The Iowa Firearms Coalition began its life as Iowa Carry in 2005. Iowa Carry was put together when four guys met each other at a restaurant and realized that the laws that governed the Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons at the time were unjustly administered in many parts of the state, and there was no single statewide process for training requirements and permit issuance. An online forum was put together in mid-2005, organized and maintained by Steve Hensyel. Word began to spread about Iowa Carry and the drive to get “Shall Issue” brought to Iowa, thus removing Sheriff's discretion and standardizing training requirements.
The online forum grew quickly in 2006 as Iowa Carry began to reach out to the community and make the public aware of the problems associated with discretional issue policies. By 2007, it became evident that the movement to bring Shall Issue to Iowa was growing to the point that it could no longer be organized as a social forum-based group, and Iowa Carry became an incorporated organization. Duane Brown was named as the group's first President in July, 2007.
Iowa Carry was still a growing organization at this point. The group knew that Iowa's Sheriffs had too much power over the decision about who could receive a PCW, but finding positive results in the attempt to get that changed were difficult to come by. Legislation was introduced every year in the Iowa House of Representatives by Representative Clel Baudler, but as a group, Iowa Carry was not able to do much more than support the legislation that was introduced and to continue putting the issue in front of Iowa citizens through tables at gun shows and literature placed at supporting businesses.
In early 2008, Duane Brown stepped down as President and was replaced by Sean McClanahan. The 2008 legislative session saw the first of two “procedural votes” where Shall Issue was attached to the Standings Bill, but failed to see enough votes to push it forward. Membership continued to grow steadily, and Iowa Carry increased exposure of the situation to the public at large by creating an e-mail alert list and setting up tables at even more gun shows than before.
The legislative session of 2009 brought the second attempt to put the Shall Issue legislation on the Standings Bill, but as in 2008, it failed to produce enough votes to succeed. Iowa Carry continued to expand its presence in the online world, unveiling a new website and creating a presence on Facebook and Twitter. However, the biggest event of 2009 had to be the first meeting between the NRA and Iowa Carry, held in the fall of 2009. During this meeting, the groundwork was laid to create a new level of cooperation between the two groups.
That cooperative effort found results, as the Iowa Senate and House both passed Shall Issue legislation in the 2010 session, and Governor Culver signed it into law. Iowa Carry carried the momentum of this victory into our third annual meeting held at Brownell's Big Springs Range, raffling off four firearms and an advanced training course.
During the summer of 2010, Iowa Carry decided to change the name of the organization to Iowa Firearms Coalition. The new name more accurately reflects the new goals of the group now that all law abiding Iowans have the ability to obtain a PCW without having to worry about the personal views of any Sheriff. IFC will continue to work toward cleaning up the current law; expanding our gun rights, with full “Constitutional Carry” being part of our eventual goal; protecting the rights that we've already worked hard to restore; and adding the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to the Iowa Constitution.