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Thread: Weapons free zones laws questions

  1. #1
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    Weapons free zones laws questions

    Hello folks. New to the forum. I recently acquired my Iowa permit to carry, and this one subject has been a little bit confusing to me. I was hoping someone could set me straight. This is sort of a multi-faceted question, so please hear me through.

    724.4A Weapons free zones ‐‐ enhanced penalties.
    1. As used in this section, "weapons free zone" means the area in or on, or within one thousand
    feet of, the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, or in or
    on the real property comprising a public park. A weapons free zone shall not include that portion
    of a public park designated as a hunting area under section 461A.42.
    2. Notwithstanding sections 902.9 and 903.1, a person who commits a public offense involving
    a firearm or offensive weapon, within a weapons free zone, in violation of this or any other
    chapter shall be subject to a fine of twice the maximum amount which may otherwise be
    imposed for the public offense.
    My concern are as follows:

    1) Parks
    I live approximately 1,000 feet from a park (small public playground-type park). If I have a permit to carry, and I take one step off my property with a pistol on my person, does this mean I am breaking the law? Or is the 1,000 foot part of this section referring to within 1,000 feet of a school only? The way it's worded, it sounds like I can carry in a park, and this section merely indicates that penalties are enhanced in the event that I commit a crime involving a firearm. Can someone please confirm this? It seems that this only applies to parks though, based on the sentence wording. And the next section down (724.4B) addresses schools more specifically. Which brings us to...

    2) Schools
    As I understand from section 724.4B, even with a permit, I cannot carry on school grounds - lest I be charged with a felony (note, on the grounds only - but within 1,000 feet seems to be acceptable). However, the grocery store I frequent is across the street from a school (within 1,000 feet), so I want to make sure I am interpretting this correctly. I would like to confirm that it is legal for me to carry in this grocery store. Similarly, if I happen to be driving on a main street that happens to pass by two schools, and I am carrying on my person in my vehicle as I drive by - I want to be comfortable in knowing that I am not breaking the law.

    If anyone can speak with certainty or authority on this subject, I would greatly appreciate it. I intend to begin open carrying as I take my neighborhood walks - and maybe when I hit the grocery store real quick, but I want to be fully prepared to defend myself in conversation in the event that I am approached by either law enforcement, or curious passers-by.

    Thank you much,
    Tallinar
    Last edited by Tallinar; 09-19-2011 at 11:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    Read the rest of the law.//// I am fairly certain you will see that these restriction do not apply to someone with a permit to carry. I am not from Iowa, but that is the way it works in most states.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hermannr View Post
    Read the rest of the law.//// I am fairly certain you will see that these restriction do not apply to someone with a permit to carry. I am not from Iowa, but that is the way it works in most states.
    yes. In fact, these "weapons free zones" are not "weapons free." They are PENALTY ENHANCEMENT ZONES, wherein if one is convicted of a CRIME with a weapon, the penalty is worse. Since we don't commit crimes, we don't need to bother with them. (Just stay off the real property of a school until your weapon is unloaded and encased.)

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    So I can carry within 1,000 feet of a school's property - but if I commit a firearms related crime in that area, it's double penalty (not an issue, since I don't intent on committing crimes, I guess). And if I carry onto the real property of a school, I am then committing a felony (unloaded and stored correctly in a case in my vehicle, however, is permissible). Is this accurate?

  5. #5
    Regular Member Tucker6900's Avatar
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    yes. In fact, these "weapons free zones" are not "weapons free." They are PENALTY ENHANCEMENT ZONES, wherein if one is convicted of a CRIME with a weapon, the penalty is worse. Since we don't commit crimes, we don't need to bother with them. (Just stay off the real property of a school until your weapon is unloaded and encased.)
    Correct.



    Quote Originally Posted by Tallinar View Post
    So I can carry within 1,000 feet of a school's property - but if I commit a firearms related crime in that area, it's double penalty (not an issue, since I don't intent on committing crimes, I guess). And if I carry onto the real property of a school, I am then committing a felony (unloaded and stored correctly in a case in my vehicle, however, is permissible). Is this accurate?
    If you commit any crime, while in possession of a firearm, within 1000 feet of a school, then you will be charged with a higher crime than if you committed the same crime without a firearm. That is the way I understand it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amaixner View Post
    yes. In fact, these "weapons free zones" are not "weapons free." They are PENALTY ENHANCEMENT ZONES, wherein if one is convicted of a CRIME with a weapon, the penalty is worse. Since we don't commit crimes, we don't need to bother with them. (Just stay off the real property of a school until your weapon is unloaded and encased.)
    I believe the above just about sums it up. While the state law is worded this way there is also the federal law. IIRC, the federal law makes an exception for those carrying a permit from the state in which the school is located. Since we are only talking about Iowa here the federal law really does not apply, compliance with Iowa law places one in compliance with federal law. Again, IIRC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallinar View Post
    So I can carry within 1,000 feet of a school's property - but if I commit a firearms related crime in that area, it's double penalty (not an issue, since I don't intent on committing crimes, I guess). And if I carry onto the real property of a school, I am then committing a felony (unloaded and stored correctly in a case in my vehicle, however, is permissible). Is this accurate?
    You are ALMOST correct. Here, I'll reword it to make it correct:

    If I carry loaded and/or not cased onto the real property of a school, I am then committing a felony, unless the weapon is unloaded and stored correctly in a case which is too large to be concealed on your person, in which case it is 100% legal to carry it onto school ground and/or into a school building without permission. If you have written permission from the person in charge of the school, you may carry loaded and not cased.
    Last edited by amaixner; 09-21-2011 at 08:04 AM.

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