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by James Tarr   |  March 18th, 2013 19

These days, it’s becoming more difficult for gun owners across the country to find safe haven, as the powers that be on both federal and state levels begin introducing a quagmire of anti-gun legislation hindering the rights of law-abiding citizens. States like Illinois are notorious for their anti-gun agendas, while states like Texas are viewed as a sort of shooters’ paradise.

But just how true are those reputations? To provide you, dear reader, with a primer of gun-friendly regions of the United States, we’ve analyzed all 50 states—and Washington, D.C.—and ranked them to find out which are the most pro-gun.

States can score a maximum 10 points per category, with a perfect score of 50. Full disclosure, though: No state attained that perfect score, though two states came awfully close. As was expected, Washington, D.C., kicked off our list with a whopping zero points, and other anti-gun Meccas such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California weren’t far behind. Topping our list of pro-gun states were Arizona, Vermont, Alaska, Utah and Kentucky.

States were measured on gun rights/friendliness to gun owners by the following criteria:

  • CCW/Open Carry: Only states that don’t require a permit for concealed or open carry scored a perfect 10 in this category. Everybody else was judged accordingly.
  • MSRs: States with no restrictions on the kind, type or number of modern sporting rifles (ARs, AKs, etc.) that can be owned or purchased scored a 10 in this category.
  • Class 3/NFA: The majority of states allow their citizens to own Class 3/NFA-type firearms (machine guns, suppressors, short-barreled rifles, etc.), provided they follow the federal licensing standard, but not every state is yea or nay.
  • Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground: States’ scores were determined based on how strong your the law is regarding self-defense in and out of the home, and whether in the right you’re immune from civil prosecution.
  • Miscellaneous: How pro-gun the state culture is has a lot to do with scoring in this category. Scores are based on the percentage of gun owners in the state, if there are any restrictions on gun or ammunition purchases or magazine capacity, pending pro- or anti-gun legislation, CCW reciprocity, and any restrictions on guns that not covered in the other categories.

51. Washington, D.C.

CCW/Open Carry: 0
MSRs: 0
Class 3/NFA: 0
Castle Doctrine: 0
Miscellaneous: 0
TOTAL: 0

Apparently since it’s not a state, the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply to the District of Columbia. Until the recent Heller Supreme Court decision, residents weren’t even allowed to own guns. A permit to purchase is required, and all assault weapons and .50-caliber rifles are banned. No magazines are allowed which hold more than 10 rounds, there is no concealed or open carry, and there is no Castle Doctrine law.

50. New York

CCW/Open Carry: 3
MSRs: 1
Class 3/NFA: 0
Castle Doctrine: 3
Miscellaneous: 0
TOTAL: 7

With its new state law, New York has become the most restrictive state in the nation on magazine capacity. Possession of MSRs is prohibited except for those grandfathered in. New York is a May-Issue CCW state; generally speaking, the closer you are to New York City, the less chance you have of getting one. Also, New York now has a weapons seizure law, just in case the cops think you might be up to something. 18 percent of New Yorkers are gun owners, ranking the state 45th in the nation.

49. New Jersey

CCW/Open Carry: 2
MSRs: 1
Class 3/NFA: 2
Castle Doctrine: 2
Miscellaneous: 0
TOTAL: 7

Don’t move to New Jersey if you like guns, or want to own/buy one. The state requires a Firearms Purchasers Identification Card for any firearm purchase, with a separate permit required for handguns. Magazines are limited to under 15 rounds, with only one handgun purchase allowed per permit. New Jersey is a May-Issue CCW state, but rarely issues them. MSRs could be grandfathered in, provided they were purchased before May 1, 1990, and registered before May 1 1991. Any MSR not owned before May 1, 1990, must be registered in the same manner as machine guns, and similar semi-auto rifles are not available today. Residents need a permit to buy ammo. NFA guns require a state license—good luck with that. For self-defense, retreat is required in many situations. For everybody who loves Repbulican Gov. Chris Christie, he has not even mentioned relaxing any of New Jersey’s gun laws. The state has the second lowest percentage of gun owners—12 percent—in the Union.

48. Massachusetts

CCW/Open Carry: 3
MSRs: 0
Class 3/NFA: 0
Castle Doctrine: 5
Miscellaneous: 0
TOTAL: 8

Massachusetts is no friend to gun owners. It is a May-Issue CCW state, and a state license is required for buying guns or ammunition. According to the NRA-ILA, “It is unlawful to sell, transfer, or possess ‘any assault weapon or a large capacity ammunition feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994.’” All guns stored in the home have to be locked up. It has the third lowest percentage of gun owners of all 50 states; just 12.6 percent of residents own guns.

