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Best States for Gun Owners 2014

by G&A Staff   |  May 22nd, 2014 204

GA-best-gun-states-bannerCivilian firearm ownership is among the most defining aspects of American culture. The freedoms we cherish in the United States simply wouldn’t exist without the right to bear arms, and the preservation of liberty thrives on grassroots gun owners.

Unfortunately, the rights of civilians to arm and legally defend themselves are constantly at risk.

Gun laws in the U.S. vary extensively across the map, but geography is not always an accurate predictor of a state’s freedom index. Many states in the South and West have taken steps to expand the rights of their citizens during recent legislative sessions. In places like Arizona, Georgia and Kentucky, gun ownership is encouraged and shooting sports are widely popular. In other locations, gun ownership is condemned, heavily regulated and residents have few opportunities to experience the sporting aspects of firearms. States like California, Connecticut and New York have repeatedly illustrated their disregard for individual rights through legislation that restricts the ability of its citizens to purchase and possess firearms.

To examine which states are culturally accepted as the most firearm-friendly territories, G&A interviewed a variety of gun owners at the 2014 NRA Show. Find out where gun owners feel most welcome in the video below, then continue reading to see where your state ranks this year.

Drawing from trusted sources and numerous examples of state-specific legislation and case law, we took a fresh look at the gun laws of every state in America to put things into perspective for 2014.

States were ranked numerically in each of these five categories:

  • Right-to-Carry: Each state was evaluated on whether it allows individuals to carry handguns, concealed or openly, with or without permits. If permits are issued, we evaluated whether they are issued on a “may issue” or “shall issue” basis and how readily ordinary citizens obtain them. Close attention was paid to how restrictive state laws were in prohibiting carry in places like restaurants, banks, parks and the like. In states where open carry is legal, we evaluated whether that right is prevented by municipal ordinances. A “perfect 10” included states like Arizona and Wyoming which allow permitless carry but also “shall-issue” permits to allow residents to carry in reciprocal states. Scores trended downward from there based on the factors listed previously.
  • Modern Sporting Rifles: We evaluated the types of restrictions states and their respective municipalities place on semi-automatic firearms not regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). These restrictions include limits on magazine capacity as well as banning or requiring registration based on cosmetic features such as bayonet lugs, pistol grips and folding buttstocks.
  • NFA: Machine guns, suppressors (“silencers” according to the NFA), short barreled rifles (SBRs) and shotguns (SBSs), Any Other Weapons (AOWs), and Destructive Devices (DDs) can only be purchased and owned in accordance with NFA laws. States can and do restrict these items in a complicated patchwork of laws across the nation. We examined which states restrict the ownership of NFA items and which do not. States that do not restrict ownership and compel Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs) to sign licensing documents were given top marks.
  • Castle Doctrine: English common law established that a man’s home is his castle and he has a right to defend it. Laws that regulate the use of force to prevent death, serious bodily injury, or forcible crimes vary significantly from state to state. We examined the statutes and case law in each state and ranked them accordingly. States that allowed the use of force, including deadly force, in defense of life were given the highest score if the right applied anywhere someone has a right to be. States that impose a duty to retreat before using force were ranked accordingly, and jurisdictions that severely restrict a citizen’s ability to use a firearm in self-defense were given the lowest scores.
  • Miscellaneous: This category included a variety of substantive issues such as state constitutional provisions, state firearm law preemption, purchase/registration requirements, percentage of gun ownership, shooting range protection statues, availability of ranges, and access to the shooting sports. States with a healthy firearms industry presence were noted, as were the attitudes of citizens toward the shooting sports and established shooting ranges.

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*Editor’s note: State-specific gun laws are a complicated, frustrating and fluid subject. We have consulted sources such as the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and state and law enforcement agencies to compile these rankings. Some states are very hazy on certain statutes, so our data reflects those confusions with general statements based on our understanding of the law. All information is current as of May 21, 2014.

  • Josh McNattin

    I think it’s important to point out that Ohio is the only state that reverses the burden of proof on a person claiming self-defense in a shooting, which I find chilling. I won’t be visiting if it isn’t absolutely critical. See Andrew Branca’s Law of Self Defense for lots of other crucial info on the topic.

  • Molan Labe

    Gotta disagree with this a bit. Missouri should be higher on the list. If you carry in a place you are not supposed to and have a concealed carry license it is not a crime. Only thing they can ask to you to is leave. If you refuse you can be fined $100. Try doing that in most other states and you get charged with a crime.

    • JWyeth

      I agree Missouri its an open carry state plus we no longer have to put our ccw on our DL, I always CC but on occasion I open carry my hand gun and nobody bats an eye it does not get any better than that

    • Dan Paul

      I agree, If Missouri is #11, that’s a great sign for the top 10.
      MO, is VERY pro 2nd Amendment.

  • Mike

    I love Florida! But, every state is an election away from losing their rights; if democrats are elected. They are a scourge…

    • ARMY1971

      Yea I was there this winter and moving there this fall, can’t believe the people are actually thinking of electing a Dumbocrat Gov. All they need to do is spend some time in this crime ridden, no growth, teacher union dominated, tax hell NY to see what Dumbocrat rule will do to you.

      • Kendall Carlile

        Yeah, the last thing we need is Libretards in Florida State leadership.

    • Mark Beckerini

      That’s truer than you realize! Just look at what happened to Colorado…

    • Southrider

      We need to find a way to prosecute the northerners who continue to vote on 2 states. Any ideas? (No way the politicians in New York will offer the info)

    • Phil Evans

      Florida is nice, but Florida prohibits open carry of pistols in general even by those who have a weapons license. In hot weather, concealing a full-sized pistol under extra clothes or stuffed into my already full waistband would not be my preferred manner of carry. Thankfully, in Georgia we have the freedom to carry as we like.

  • AmericanIcon

    Still Number One! Go, Arizona!

    • FredC1968

      Damn Skippy! Even Tucson south of River Rd is mostly firearms friendly.

  • Al Dunaway

    Yep, Arizona #1again.

    • Jeremy Hatfield

      Well-deserved, too. Even if you guys were a little late getting on board with Constitutional Carry. ;) (AK resident here)

      • Al Dunaway

        Like you, we also got a 0 from the Brady bunch, working on how to get into negative numbers next time.

