States bordered by the Mississippi River. Not only famous for the historical monuments but the charming climate of the state is also liked by the citizens and tourists. However, there are some knife laws that every citizen needs to be followed for their safety. Remember a safe state is always a beautiful and comfortable place to live.

State Knife Law in Iowa

In Iowa (IA) dangerous weapons are mentioned in Code 702.7 of Iowa Knife Law. Usually, a dangerous weapon is a device that is designed for inflicting injury or death. So, in this state, every type of knife is allowed to use, but some dangerous blades which can act as dangerous weapons are not allowed. According to Iowa Knife Law, visitors of the state can give, display, buy and sell different types of knives except for a Ballistic Knife.

Concealed Carry Knife Law in Iowa

According to the Iowa Code of 2012 Section 724.4, you can only carry those knives by concealing which are legal to Iowa. If you carry illegal blades or knives by concealing, then you would be under serious misdemeanor that will result in a strict penalty.

Exception in Carrying Knife

As per Section 724.4.3.h, an exception is provided with the Iowa Knife Law. If sharp knives are required in your profession like hunting and fishing, then you can carry every type of knife, but you need a valid license for your occupation.

Limitation on the Length of Knives in Iowa

According to Code 702.7 of Iowa Knife Law, one cannot conceal a knife which has a length of more than 5”. If any citizen or migrant of Iowa is found carrying a knife longer than 8” openly, then he or she might have to pay the severe compensation.

Penalties for Different Types of Violations

There are different penalties for breaching concealment knife law and carrying knives larger than 8”. You may have to compensate in the following ways for any violation:

  • If you violate the concealment knife law of Iowa, then you may be imprisoned for one year or you have to compensate $625-$6250.
  • According to Iowa Knife Law, for carrying 5-8” knives and blades, you might be jailed for one year and you may have to compensate $315-$1,875.


According to Code 724.4 of Iowa Knife Law, you can carry illegal knives only if you are allowed by the peace officer of the state. For that, you need to send a written application to the officer, and you will get written consent with a reply.

Types of Legal Knives in Iowa

Yes, all the knives are not legal as per Iowa Knife Law, but some blades and knives can be carried or used in the state. You can also manufacture and sell these knives.

  1. Balisong: Balisong Knife was first manufactured in the Philippines. Later it became popular in the U.S. It is a weapon that is used for self-defense. So, Balisong or Butterfly Knife is legal to use in Iowa.   
  2. Bowie Knives: Bowie Knife is also a sharp blade which is often used by hunters and butchers, but it is legal to use if its length is less than 8”.
  3. Disguised Knives: If the length of disguised knives such as lipstick knife, penknife, cane knife etc. are not more than 5”, then they are legal to carry in Iowa.  
  4. Fixed Blade Knives: If the knife has no automatic blade, and it is fixed, then it is legal to carry as per Iowa Knife Law.  

Types of Illegal Knives in Iowa

Not all knives are legal in Iowa. Some knives and blades are illegal, and you have to compensate for using, buying, selling, manufacturing, and carrying these knives.

  1. Ballistic Knives: According to Code 720.1 of Iowa Knife Law, a ballistic knife is highly prohibited to carry in the state. The ballistic knife with a detachable blade is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism and elastic material. This knife is also an automatic blade, and it is not allowed to carry in Iowa.
  2. Dagger: Dagger is a large and sharp knife which is often used as a weapon or self-defense. It is not allowed to use in Iowa because of its size which is more than 8”.
  3. Switchblade:Switchblade is an automatic knife that can be opened by pressing a switch or button of the knife. These types of blades are often used in a concealed way, and this can also be misused, so it is not legal in Iowa.

Penalties for Using Illegal Knives in Iowa

According to Section 724.1, offensive weapons and illegal knives are not allowed to be used in Iowa. Breaching this law will fall under Class D Felony. It is also illegal to carry gas-powered, spring, and elastic knives in Iowa. You have to compensate $11,000 or you will be imprisoned for one year if you use illegal knives in Iowa and violate the legislation.

A correctional officer, police officer, armed forces, security guard, hunter, fisherman, and butcher can carry every type of knife and blade. These professionals should carry a valid permit for using these knives.

Restricted Places to Carry Knife in Iowa

According to Iowa Knife Law, there are a few places where carrying, buying, selling, and using knives or blades are highly prohibited. If you carry knives in such places, then you may have to compensate for it.

  1. Schools: According to the Code 724.4 of Iowa Knife Law, you cannot carry knives, blades and other dangerous weapons in schools. If an emergency situation arises, then you have to take permission from the peace officer of the state.
  2. Airports: As per the rule of the TSA officer report in Iowa, you cannot carry a single concealed or pen knife in an airport.   
  3. Public Vehicles: Carrying knives and blades in public vehicles such as metro, bus, and cars are also prohibited for the safety of the citizens of Iowa.
  4. Government Buildings: In court, post office, bank, and other government buildings, you should not carry knives or any weapon.
  5. Private Properties: You cannot carry knives and blades in any private property without the consent of the owner of the place, otherwise you might be kept behind the bar for six months.  

Penalties for Carrying Knives in Restricted Places

According to Iowa Knife Law, for violating the rules and carrying the knives in the restricted places, you have to compensate $3,000 or you might be imprisoned for six months.

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