47. California

CCW/Open Carry: 2
MSRs: 1
Class 3/NFA: 0
Castle Doctrine: 6
Miscellaneous: 0
TOTAL: 9

Where do I begin? The subjects of California are restricted to one handgun purchase per 30 days, have to live with magazine capacity restrictions and only handguns on the “approved” list are legal for sale in the state. While CCWs are technically legal, good luck trying getting one. There are so many restrictions on MSRs that their appearance is butchered. The state has a Castle Doctrine law, but it doesn’t apply to cars or at work.

46. Hawaii

CCW/Open Carry: 2
MSRs: 2
Class 3/NFA: 0
Castle Doctrine: 4
Miscellaneous: 2
TOTAL: 10

Hawaii is technically a May-Issue CCW state, but good luck trying to get one. A state permit to purchase is required to buy a handgun—some of which are prohibited. There are restrictions on assault weapons and any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds, and no Class 3/NFA weapons are allowed. The state has a Castle Doctrine law, but retreat is required outside the home. Hawaii has the lowest percentage of gun owners—6.7 percent—of all the states.

45. Connecticut

CCW/Open Carry: 6
MSRs: 2
Class 3/NFA: 2
Castle Doctrine: 7
Miscellaneous: 3
TOTAL: 20

While officially a May-Issue CCW state, Connecticut is a Shall-Issue state in practice—with a lot of requirements. An eligibility certificate is required to purchase a pistol. There are a number of restrictions on MSRs based on features—MSRs may be possessed provided they were purchased before Oct. 1, 1993, and the owner received a certificate of possession from the Connecticut State Police before July 1994, according to the NRA-ILA. As far as machine guns are concerned, the NRA writes, “It is lawful to possess a machine gun in compliance with federal law, provided annual registration takes place with the state police.” The state has a Castle Doctrine law that applies to residences. Connecticut is one of only a few states that has a law allowing for seizure of your weapons if the police just think you’re a danger to yourself or others, and may keep the gun for up to a year. There are also plenty of laws circulating in local and state legislatures about guns due to the Sandy Hook shooting.

44. Illinois

CCW/Open Carry: 0
MSRs: 8
Class 3/NFA: 2
Castle Doctrine: 9
Miscellaneous: 2
TOTAL: 21

As bad a reputation Illinois gets from gun owners—mostly due to Chicago—there are a lot of states that are worse. A FOID (Firearm Owner Identification) card is required to buy and/or own a gun. MSRs and standard capacity magazines are legal as long as you’re not in Chicago or Cook County. As far as Class 3/NFA weapons are concerned, AOWs are allowed, and as of Jan. 1, 2013, short-barreled rifles are allowed with a Curio and Relic (C&R) FFL. Illinois is currently the only state in the Union with no provision for concealed carry, though a recent court decision could change that this summer. Illinois has a Castle Doctrine with specific laws that prevent lawsuits being filed against a defender of dwelling, and no requirement for retreat.

43. Maryland

CCW/Open Carry: 4
MSRs: 3
Class 3/NFA: 8
Castle Doctrine: 5
Miscellaneous: 1
TOTAL: 21

Maryland is a May-Issue CCW state and has banned certain “assault pistols.” Magazines that hold more than 20 rounds can’t be manufactured or sold, but they can be possessed. Only handguns on the official register can be sold in the state, residents can only buy one gun a month, and Prince George County just banned gun shows. The state has a Castle Doctrine law, but invitees or guests may have a duty to retreat.

42. Rhode Island

CCW/Open Carry: 3
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 0
Castle Doctrine: 6
Miscellaneous: 3
TOTAL: 22

Rhode Island is (in effect) a May-Issue CCW state, but most jurisdictions won’t issue them without a specific “need.” All buyers must first pass a state safety exam. Rhode Island’s Castle Doctrine is limited to the inside of a dwelling or a chicken coop, with no duty to retreat. NFA weapons not allowed, but there are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. In addition, 12.8 percent of residents are gun owners, placing Rhode Island 47th in the nation in gun ownership.