  • Stephen

    For CT possession of an unregistered 11+ round mag is only a ticket the first time but it does jump to a felony for the second offence. Suppressors are also legal. CT still doesn’t deserve to be ranked higher.

  • John Wood

    California gets no credit for being a “stand-your-ground” state?

    • Ban Liberals

      Stand your ground with WHAT? Paper clips?

      • John Wood

        You mean paper MAGAZINES.

    • Ban Liberals

      Stand your ground with WHAT? Paper clips?

    • Avian Flu

      i suppose CA could get credit for that, but i think you’d have to challenge someone with a sword, or a lance on horseback because apparently guns are evil and just by owning one in CA you’re assumed to be some kind of criminal.

  • Grits.N.Jowls

    I am envious of AZ; Georgia should be ranked higher because in addition to HB60 Governor Deal also signed HB 826 which authorizes licensed gun owners to carry in public school zones.

    • Charles_C

      Georgia isn’t an open carry state.

      • Grits.N.Jowls

        Well that’s news to those of us here who do it.

        • Charles_C

          Do you need a permit to open carry?

          • Grits.N.Jowls

            Right now we do but after 1 July it will be illegal for the cops to ask us if we have one. So everybody gets an open carry pass by default soon.

          • Charles_C

            Right now, that list also deals with right now.

          • Grits.N.Jowls

            Right now, the cops don’t bother us and I’ve never been confronted by one asking to see my GA weapons license even though I sometimes carry two guns on both hips in public, specifically in local malls.

          • Charles_C

            I’ve never had a cop to confront me about carrying. They ask me what I’m carrying, and I tell them and we chit chat a bit. Weather, where the cheapest ammo and who has it.

          • Jeff Tallant

            Grits your wrong kind of open carry has been legal since 1773 but in 1903 the license was requier to keep blacks from carrying..The hb 60 stops cops from police harassment on GWL holders

      • Jeff Tallant

        Your wrong Georgia is a Open Carry state one of our local proved it by carrying in a county park openly.

        • donedwards

          Georgia has NOT been an open carry state without a license since 1906. State laws take precedent (preempt) over county laws. Counties and cities could not restrict carry in parks even prior to HB60.

      • Phil Evans

        GA is not an unlicensed open carry state with regard to pistols, but with a GWCL you can carry a pistol openly or concealed. Long guns may be open carried without a license.

  • plectocomia

    I moved from California to Georgia last year and feel I won the jackpot!

    • jy kelly

      I moved from CALI, to Arizona,last year… That was after 60 years of living there.. Talk about hitting to jackpot…. NOW, if we could just vote out John McCain I’d really be happy….

      • Tim Wilkins

        Hell no you can not have my guns!!



      • NameNotGiven

        This listing is not very sober or informed.

        DC is 51st? Really? It is harder and more time consuming to get a gun in Maryland, NJ and NY than DC. I know I have lived in NJ and DC and have friends in Maryland.

        As far as concealed carry permits, is Marylands “shall issue” which is in fact “will not issue except to retired LEO” different than DC “no issue?”

        Really would you rather have a jurisdiction tell you the special people can carry.

        In DC I can buy any handgun legal in Maryland, and way more are legal in DC than are legal in California or Mass. It takes less time to have in your hands.

        yes, like a huge number of states “assault rifles” are illegal in DC, but you can in fact buy a mini-14, ares scr when it comes online, and any number of semi auto shotguns.

        I am not supporting DC’s laws or any of the bogus gun control anywhere. These all scapegoat and distract from the real causes of violence, but it is an objective falsehood to rank it below Maryland, NJ, NY, Mass or California

        • benanov

          MD is may issue.

          • NameNotGiven

            May issue when you don’t issue is worse than forbidding it.

        • ronin

          Technically D.C. is not a state but our capital

          • NameNotGiven

            it is on the list of states here

        • ChristCrusader

          At least MD allows long guns in the vehicle away from home.
          DC will lock someone up just for unregistered spent casings in the vehicle!

          • NameNotGiven

            1) I can take my DC legal Mini 14 in my vehicle, it just has to be locked in trunk or container and unloaded. I drive it to the range in Va twice a month.
            2) several of the states on this list define ammunition as any reloadable consistent part. A spent casing is not illegal in my vehicle. If I have a 45 cal casing in my car it is fine as I have a valid 9mm handgun registration.
            And DC had one prosecution on a constituent ammo parts. The guy, who had no guns registered in DC was found to have a box of brand new unfired 40 cal, and muzzle loader semi jacketed hollow point with plastic sabot in his home. The warrant on the 40 cal was challenged so he was only prosecuted successfully on the muzzloader round. But as everyone knows frequently when the larger offense is knocked out on a technical evidentiary exclusion a minor offense will be prosecuted.
            I am not defending his prosecution, but it is irrelevant to the rest of us. He was in the middle of a contentious divorce and himself an attorney, he had at his DC residence a box of live, modern 40 cal.

    • JayTee

      Congratulations on your escape from Mexifornia. Just pray that jurisdiction doesn’t pull the rest of the nation down the drain with it.

      • Kurt Maske

        Have you spent a summer in Georgia? Make sure you head to the nearest Home Depot for fire ant poison…as they are some nasty little critters. BTW…concealed carry is very easy (little expensive) to get.

        • Phil Evans

          Expensive? It’s only about $80-85 to get a GA Weapons License, and it’s good for 5 years. It’s even cheaper now for renewals thanks to HB 60, as you don’t have to pay again for fingerprinting.

          BTW, the license allows for both open and concealed carry of pistols. :-)

          • John Beach Hubbard

            In Maine it costs $20 to renew a carry permit. No fingerprinting but a photo card is issued.

        • John Beach Hubbard

          The only problem with the southern states is the intense summer heat and humidity. People with money summer in Maine and winter in Florida or other southern climes.

    • Jake Witmer

      better than nothing!

    • ilovega

      I read your post. Please move back to California. Georgia does not want west coast idiots living here. You hit the jackpot and we lost.

      • Shannon M Carithers

        GA was recently also ranked as the top business state in the country and guess what, one of the big reasons is because so many intelligent business owners have moved here from other states and yes, that includes California. Please don’t say “Georgia” does or does not want someone here. Speak for yourself, because you damned sure don’t represent this state.

