Castle Doctrine

The laws governing the legal use, storage, carrying and transporting of firearms are constantly changing. Below are the applicable laws in the State of Iowa as of 8/1/2013. The below information is designed to be a guide and not the final word. If you have specific questions, please refer to Iowa legislation at If you have any specific questions concerning Castle Doctrine/Self-Defense laws in any state, American Firearms Training recommends contacting an attorney.

The Castle Doctrine (also known as Castle Law, Defense of Habitat Law) are state legal defense laws that gives citizens in their homes/abode, and in some states, cars or workplaces the right to protect themselves, other people, and their property by force. In some instances this includes deadly force without the consequences of legal or possibly civil responsibility and criminal persecution. A Castle Doctrine also states that a person has no “duty of retreat” (avoid the conflict at all cost) when one’s home/abode is under attack.

Some states will include in there Castle Law a “Stand Your Ground” clause. This clause removes the “duty of retreat” even outside of one’s home (car, work, where one is allowed to possess a firearm).

The State of Iowa does have a Castle Law and a "Stand your Ground" variation.  This, and other Iowa defense laws can be read below.

704.1  Reasonable force.

“Reasonable force” is that force and no more which a reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to be necessary to prevent an injury or loss and can include deadly force if it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety or the life or safety of another, or it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to resist a like force or threat.  Reasonable force, including deadly force, may be used even if an alternative course of action is available if the alternative entails a risk to life or safety, or the life or safety of a third party, or requires one to abandon or retreat from one’s dwelling or place of business or employment.
[C51, §2773; R60, §444

704.3  Defense of self or another.

A person is justified in the use of reasonable force when the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any imminent use of unlawful force.

704.4  Defense of property.

A person is justified in the use of reasonable force to prevent or terminate criminal interference with the person’s possession or other right in property. Nothing in this section authorizes the use of any spring gun or trap which is left unattended and unsupervised and which is placed for the purpose of preventing or terminating criminal interference with the possession of or other right in property.

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