41. Delaware

CCW/Open Carry: 5
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 1
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 34

Delaware is a May-Issue CCW state, but open carry is generally legal. Civilian ownership of Class 3 weapons allowed for “research purposes” only; otherwise, it’s a felony. Delaware has no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. There are no restrictions on defense of home, self, etc.

40. Washington

CCW/Open Carry: 6
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 3
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 5
TOTAL: 34

Washington is a Shall-Issue CCW state, with a long list of places where possession or storage of ammunition and firearms is prohibited. According to the NRA-ILA, “A person shall not carry or place a loaded pistol in any vehicle unless he has a license to carry a concealed weapon and the pistol is on his person, or the person with the concealed carrying license is within the vehicle at all times that the pistol is there, or the person with the concealed carrying license is away from the vehicle and the pistol is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle.”

Washington has CCW reciprocity with 12 states, but only recognizes Class 1 permits from North Dakota. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. For Class 3 weapons, suppressors are legal, and machine guns are allowed for anyone who possesses a National Firearms Tax Stamp and who produce, manufacture or test machine guns. A restrictive MSR bill was recently introduced into the state legislature, but then withdrawn after complaints—it allowed for police searches of homes to verify compliance. In addition, 33.1 percent of residents are gun owners.

39. Minnesota

CCW/Open Carry: 6
MSRs: 7
Class 3/NFA: 3
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous:10
TOTAL: 34

Minnesota is a Shall-Issue CCW state, and a permit is required for carry. A permit is also required to purchase handguns or MSRs, but there are no magazine capacity restrictions. According to the NRA-ILA, “A person owning or possessing a machine gun or short-barreled shotgun shall, within ten (10) days after acquiring ownership or possession, file a written report with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension showing his name, address, official title and position, if any, a full description of the arm, the purpose for which it is owned or possessed, and such further information as the Bureau may reasonably require.”

Statewide, 41.7 percent of the population owns guns, ranking Minnesota 21st in gun ownership.

38. Iowa

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 0
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 35

Iowa is a Shall-Issue CCW state that allows concealed carry with a permit, for which training is required. Residents need a permit to purchase a pistol. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity, but no NFA guns are allowed. The state boasts strong self-defense laws, with no duty to retreat in your home or business plus immunity from civil prosecution. Iowa ranks 16th in the nation in terms of ownership; 43 percent of residents are gun owners.

37. Colorado

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 9
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 6
Miscellaneous: 5
TOTAL: 38

Colorado is a Shall-Issue CCW state. There is a bill in the Colorado legislature to limit magazines to 15 rounds—among other things—so Magpul may be looking for a new home. Denver has an assault weapons law, but otherwise citizens are unfettered. They have a Castle Doctrine law, allowing defense of home. In addition, 35 percent of residents are gun owners, placing Colorado 33rd in the nation.

36. New Mexico

CCW/Open Carry: 5
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 5
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 39

While it is a Shall-Issue state, New Mexico requires completion of a 15-hour course and other strict licensing requirements before you can get a CCW. MSRs and Class 3 weapons that have been legally registered are legal. In regards to self-defense, the law is weak, with no protection from lawsuits.

35. Ohio

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 7
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 7
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 40

Ohio is a Shall-Issue CCW state that requires 12 hours of training before a CCW can be obtained. Open carry is legal except in a vehicle. Ohio has reciprocity with at least 23 other states. There are no other restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. Ohio’s Castle Doctrine law extends to vehicles of self and immediate family.

34. Nebraska

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 5
Miscellaneous: 8
TOTAL: 40

A Shall-Issue CCW state, Nebraska requires a permit to purchase a handgun. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity, but they have very weak law regarding self-defense in the home. Nebraska places 28th in the nation with 38.6 percent of residents listed as gun owners.

33. Michigan

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 6
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 7
TOTAL: 40

Michigan is a Shall-Issue CCW state, and open carry is legal without a permit. As of December 2012, the state no longer requires a permit to purchase a handgun, according to the NRA-ILA. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. Machine guns and suppressors are (newly) legal, but short-barreled rifles are not.

32. Idaho

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 2
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 40

A Shall-Issue CCW state that recognizes CCWs from all other states—except Illinois, which does not issue. In Idaho, shootings may be justified if defending your home against “tumultuous entry,” and whether or not you have a duty to retreat is vague. Idaho has no restrictions on MSRs or mag capacity.