    • Phil Evans

      Welcome! I bet it feels like you entered the land of the free. :-)

  • J.W. Wernecke

    Apparently you all need to go back and look at Kansas laws. No. 9? How about leading the pack? 1st to draft bills outlawing the federal governments involvement in state. Just passed another that says that local government can not restrict gun rights and that an LEO “Shall Sign” NFA documents……

    • Micah Jakes

      Agreed. The Freestate is getting alot done. Just a few years ago, we were behind all our neighbors. Now even Missourians wish they had our laws.
      Open carry as of July 1st from what I understand. Here in Wyandotte County (Dem controlled) people are predicting armageddon after that date.

  • DK

    We need to ban all assault rifles like the AR-15 and the AK-47 and we need to close all loopholes by requiring universal background checks!

    • Eric

      Troll harder.

    • Jim Kirk

      why dont you come try and take mine DicK

      • DK

        Over your cold dead body if you want azzwipe!

        • gunnyf

          Tough talk from someone using initials and no picture

        • gunnyf

          Tough talk from someone using initials and no picture

        • Sean P Hamilton

          If everyone gave up their weapons, then you will lose your other rights!

          The easy access to incredible firepower is what keeps people like you free and safe.

          Too bad for your group, that you dont understand this. Or anything else of substance.

          There are 300+million people. More than 200million highpowered weapons. Last year there were less than 20k people killed by guns, total.

          The numbers speak for themselves. Guns or any type are rarely used to kill. They are always doing their job, never being fired!

    • Avian Flu

      gun laws to protect ourselves and a ban on “assault rifles”? oh, i see. i think you’re saying you want me to continue being a law abiding citizen and give up my guns so that i can be a victim of the lawless who DO NOT COMPLY WITH THE LAWS? yeah, giving up my guns is going to solve the problem of the criminals. you’re a genius. (that’s sarcasm in case you weren’t aware.)

    • The Major

      I’m glad you recognize that you are mentally and emotionally unfit to own an AR-15. It does take skill, intelligence and responsibility to handle a weapon with safety. Your aversion to them is good as you obviously recognize that you don’t posses these necessary skills. But the great majority of Americans can learn to be proficient with weapons. YOU HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO CURTAIL THEIR GOD GIVEN RIGHTS. Protected by the 2nd amendment.

    • jwyeth

      Bullets first son, that’s how you will get mine

    • CFCP Patriots

      Can you explain to me what you mean by “Universal Background Checks”? …You listen to idiot political talking points too much. It is apparent that you are a typical troll, non gun owner who had never experienced the process of purchasing a firearm. Who don’t you tell us what a “universal Background Check” would do that i not done already?….If Liberals would just stop breeding, we could save this Republic!

    • MrApple

      Background checks did wonders on the California Shooter this Memorial Day weekend. And he used two Sig pistols, a Glock pistol, a knife, and his BMW to kill 6 people and injury 6. Not an EVIL AR or AK in sight and still a nut-job in a firearm restrictive state goes on a rampage with a portion of it in a “Gun Free Zone”. Please respond back I love a good discussion.

    • TexanCountryGirl

      You do realize that more than HALF of mass shooters would easily have passed those background checks???
      Personally, I’d rather be able to protect myself. Especially from your blind ignorance.

    • Ravi32

      lol, discus shows the “upvotes” on DK are himself and three guest ones from himself as well

    • Joe Molinaro


  • JayTee

    We need government to do what it is SUPPOSED to do: Regulate actual criminals and invaders of this homeland–NOT try to micromanage every facet of society, rack up trillions in debt, try to remake other societies on the other side of the planet, turn a blind eye to the invasion of this homeland, erode Constitutional rights, confiscate profits and property from producers and providers, and otherwise become the enemy of a free people. We don’t need more laws–we need fewer laws, less government, more sanity, more solvency, and more decency. The super nanny state should be abandoned and personal responsibility and accountability should be implemented once more. We don’t need corrupt politicians deciding who else is corrupt and who else is deemed eligible to protect oneself, home, and family. The “state” should be an ally of all who have respect and support it, but should be the adversary of every party, position, or person bent on the destruction and limitation of those who have respect and integrity. We have a long way to go.

    • Texas Proud

      We keep hearing ideas like this, which are great, but nobody does it, all talk, talk, talk, just please don’t mess with Texas.

  • sedona2A

    Az all the way Baby!! I’ m suprised we only got 49 points

    • Mancave Heywood

      Yeah, if you don’t mind being gunned down by a bunch of NAZI’S for camping! With porkchops like that running around, one would need to have great gun laws to protect themselves. R.I.P Jose Guerena, one day those PIGS will get what they deserve!

      • Hal Jordan

        That issue has nothing to do with this story.

    • Jason Rile

      Get rid of those pesky no firearms signs and we should be 50

  • Ed Levine

    You think Texas is better than VA? You can’t even Open Carry in Texas!! Most have no idea.

  • watcherofolde

    I know Minnesota is super liberal, but 39th? We have conceal carry and everybody hunts except for the derps who live in the twin cities.

  • john87

    I dont get NH being only 25th! We have no real restrictions. Being judged harshly because some neighboring states heave restricted laws is bull…how about the closest neighbor having essentially no rules either like VT? Being less than Texas…seriously? In Texas you get arrested for open carry…in NH no one even notices. This is an absurd survey that has no real use as a comparison for judging a states gun tolerance.

  • john87

    I dont get NH being only 25th! We have no real restrictions. Being judged harshly because some neighboring states heave restricted laws is bull…how about the closest neighbor having essentially no rules either like VT? Being less than Texas…seriously? In Texas you get arrested for open carry…in NH no one even notices. This is an absurd survey that has no real use as a comparison for judging a states gun tolerance.

  • Adam Badtothe Bohn

    Fortunately, Missouri has passed several bills that will be of major improvement for 2a rights, most notably SB 656 and SJR 36; I’m interested to see how much we will have improved next year.

  • sane

    all this proves is why i want to live in a civilized country.

    • Avian Flu

      i suppose you’re anti-military too? remember that as you celebrate Memorial Day this weekend. people like you should be thanking people like me and every other veteran and active duty member for our service. it’s because of our service that you’re still able to enjoy the rights the US Constitution guarantees. A guarantee that i was willing to give my life for and one which so many others have died for. enjoy your ignorance.

