Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera says the number of residents seeking non-professional permits to carry weapons continues unabated. In fact, the sheriff said on Tuesday of last week he signed a half-dozen new permits.
Iowa law changed in 2011 to require county sheriffs to issue the permits if applicants meet certain requirements. For many years, it was pretty much the decision of the sheriff based upon his department's own criteria whether to approve applications.
In 2010, the sheriff said there was a total of 255 non-professional permits to carry concealed weapons in the county. That spiked to 879 permits in 2011 after the change in the law went into effect.
Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera
In 2012, he issued another 305 permits. In 2013, to Feb. 5, another 70 new permits were issued in Tama County.
Kucera said he has denied a total of five permits since the new law went into effect.
Despite the increase the sheriff said few problems have been reported.
Open pdfs for Iowa Code section pertaining to permits and frequently asked questions about carry permits.
"Right after the law changed we had a couple of reports of open carrying in public," he said.
Kucera said these were likely attempts to be "attention-getters" and were not illegal and not a problem.
According to the Tama County Sheriff's Office website, in Iowa, applicants must furnish proof of completion of an approved handgun safety training course and fill out an application which includes some personal information 11 questions. The fee is $50 for a five-year carry permit.
If the holder wants a permit pocket card there is an additional $10 fee.
Also available is a one-year permit to acquire pistols and revolvers. It requires only some personal information and answers to a series of questions. It costs $10. A carry permit also entitles the holder to acquire handguns.
There was a total of 391 permits issued to purchase or acquire from Jan. 1, 2011 to Feb. 5 of this year.
The Tama County Sheriff's Office did initially offer a safety course after the Jan. 1, 2011, law went into effect. Deputies who were certified instructors taught the course.
The high number of options of now available makes it unlikely the sheriff's office will offer one again, Kucera said.
However, he said if a total of 20 citizens expressed interest, it would be considered.