31. Arkansas

CCW/Open Carry: 6
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 5
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 41

While generally pro-gun and a Shall-Issue CCW state, open carry is not allowed. As far as self-defense/Castle Doctrine, the defender may have to retreat in some situations. The state has no restrictions on mag capacity or types of guns that are legal.

30. Oklahoma

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 4
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 41

Oklahoma is a Shall-Issue CCW state with training requirements. The state has reciprocity with just about every state that issues CCWs. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. According to the NRA-ILA, “It is unlawful to possess, purchase, or sell a machine gun, except in compliance with all federal laws and regulations. It is unlawful to possess a sawed-off shotgun or rifle without a federal license.”

Oklahoma has a Stand Your Ground law. In addition, 43 percent of the population owns guns, placing Oklahoma 16th in the nation.

29. Maine

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 5
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 42

Maine is a Shall-Issue CCW state, and open carry is permitted in a vehicle only with a license. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. However, there are a lot of legal restrictions on the use of force inside one’s home, and the law is vague as to whether you have a duty to retreat. With 40.5 percent of the population in possession of firearms, Maine ranks 24th in gun ownership.

28. Oregon

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 7
TOTAL: 42

Oregon is a Shall-Issue CCW state with very few restrictions on where guns can be carried, but with no reciprocity. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. In addition, 40 percent of residents are gun owners, placing Oregon 26th in the nation in gun ownership.

27. South Dakota

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 4
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 42

South Dakota is a Shall-Issue state with very few restrictions. South Dakota recognizes valid CCWs from every state. Laws have been passed ensuring firearms makers, distributors and sellers are not liable for any injury caused by the use of firearms. The state have no specific Castle Doctrine. In addition, 56.6 percent of residents are gun owners, placing South Dakota fourth in the nation.

26. North Dakota

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 8
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 43

North Dakota is a Shall-Issue CCW state with some minor restrictions. Open carry is legal only with a CCW. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. NFA firearms must be registered with the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation. North Dakota has laws in place protecting firearms manufacturers from suits in which an injury was suffered, unless there was a defect. 50.7 percent of residents are gun owners, ranking North Dakota 10th in the nation.

25. Wisconsin

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 8
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 7
TOTAL: 44

In Wisconsin, there is a 48-hour waiting period on handgun purchases. As of 2011, the state has concealed carry with no duty to inform, but no carry on some city buses. Machine guns are not legal to own. The NRA-ILA describes the legality of short-barreled rifles and suppressors as “a state of flux and clarification,” adding legislators are seeking reform. Wisconsin has a Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law with immunity from prosecution. Gov. Scott Walker has been fighting an uphill battle for gun rights in the state for the last few years.

24. Virginia

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 8
Class 3/NFA: 8
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 44

A Shall-Issue CCW state, Virginia has reciprocity or agreements to honor CCWs of 27 states. There is no requirement to notify law enforcement you’re carrying, and open carry is generally legal. Semi-automatic shotguns with folding stocks and 12-round magazines are prohibited, but there are no other restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. NFA firearms must be registered with the State Police.

23. Tennessee

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 7
TOTAL: 44

Tennessee is a Shall-Issue CCW state with a number of restrictions on where you can’t carry. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. Residents have no duty to retreat before using deadly force—as long as they’re acting lawfully and allowed to be where they are. Some cities with existing laws can preempt state law.

22. Nevada

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 44

Nevada is a Shall-Issue CCW state, and requirements for CCW include shooting (qualifying). It has CCW reciprocity with 15 states, and open carry is generally legal. Nevada has laws protecting the confidentiality of CCW holders’ info, and there are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity.

21. West Virginia

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 45

A Shall-Issue CCW state, West Virginia requires no permit to purchase, and private sales are legal. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. West Virginia’s Castle Doctrine law was enacted in 2008. In addition, 55 percent of residents are gun owners, placing West Virginia fifth in the nation in gun ownership.

20. Pennsylvania

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 45

Pennsylvania is a Shall-Issue state for LTF (License to Carry) firearms, which is also available for non-residents. Pennsylvania has CCW reciprocity with 27 states, and there are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. In addition, 34.7 percent of residents are gun owners, placing Pennsylvania 33rd in the nation in gun ownership.

19. North Carolina

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 9
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 45

North Carolina is a Shall-Issue CCW state. A state permit or CCW is required to purchase a handgun. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. North Carolina’s Castle Doctrine includes dwelling, workplace and vehicle.