      • CFCP Patriots

        Libtards don’t believe in the Constitution…..except for when they want to spew Anti-Liberty hate speech against those who believe Liberty is the cornerstone of Human existence.

        Funny how they try to force “tolerance” on the rest of the population by practicing “intolerance”

        Thank you for your service and sacrifice!….there are more of us than you and your brothers/sisters in arms know, who can never repay our debt of gratitude to you for protecting our freedoms and liberties. IT IS UP TO US, THE ORDINARY CITIZEN, TO ENSURE THAT YOUR SERVICE ON OUR BEHALF IS NOT FOUGHT IN VAIN!! We must work hard to make you proud of the Republic you protect!

      • cott

        Everyone should be anti-military. Who will come and try to take our rights? Politicians? No. Soldiers following “orders”

    • torr10

      and if you don’t consider the US civilized….bye! Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya….

    • The Major

      That little Obama Logo by your picture tells me all I need to know about your delusional state of mind.

    • MrApple

      Then by all means leave if our Constitutional Rights bother you.

    • Searcher

      You were, till the liberal progressives took over, and look where we are now. Name another country that is “civilized” by your definition. As long as you are just wishing, why don’t you wish everyone was an upper middle class sane person with your value set. And good luck.

    • Joe Molinaro


  • Brad

    TX is actually pretty anti-gun right now. Concealed carry only and it is very expensive. Open carry of a modern handgun is illegal. Only long gun open carry and black powder revolver pre 1899. If OC is passed it’ll be more friendly but right now it isn’t as great as people think.

    • Zabilde

      Amen, until TX changes the law on open carry it belongs much lower, Idaho came in at 30 and should be ranked better than TX.

    • Craig

      CHL is not that expensive in Texas, if you afford an SR-15 then you can easily afford a Texas CHL. There is a a time and place open carry. But openly carrying an AR-15 into the establishment have done more harm to 2A cause.. You don’t need to open carry any hand gun or any other to an establishment. Concealed carry is a better way to go.

      • Hal Jordan

        “You don’t need to open carry any hand gun or any other to an establishment.” Thank you Mayor Bloomberg for informing us which rights we “don’t need” to exercise.

      • TexanCountryGirl

        I agree with you!! The f****** class has been made 4 hours (down from 8-10), and it costs about $40. If that’s not easy as pie then you are living in an alternate universe!!

  • Pistol Packing Peach

    YAY, Georgia got 3rd but when the new laws take effect on July 1st, it should shoot up to 1st.

  • Mark

    I think Kansas should rank towards the top of all the states in the Union.

  • Mark

    I think it is great that Kansas is in the top 10. Now if we can just get some gun manufacturers to move here.

  • StoutCortez

    Maryland should be in the bottom 4. It’s just as bad as New Jersey, and much worse than Connecticut.

  • David Cox

    I thought my home state of Oklahoma would be higher than six. But still in top 10.

    • Michael Adams

      Big improvement over last year, Oklahoma was ranked #30. I think top ten is about right for Oklahoma.

  • soljerblue

    Alabama should rank higher than 12. We’re open carry, shall issue, and our 2A rights have been expanded steadily in the last two legislative sessions. They were good before, but they’re better now. Remington thought we were gun-friendly enough to decide to relocate 2,000 jobs here, and consolidate other functions here that were actually taken from some southern staes. I think we’re doing better than Florida, given their sheriffs’ opposition to carry during ordered evacuations, not to mention the hatchet job done by the prosecution on George Zimmerman..

  • ChristCrusader

    VA allows open carry in bars while consuming alcohol.
    Va allows conceal carry with CHP in bars, but no consumption of alcohol while doing so.
    They also allow private sales and transfers without government involvemement.
    Seems like VA should have been further up the list.
    Many of GA’s new liberties were already in practice in VA.

  • Rob

    Hawaii’s section is not totally accurate. We don’t need to register ammo and the state can’t confiscate in a disaster. Otherr than that….Hawaii still sucks for gun lovers.

  • ARMY1971

    Moving from NY state where the only people that have hand weapons are the police and the peeps in the hood. To Florida, can finally as a Viet Nam Vet, worked and paid taxes for 45 years, never been arrested will be able to own my first hand weapon and carry it concealed.

    • CFCP Patriots

      You must be from New York City?..good for you for getting out of this Sate!!…(I hope to be one of those to leave also in the near future!) However, if you venture to upstate, you will find that obtaining a concealed carry permit is possible (and fairly easy) for…..hand weapons?….I assume you mean handguns….NOW…we need to get the SAFE Act repealed so we can once again enjoy our Semi-Automatic Sporting Rifles!!!…If the voters in Upstate could come to the realization that New York City CAN be defeated at the polls, Then the STATE of New York might have a chance! I have had my Concealed Carry Permit for 25 years in Upstate…..I can carry in any County in the State except NYC…unfortunately it’s just a piece of paper there….If Voters in the City would stop electing Communists, they might be able their lives according to the Constitution.

  • Raconteur Duck

    Virginia is ranked behind NC & SC?? BS flag on that one. Try open carry in those two states and you’ll be face down. They are getting better but no where near VA.

    • Corndog

      I open carry all over North Carolina and have never been hassled by police.

      • Raconteur Duck

        My mistake and apologies. But NC is still not as open as VA. With permits to buy a pistol and the limits of where of you can carry in NC, VA is still better. Between the GRNC and VCDL, both states have come a long way in restoring our citizens rights of armed self defense. You are a member of GRNC, yes??

        • MrApple

          I am.

  • Johnny Revenant

    Texas up from 15 last year to 14 this year.

  • Avatar

    I am from CT, and there are some faults in your facts. Unregistered “MSAs” are a felony; Mags however are a misdemeanor for the first offense. Also, suppressors are legal; the issue lies in obtaining a threaded barrel on a pistol or “assault rifle” unless you had it prior to the law. They are totally legal on say, a bolt-action of any caliber; for the time being…

  • Zed

    1/4 of the state of Arizona is Indian land. Try taking your guns there and get back to me when you get out of jail.

    • bedizzle

      Depends on the rez. Most you can buy hunting permits on. Pull your head outta your assistance before you flap your gums next time.

      • justsayin’

        bedazzle, you must be a hellofa tall drink of water to be able to CC a Remington 700. Zed and the rest of us are talking about handguns.