18. Mississippi

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 45

Mississippi is a Shall-Issue state CCW state. The state has no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. About 55 percent of the population owns guns, ranking Mississippi sixth in the nation in gun ownership.

17. Louisiana

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 8
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 45

Louisiana is a Shall-Issue state for CCWs, and open carry is generally permitted. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacities. Residents have to get an NFA trust to obtain Class 3 weapons. Louisiana also has a Stand Your Ground law, and with 44 percent of the population in possession of firearms, the state ranks 13th in the nation in gun ownership.

16. Indiana

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 45

Indiana is a Shall-Issue CCW state. Class 3 weapons are legal in accordance with federal regulations, and there are no restrictions on MSRs or magazines. Indiana has a Castle Doctrine law with no duty to retreat, but it only covers private property. In terms of ownership, 39 percent of Indiana residents are gun owners, placing the state 27th in the nation.

15. Texas

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 9
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 45

A Shall-Issue CCW state, Texas recognizes permits from 41 states. No open carry is allowed. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. Texas has a Stand Your Ground law for vehicles or workplaces with no duty to retreat, and immunity from civil lawsuits. Texas is known as a very pro-gun state, but only ranked 30th in the nation with gun owners making up 36 percent of the population.

14. South Carolina

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 46

South Carolina is a Shall-Issue CCW state. South Carolina has no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. The state’s Stand Your Ground law was recently enacted. In addition, 42 percent of residents are gun owners, ranking South Carolina 18th in the nation.

13. Georgia

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 46

Georgia is a Shall-Issue CCW state, and allows concealed or open carry with a permit on your person or in your car. Georgia has a Stand Your Ground law. 40.3 percent of residents own guns, placing Georgia 25th in terms of gun ownership.

12. Florida

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 46

Florida is a Shall-Issue CCW state and leader of the modern CCW movement; no disclosure to LE required. No open carry is allowed except when hunting/fishing. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. Florida has a Stand Your Ground law made famous in the Trayvon Martin case. Only 25 percent of Florida residents are gun owners.

11. Montana

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 8
TOTAL: 46

Montana is a Shall-Issue CCW state and recognizes CCWs from most other states. Open carry is legal. Montana has a Stand Your Ground law. In 2009, Montana lawmakers signed the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which says that certain firearms and accessories made and sold within Montana are exempt from federal regulations, as they cannot be called interstate commerce. Montana has the third highest percentage of gun owners—57 percent—of any state in the Union.

10. New Hampshire

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 9
TOTAL: 47

New Hampshire is a Shall-Issue CCW state. Open carry is legal without a permit—except in a vehicle—and the state has a new Stand Your Ground law, which was enacted in 2011. State legislators have spoken out against the president’s anti-gun proposals. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. New Hampshire ranks 39th in the nation in gun ownership with 30 percent of the population listed as gun owners.

9. Missouri

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 47

Missouri is a Shall-Issue CCW state. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. Missouri has no specific Stand Your Ground law, but the right of self-defense extends pretty much to all buildings and cars—even tents—and there is immunity from civil suits. A new bill was just introduced in the Missouri state legislature that would send lawmakers who introduce anti-gun legislation to prison, a week after a group of Democrats from St. Louis introduced an Assault Weapons Ban—which will get nowhere in the Republican-controlled state house.

8. Kansas

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 9
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 47

Kansas enacted a Shall-Issue CCW law just a few years ago. Open carry is legal. The state’s Castle Doctrine covers defense of home, business or occupied vehicle. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity.

7. Alabama

CCW/Open Carry: 7
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 47

Alabama is not officially a Shall-Issue CCW state, but citizens are rarely turned down. Open carry is legal with some exceptions. There are no restrictions on MSRs or standard capacity magazines. Alabama has a Stand Your Ground law with no duty to retreat.

6. Wyoming

CCW/Open Carry: 10
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 7
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 47

Wyoming residents can carry concealed or open, and Wyoming recognizes CCWs from 33 states. The state has Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws for inside the home, but the law does not excuse you from a duty to retreat outside the home. Wyoming has the highest percentage of gun owners per capita—60 percent—of any state.

5. Kentucky

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 48

Kentucky is a Shall-Issue CCW state with no permit needed for open carry, and its CCW law covers all deadly weapons—not just handguns. Kentucky has a Stand Your Ground law with no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity.