        • Uuuuussjs

          I have my handgun on the res all the time. I work on the res and take to the range they have here to shoot, with the res cops doing there qualms and they don’t care.

  • Christa Corey

    I live in Vermont and the gun laws are not restrictive, anything but a silencer. But they are being discussed so they may be legal soon. Concealed carry is legal also.

  • Steve

    This ranking is a joke. Maine has some of the least gun control laws in the nation and we ranked thirty-two? Do some actual research next time, guys, instead of just randomly throwing numbered darts at a state map. We have virtually every pro-gun law listed in the article, more than some of the states that were listed higher than us. Total incompetence here.

    • Lobotomite


  • jknollwood

    I moved from The Peoples Republic of California to Texas last year, best thing I’ve ever done.

  • Ariel Weber

    Why did Colorado score so poorly on the MSR category?

  • johnsxj

    G&A needs to do a bit more research! I’ll agree that MA isn’t the most firearms friendly state but some of your information is flat out wrong. Yes you need a firearms license. Shall issue for “low capacity” longarms, may issue for handguns/concealed carry/pre-fed AWB “high capacity” handgun/longarms (may issue is hit or miss depending on which town you live in). But you DO NOT need to get a purchase permit before buying a firearm with the proper license. The only restriction on airguns is showing I.D. that you’re over 18.

  • LongRider

    I did not see Guns and Ammo credit Washington state:
    Legalizing the of use suppressors
    State’s long standing law that the state must reimburse all legal fees
    to anyone charged in a shooting who subsequently proves self defense.
    State preemption, that others states are credited with.
    That Washington State is home to The Second Amendment Foundation definitely has worked to our benefit.

    • Jamal22

      Good law. I like!

  • MrApple

    #19 and getting better all the time.

  • Blu Clw

    The worse part of guns in Arizona. Trying to spell out molon labe in cactus.

  • midnight_Pony

    WOW NH #25 and with the state slogan Live Free Or Die

  • Jordan Knoll

    I’ve been wanting to mOve to Arizona for far to long get that constitutional carry. I live in Kansas and Missouri. My only dislike is having to have a permit to conceal but you can open carry a little but you will be looked down on for it.

  • TexanCountryGirl

    Texas should be a lot higher than 14!!!
    Not sure what they mean by only being allowed to buy a long gun in contingent states… I worked at the largest gun store in Central Texas, with over 6,000 guns on the floor alone. We sold shotguns, rifles, and AKs. No issues. We even sold to a lot of troopers those very guns.
    Texas should be in the top 5!! Just listen to how many in that video thought it was the main place to carry!!!

    • Justin

      Texas needs to move DOWN the list.

  • Mark Hillard

    Love Kentucky

  • M Clarks

    Pretty sure Alaska is actually supposed to be #1 Constitutional carry same as Arizona, has been for longer. And does not have 1/4 state with guns ban, just the land stolen by feds.

  • Everyday Gunner

    I really like the grading categories they use. As someone who’s lived in NY, PA, CA, and NM now, I’m not sure why the NM right-to-carry is barely a 5. Permit-less open carry seems like it should put NM over the many states that are carry with permit only in that category.

  • Ken Wells

    The main reason all states should have open carry, is because its hard to CC with larger caliber weapons..also a criminal will always think twice before doing a crime when he gets that visual of a .45 1911 etc on a fellas hip…my opinion !

  • Phillip McGregor

    Unrestricted open carry, shall issue concealed carry, strongest castle law in the country, no NFA restrictions, and Mississippi gets 18th?

  • TheCommodore

    The information this list has for Massachusetts couldn’t be more wrong. Its not the greatest state to own in but Its a hell of a lot more lenient than the list makes it out to be. Almost all the cities in the state give out Class A unrestricted licenses without any problems. These licences allow you to use any size magazine. Yes there are a lot of restrictions but we are not worse than Commiefornia.

  • Lobotomite

    Maine should be much higher on the list. Open carry for rifles and handguns, shall issue concealed carry permits, no restrictions on mag sizes, no restrictions on NFA items. No reason it shouldn’t be ahead of Texas where open carry isn’t even allowed.

  • Guest

    There is no way Louisiana is #27 !!!… Over 170,000 Louisiana residents have a legal permit to conceal carry a handgun, that doesn’t include the ones that don’t have a conceal carry permit… Your vehicle is an extension of your home here in Louisiana so you don’t need a permit to carry in your vehicle…

  • Roger Shirley

    I am not exactly certain how Guns and Ammo came up with these rankings, but it seems to me a state such as Ohio that only has a magazine restriction of 30 rounds should be ranked higher than a state with registration of any kind, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. Both of these states require hand gun registration, seems to me these states should be at the bottom of the list.

  • Bob Smiton

    These stats certainly seem to be skewed pretty terribly. Vermont right to carry 9? There is no permits required for open or concealed carry and Florida is ranked better than VT? Right… Carry only if you are fishing… I am guessing VT lost a point for carry due to other states not granting VT residents reciprocity but that is not an issue with VT but an issue with the other states. VT allows reciprocity from all states that allow carry.

  • Rob

    I don’t understand how Idaho ranked so low. It’s more gun-friendly here than in Oregon!

  • Joseph from NM

    NM is certainly better than 35. We have open carry without any permit, you can have loaded handguns or long guns in any vehicle without a permit, we may not have a plethora of official ranges however you can bet there is an unofficial range on the massive tracts of public land throughout the state for every sizable city and little burg on top of cities many having at least a basic shooting range, no significant restrictions of NFA items, no restrictions on magazine capacity or any other weapons features. We have no firearms registration of any kind, and our state laws on self defense aren’t weak.

    I live less than an hour drive from Texas, and the laws over there are more restrictive than New Mexico’s. In twenty years I can see all the California transplants eroding our rights where as in Texas i doubt that will happen, but as of today we have Texas beat.

  • Jr Dugal

    I moved from Brooklyn New York to Dallas Texas, best move ever but come on Texas we need to be in the top 5 at least. I’m grateful tho cause in Brooklyn you can’t even look at a gun or ammo because they don’t exist legally lol.

  • KellyKAFIR

    Correction on WA state: Concealed carry permit costs $55 last I checked.

  • easy peazey

    Ohio has a no retreat law , inside or outside

  • Coaster

    NYC to Las Vegas (22) thats hitting the jackpot LOL

  • Charles_C

    I can’t see how North Carolina is 19th and behind South Carolina which is not an open carry state and North Carolina is. As a matter of fact their are a few states that I question about the position they were placed in.

  • Paul

    Ohio now lets you use suppressors, if you have theproper paper work, and this coming deer season they will let you use long guns but only those that use straight walls, think 45, 44 and such

  • akbrother

    You need to update the list. Iowa is not a shall issue state, and it is not up to the local yocal’s to issue carry permits. Just go and do a firearms safety course and the go to the local sheriffs office with your copy and pay the cash and get your carry permit in about seven working day’s.

  • Charles_C

    I find this list suspicious North Carolina is a open carry without a permit state but yet it’s 19 behind restrictive states like Texas South Carolina and Georgia

  • Trey Knight

    Well I’m moving from Cali too, this anti gun BS is getting out of hand over here. But where am I moving exactly? Well, a magical island called the philippines, where you can own pretty much any full auto gun you can imagine, legally, on the cheap. I’m moving this summer, I can’t wait!

  • Dominic Delia

    What a crock this thing is! Vermont pushed to #17? We have almost a total absence of gun laws and that’s how the State ranks? Lower than some states with a Permit law? What a crock!

  • Mac

    Report is wrong about TN. The legislation that failed was to allow carry in all municipal parks (with permit), not state parks, which have been legal to carry in for some years now.

    It has been legal by default to carry in city/county parks for years now also, but that statute also allows them to opt out and ban carry, with appropriate postings, if they choose. The failed bill would have disallowed them to do that.

  • Rich

    You guys seem to be getting too wrapped-up on open carry in the rankings: that’s one segment of one category in the rankings.

  • army vet

    Screwed in Connecticut, and its getting worse,stand in line and shut your mouth
    Or else!

  • Joseph Weeditz

    From Illinois to Utah ! Are you kidding me ?

  • TonyO

    As a resident of Minnesota, G&A’s ranking of MN seems low to me. So the state has imperfect gun laws, but they could be a whole lot worse for a state as liberal as MN is. Most residents have a pretty good attitude towards guns, considering the huge hunting culture that exists here. Also, seeing as Minnesota is a “shall-issue” state for carry permits and purchase permits, they could’ve given a couple more points each for both the R2C and MSR categories, and maybe one more point for NFA since suppressors are the only NFA items not allowed in MN.

  • vet4freedom

    i couldnt find South Carolina

  • Jamal22

    I disagree with Idaho being 30. They should be ranked lower on the list. Also, you only listed 50 states; Obama says there are 57.

    • Charles_C

      I also agree with you the rankings of the state doesn’t seem right.
      North Carolina is ranked behind states that do not allow you to open carry without a permit. North Carolina you don’t need a permit to open carry.

  • Laron Woods

    Georgia made some great strides this last spring. That said, Utah is the only state that unequivocally allows concealed carry in all schools from elementary up through college campuses. Campus police started arresting concealed carriers for “disorderly conduct” since they couldn’t do anything about concealed carry. This spring, the state legislature took care of that little matter, making it illegal to arrest based only on concealed carry. Utah is really the best state for concealed carry and sporting weapons except for the two Constitutional Carry states of Alaska and Arizona. Maybe you all missed something here. Georgia is definitely right up there. I think UT edges them out a bit.

  • Jake Witmer

    Alaska should be #1. The unrestricted carry legislation in AK uses all licensing of permits for state reciprocity. No permit is needed inside of AK. This is better than VT, which has never had any gun law, because one should be free to travel under the Bill of Rights.

  • Jake Witmer

    Arizona has terrible laws that allow police to pull anyone over, at any time, which they do. It has a terrible police culture. It also preys disproportionately on the large immigrant population, treating them as sub-humans. This is grotesque, and anti-freedom, and Alaska doesn’t have the same problem, to the same degree. (All US States are now de jure totalitarian, but not all of them have the same culture of servility among the citizenry.)

    • Lance

      I have lived in AZ for 29 years and I’m not too sure what your talking about. I get pulled over maybe once every 3 years or so. It has never been for nothing and the police here don’t even flinch when they see a pistol siting on your passenger seat. Heck they don’t even want to see it “just leave it where it is” is what I have been told. Illegal immigrants are a HUGE problem here and are responsible for a large chunk of the crime. Hince the show me your papers law. You try living two hours from the border then come tell me how illegals should have more rights here.

      • Jake Witmer

        I’ve lived over a year in AZ, and during that time lived in Flagstaff, Yuma, Tucson, and Phoenix. During that time I placed the AZ LP on the ballot. I talked to over 300 people per day, and it gradually came out that the police mostly enforce the anti-gun laws against immigrants, since all the anti-property laws are enforced against voting minorities, since they are the people who lack the political connections to unseat an elected official, and can be attacked with impunity. The police themselves even admitted this.

        The illegal immigrants’ status as illegals is what causes the crime, idiot. Show me the “cause of action” inherent in immigration. Prohibition causes over 90% of the rest of the crime. …Traveling shouldn’t be considered a crime.

        Nobody ever said anyone should have “more rights” than anyone else. If you admit that they now have fewer rights, it’s an indictment of your own shallow political view.

        Do a youtube search for “checkpoint USA” if you want an education in how idiotic and misguided Arizona’s police state is.

        The Soviet Union also traded real freedom for false “security,” and their parks were safe at night. Of course, the citizenry all lived in fear of the “above the law” KGB, waiting to be “disappeared” at night. …And that’s what all these idiotic “Tea Party” “RINOs” want for the USA, too.

        Wake up, before it’s too late.

  • pete

    Maryland’s laws are even worse than stated. Firearms are only allowed to travel to, and from certain areas, ie. gun dealer, ranges, residences, hunting areas, and dog training event/show, and must be unloaded.California residents can buy more types of long guns than we can, here.A whole list of long guns are banned from transfer, or purchase, the so called assault weapons, except certain Hbar ar-15 rifles that must conform to more regulations, as well.Right to carry is really copletely gone.The court’s ruling was overturned, but the Gansler, our attorney gen. has issued stay on the current law reguarding handgun permit issue.Magazine transfer, or purchase is limitted to 10 rounds, not possession.I am only here for my job, but, I am actively seeking a job in Virginia, now.

  • CraxyD

    Ohio is #36… That sucks.