4. Utah

CCW/Open Carry: 8
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 48

Utah is very quietly a very pro-gun state. It is a Shall-Issue CCW state. Utah honors all CCW permits except Vermont, and you can get a non-resident CCW. Utah CCWs are recognized in 34 states. Utah is also a Stand Your Ground state with no restriction on location. Private sales are legal. In addition, 44 percent of residents are gun owners, placing Utah 14th in the nation in gun ownership.

3. Alaska

CCW/Open Carry: 10
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 8
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 48

Alaska is one of only a handful of states that do not require a permit to carry a handgun concealed. It has the second highest percentage of gun owners per capita—58 percent—of any state in the Union, and has no other restrictions on gun owners or ownership. Alaska has no specific Castle Doctrine law, which is the only reason it didn’t score a perfect 50.

2. Vermont

CCW/Open Carry: 10
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 9
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 49

Residents or visitors may carry open or concealed without a permit—the Vermont Constitution predates the U.S. Bill of Rights. There are no restrictions on MSRs or magazine capacity. Vermont has no specific laws about Castle Doctrine, which is the only reason Vermont didn’t score a perfect 50.

1. Arizona

CCW/Open Carry: 9
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 10
TOTAL: 49

Arizona is the most recent “Constitutional Carry” state where no permit is required to carry a pistol openly or concealed. Anyone carrying concealed does NOT have to inform law enforcement unless that request comes during a “lawful traffic or criminal investigation, arrest or detention or an investigatory stop by a law enforcement officer,” and the State has no restrictions on MSRs or Class 3/NFA weapon ownership beyond the federal laws. Arizona has a Stand Your Ground law.

  • Drewbie84

    Little known Ohio law: ownership of high-capacity(30+ rounds) magazines is legal, as is ownership of guns that use them, but if you insert a high-capacity magazine into a firearm, you’re breaking the law.

    • Eddy

      Well said. Once a magazine capable of holding more than 30 rounds is inserted into the firearm, it becomes an “automatic weapon” under the Ohio Revised Code. Further complicating things is that the same statutes defer to Federal Law when it comes to anything defined as an “Automatic Weapon,” but as we all know, the ATF doesn’t regulate magazine size. So when it is all said and done, you are left in legal limbo! Furthermore, I would have to contest Ohio’s ranking as far as NFA weapons goes. In Franklin county (where our capital is located), from my experience the sheriff will not sign off on your ATF Form 1. Ohio law may allow for Class 3/NFA ownership, but that doesn’t mean you will actually get to exercise that right as the law does not require the Sheriff to sign off on the form.

  • http://twitter.com/jzgeorge Scotty Collins

    It is amazing at how free our country still is. This had to be a tough list to make. Mississippi feels pretty wide open to me and I bet there is an even greater ownership of guns than the 55% indicates. Nobody is really trying to gather statistics on Mississippians. That’s fine by me.

    A lot of negative ideas are out there about Mississippi – some of them are even true – but having a government that doesn’t try to do a heck of a lot, and accomplishes even less than it tries to do, is the definition of personal freedom.

    • Robert177

      Free? Still? Holy Moley, you must be young. I’m 55 and I had a TON of freedom with guns in the SoCal area back in the 1970′s. I could walk down the street of most San Diego suburbs back then with a rifle and nobody would blink. Now, just saying the WORD “gun” here is enough to cause a panic. The state and culture have been destroyed by whiny, weak, fearful, insipid, liberals. People who would not survive 5 minutes if there was a real emergency. It is sick.

  • Steve

    Unless we are relying on some criteria of which I’m unaware, Castle Doctrine is covered in South Dakota by SDCL 22-16-34 “Justifiable homicide–Resisting attempted murder–Resisting felony on person or in dwelling house” and 22-16-35 “Justifiable homicide–Defense of person–Defense of other persons in household”. http://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/DisplayStatute.aspx?Statute=22-16

    These should pull SD out of the “has no specific Castle Doctrine laws” category which, by the way, seems to score all over the board from 9 (VT) to 4 (SD).

  • justinc

    Why did Arizona only get a 9 on carry? It’s the same as Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont. No permit required for any carry.

    • Rancherinaz

      That’s the same thing I would ask . It seems a flawed ranking by its own admission .

  • Pat De ESposito

    New Jersey sucks! If you listen carefully, you can hear it sucking!