  • Luke Greenia

    I don’t know how they came to the conclusion that VT should rank 17th, but they might want to rethink that one. VT is one of the very rare states where you don’t need to bother yourself with that nuisance hand gun permit. and open and concealed carry is permitted …. But VT ranks 17 .. yeah right.

  • josh mays

    Kentucky #5 I’ve never been in trouble for carrying my fire arm, I don’t have a concealed permit either, I love this state.

  • William Kotila

    Your rating of South Dakota stated that our state restricts or regulates the sale of long guns to residents of other states. This is incorrect. Our only restriction of long gun sales to non-South Dakotans is a result of Federal law – which requires our dealers to honor restrictions placed by other states on THEIR residents. Thus we may not sell, over the counter, to persons unfortunate (or stupid) enough to live in California. To residents of other states we can sell long guns over the counter.

  • Big Al

    Michigan ranked 28th which is about right in the middle of obama’s 57 states.

  • Cassie

    Now I hate that I live in Ohio. I’m moving to Arizona.

  • Guest

    Hoist on their own petard…

  • Jake Witmer

    Hoist them on their own petard…

  • Kit Bolton

    You guys have almost all of your information about Minnesota incorrect. There is no 7 day waiting period. A permit to purchase or a CCW is required to purchase a handgun or MSR. Any time waiting is dictated by the ATF during the processing of their form, maximum of 3 days.

  • William Glanz

    Up here in Alaska We have open carry and the State has a Law that to Fly in the bush you will also have a long Gun.I carry two pistols, one open and one Hid,

  • Gov Knows

    I was surprised Arizona was the best, first thing that came to mind was the shooting of the Congress woman and how all this turmoil that happened afterwards. I’m happy with the outcome and she’s doing better but didn’t they threaten to ban all handguns? I’m from New Mexico and hunted here all my life and never paid much attention to gun laws?

  • gottahaveruger

    I am a lifelong Texas resident and I don’t think that Texas is that gun friendly due to our relative lack of places to shoot. The Texas governor and legislature puts the needs of corporations before our citizens and there is a definite lack of suitable places to shoot. I live in a west Texas county that has a range that only law enforcement can use. Citizens look for caliche pits and hope that they don’t get run off while shooting. We regularly travel the western states and, due to the abundance of public property in other western states relative to my own, I find friendlier places to shoot in New Mexico or Colorado. In Texas, you can own all of the guns that you care to own, but unless one owns a large tract of property, a resident may have to one day settle for shooting in the living room.

  • EXFDNY44

    The sad part is that NY is such a beatiful state; it’s really a sportsman paradise. However, with the help of the media, the radical lefists have taken over, they control the vote. I have ZERO representaion in Albany, Congress or the White House. In NYC they give condoms and hypodermic needles to children, but if a kid brought an issue of G&A to school he’d be denounced and suspended. It’s almost time for me to move onto friendlier pastures; Arizona or Utah look pretty good to me. It’s already to late for NY, don’t let these corrupt politicians and their co-conspirators in the media do it to you!

  • John Henry

    Last year we moved from Colorado to Montana. Colorado’s governor and liberal house and senate pushing more restrictive gun laws and then legalizing marijuana was enough to drive me over the fence and move. Just to you know I was born and raised in Colorado. In fact I am a 7 generation Coloradoan and probably more but that is as far back as I could trace. Liberial outsiders are ruining what Colorado use to be.

  • Evonne Ryan

    Citizens Armory Mexico Mo. Is having a 2nd Amendment Rally July 19th phone 573-582-1288. 1110 Market Drive. Mexico Mo. Raffling off several fire arms. Food music vendors come join us

  • Evonne Ryan

    United We Stand

  • Rodt23

    I have a gun safe that is full shotguns and rifles that I hunt all over the world with. I have more ammo than time or game to hunt. I have handguns that I keep in my home. Nobody has come for my guns and I live in California. I don’t want to see everyone with a pulse walking down the street or in my school or church or the mall or the diner that I eat lunch with a gun in his wasteband. The NRA is an agent for gunmakers, not me. I cannot support the way they push for any nut to own anything that goes “BANG”. I would not feel safer knowing that every person, mentally or emotionally stable or not is carrying a gun. Too many innocent people die because too many guns are in the hands of people who exercise their “right” with little regard for the responsibility that goes along with that right. I love human life more than a piece of metal and wood. This is the opinion of a Vietnam vet who owns guns and uses them legally. I carried an M16 in Vietnam because that was a war zone and I was a warrior.

    • Ravi32

      Rodt23, you have prior posts on disqus saying “all gun owners are paranoids” and claiming an AR-15 can be made “fully automatic weapon by filing the firing pin down. You claim to have carried an m-16 and dont even have the slightest idea how one works?

      It is clear your have never been near a firearm. And your false claim of being a veteran makes you lower than a worm.

      And if you bother to look, the equivalent demographic same region states with MORE gun owners, more gun carriers have LESS crime and less murder.

      You are just another crank who has never been near a fiearm, knows none of the facts or data (you posted on CNN “gun murder is up, when it is HALF of levels 20 year ago) and has to resort to disgusting claims to being a vet when you so clearly are not.

      You posting history is public and you are a liar and a f00l.

  • fr33zy

    Wow really? Minnesota is 39th? JUST behind NYC and all the cesspools? Are you kidding me? There is no waiting period for any rifles or handguns here! And there is no laws governing private sales. There are two types of permits you can get here. A Permit to Purchase is free except for in Minneapolis counties (which are awful) and are good for one year, you need to be 21 and have a clean record and you can buy whatever you want. If you are over 18 you just need to show driver’s license and you can buy any rifle or shotgun, but you need to be 21 to buy handguns with a PTP, and sadly “military style rifles” are considered pistols. Carry permits are 10-15$ and good for 3 years. You also need to be 21 to buy handgun ammo though, which kind of stinks

    The only things outright banned in this state are Short Barrel Shotguns and silencers, and this legislative session MN gun rights groups are pushing hard, and probably going to win a ruling legalizing them. I honestly think our gun rights are better than Wisconsin’s. We were a “shall issue” state long before Wisconsin, and they have a 2 day waiting period for all guns. I just walked into my gun store last week and bought a Swedish Mauser and was out the door in 25 minutes.