  • Robert177

    Arizona seems like a
    dream come true. So I got to ask: what is the chance of Arizona being WRECKED
    by liberals the same way Colorado was? And, what are you Arizonans proactively
    doing to prevent your state from becoming infected by the California liberal virus?
    My advice to Arizona: Never ever take your great gun laws for granted. Be on
    the lookout each and every month—forever–for the creeping signs of
    California Virus. It is sitting there, on your border, just looking for the
    right time to infect and destroy. Be ever vigilant.

    • JJ Wolf

      You’re absolutely right…California buses people in for protests and the group People for a better Arizona is lead by a California import…Unfortunately we are also under the ninth district court a very liberal court who shoots down a lot of conservative agenda. I’ve suggested a fence between California and Arizona…but then there’s Nevada also a liberal stronghold. The Obama Admin just hamstrong Joe Arpaio who is only following our laws. So we keep trying and will continue to be vigilant and vote in people in our State who will stand up for us. Short of that as a friends said “they’ll have to pry my gun out of my cold, dead hand”.

  • Eric Blondieau

    Preserve your rights,the acceptation of restrictions call more restrictions.
    I’m belgian, i’m firearms collector and your rights protect is also a protection for my rights. this’s impossible of course to export my collection for live in arizona near of Flagstaff by exemple but is a dream.

  • Larry Viskew

    You guys as other sites are wrong in regards to MG’s in Wi. We are allowed NFA weapons including full autos, with a tax stamp and a CLEO or NFA Trust. How do I know? My range has them there regularly at shoots, with guys with stamps. We’re much higher than 25 on the list. Heck we outrank Texas regarding Open Carry. The one bad thing we have right now is the 48hr waiting period on handguns. The state, it’s Legislator, Governor, and Attorney General are all pro gun.

    • cowboy

      Actually you’re not allowed machine guns in WI per the state statutes, however they are allowed by some exceptions to the statute only and others are overlooked such as the pistol caliber prohibition . Your attorney general recently revised the interpretation so that you need a CLEO sig with a trust or corp. He is anti gun and fought the CCW implementation every step of the way.. Open carry was never inteded to be allowed, they just missed it when originally banning CC and generally arrest people open carrying.

  • Mike

    It looks to me as if this article is filled with personal prejudices and predisposed opinions.
    Last time I looked, Texas’ has a Castle Doctrine that applies to “any place a person has a legal right to be”. Not just homes, cars and businesses.
    Nice try guys, better luck next time.

  • Model12

    For each of the five criteria, did you weight any of them more than others? Just trying to figure out how you chose the order of states where the overall score was a tie.

  • RhetoricalQuestion

    Anyone else notice that Iowa and Oklahoma are both ranked 16th in gun ownership? Surely there’s a decimal point in the 43% ownership figure that could distinguish the two.

  • RhetoricalQuestion

    To correct G&A, saying that no open carry is allowed in Texas is misleading. Open carry of handguns is not allowed, but the law does not restrict open carry of long guns. We’re currently advocating handgun open carry as a choice in addition to CCW (CHL).

    Also, SC passed their open carry legislation this year (2013). The entry didn’t specify about open carry so I’m giving that for the record.

  • Oscar

    your method of evaluation so haplessly relies on lower 48 “regulation compliance, reporting reliance” it typifies the dependent citizen mindset you ALL have which has created the mess you all wallow in. Wherever you obtained the “factoid” that Alaska”has the second highest percentage of gun owners per capita—58 percent—” Whatever “authority” you obediently accepted as “gospel” CLEARLY HAS NO CLUE! Why would any Alaskan “report” to Authority if and how many guns they own and can operate?
    Further, we don’t NEED a stupid “Castle” rule, Just as we don’t Need to Legalize Marijuana! Growing and consuming your own on private property has been legal here for ever! Can’t consume in public or on federal property and can’t SELL or Barter! Can give your homegrown to others but SALES are off the ranch. And here are all you lower 48ers being suckered into Legalizing Sales so Government can obtain More TAXES! To feed more civil servants to promulgate more regulations to enforce!
    Your inherent laziness and Greed are clearly the cause of the messes you whine about….
    There is a little homily here, which comes from the village: It goes like this:
    “When people look more and more to their comforts,,, they look less and less to their lives…
    Before Too much time passes, they’ll Likely Lose Both!

  • TexasTerry

    The entry for Wisconsin has a math error. It claims a total of 44, but the numbers shown equal 42. You might want to check those totals for 2014.

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