    Yeah lots of moronic liberals live here, but they tend to stay in Minneapolis, up state we are pretty good folks. And even though we are a blue state, all our elected officials realize over half the state hunts and when NY tried to pass the SAFE act, gun owners marched preemtively in the thousands on St. Paul to stop any possible legislation.

    Realistically we should be in the mid twenties, maybe even in the teens.

  • Biased for Texas?

    Why was Mississippi ranked #18 when Texas was #14? In addition to “shall issue” CCW, castle doctrine, your vehicle being an extension of your home regarding firearms, and a very pro-firearms conservative state government (legislature and governor), Mississippi also has open carry which Texas doesn’t have. So in effect, Mississippi has everything that Texas has regarding firearms freedom and then some, but for some reason MS is ranked lower by 4 in this poll. I agree that TX is a nice state, but I think sometimes the hype doesn’t meet the reality there regarding firearms.

  • SageRange

    Members of my gun club and I are fortunate enough to live in a county of California where CCWs are “shall issue!”

  • NameNotGiven

    This list concentrates on factors that maybe irrelevant to some.
    Look at DC vs Mass.
    In DC if you don’t have a minor at home you can legally have a loaded handgun on your nightstand. In Mass, even if you have no children, you have to keep a gun locked up.
    In DC if you decide you want to own a handgun, you order online to be sent to the DC FFL and you will have it in 10 days, 12 at most.
    In Maryland or NJ it will, in reality, be several months (see their local handgun forums for testament to actual wait times of two to five months before foid issuance) before you have your gun.
    About 20 times more handgun models are legal in DC than in Mass or California.
    And gunsandAmmo makes much of DC issuing no carry licenses. Really? Would you rather live in state that has “may issue”,never have committed a crime, be able to undertake and pass any training, and still be refused because their may issue is “no issue” in reality?
    Those of us who know firearms and gun violence issues know all these laws are BS and an attack on the constitution. But these rankings are crazy and based on a limited set of factors

  • Tony

    I’m confused as to how Montana got a 7 for carry/conceal considering in the states largest city, Billings, it is legal for a 14 year old to open carry…

  • Jean Aker

    While Maryland is not a good place for gun owners, whoever wrote this got much of it wrong. Handguns are regulated, but there is no gun registration. Private sale of firearms is still legal without going through an FFL. There are other errors, but these come to mind.

  • Kurt Maske

    I moved from Georgia to Wisconsin…my license cost $45 and all I needed was my Georgia license. Wisconsin ranks 26th…as businesses can prohibit concealed carry in there stores…One being Harbor Freight, so I just don’t shop there.

  • Justin

    Virginia is ranked way too low. It’s undeniably one of the best gun states in the country – certainly much better than the always overrated Texas

  • Pete Roberto

    ny to AL love it

  • MikeRios

    I’m quite amazed how many people said that Texas was one of the better States but we are not allowed open carry in Texas. As far as I’m concerned if a state denies its citizens the right to open carry it is at best a mediocre gun rights state. Also, in Texas if you use a firearm in self defense your firearm is confiscated and given to the Dept. of Public Safety. I know this because I had a shooting with some burglars that broke into my house. They took my Taurus and it took me a year and a half and my local Senator to get it back. No due process. There is not even a law that requires the seizure of a weapon used for self defense. The police told me it’s just a “rule” that they have when I asked for the statute that required them to take my gun.

    Though Texas has some measure of firearm freedom I grew up in Arizona. Open carry has always been the law there and when I came to Texas I was frankly shocked that you could go to jail for carrying a gun other than for hunting. It is still that way. They finally passed a law that allows us to carry a firearm in our vehicles but even that law is up to the discretion of the cop that has pulled you over. It would be nice if Texas looked at Arizona’s great law for private ownership and possession of guns. There is a state that believes in its law abiding citizens.

  • F15TSGT

    AZ is #1 among the 50 states for gun rights! But we need to keep a vigilance because the Democrats are on a campaign to turn AZ and TX blue. When that happens they will destroy the gun rights. Never trust them!

  • FredC1968

    The lack of onerous firearms laws combined with the lack of snow make central and southern Arizona great places to live.

    I live in Tucson. This is where the lefties are often armed. Most local businesses don’t have the unarmed victim zone sign. Most businesses that prohibit carry on their premisses aren’t based here.

  • JennerL

    I wonder if the strict regulations in Hawaii are an off-shoot of the Japanese regulations since Hawaii has a large Japanese population. I’ve been researching gun laws in Japan. It’s darn near impossible to even own a rifle there. Ammo is categorized and stored separately from your weapon. And the local police come through your house to check that you’re upholding the law at least twice a year. Handguns are illegal.

    The irony? A lot of Japanese come to Hawaii to fire handguns at ranges that cater to tourists. :-)

  • John Beach Hubbard

    We used to think that Maine was one of the best places to live in terms of gun ownership. Perhaps that is not so. It is ranked #32 in this survey. There are people in this state who work tirelessly to restrict gun ownership and the general pollitical climate is ultra-liberal. The state has changed immensely in the past 30 years, going from a solid Republican stronghold to a Democratic Party paradise. If you can call that a paradise.

  • Rihard C.

    What I find hard to understand is that Arizona is virtually ignored by the firearms manufacturers who’re running from the states with strict unconstitutional anti firearms laws. We can carry either openly or concealed with no CCW. Personally I don’t approve of the latter but it really proves that we believe in the Second Amendment

  • David Walsh

    But what Stat is #1?

  • gkar

    I think WI should have placed higher. We have state preemption, shall issue, open carry without a license. Some of the local municipalities aren’t up to speed on the state preemption issues, but we are making progress.

  • An American

    This nation is heading toward a big logistics divide between the Free States and the Godless Socialist Liberal States. Time is close to where everyone is going to have to make a decision on which side they want to live. And that’s fine. If you are a Godless Socialist Liberal then there will be a place for you like Kalifornia or New York and if you are a student of the Constitution and honor the God given rights protected under that Constitution, then there will be Free States for you to thrive in. Then ley everyone sit back and see which states grow and thrive. I’ll guarantee you that it will mirror what we see today with all these Godless Socialist Liberal cities going bankrupt while Free Cities in Free States are thriving.

    • Shirley

      I could not agree more. We have already made our move to a less hostile, more free to personal freedoms state. We packed up and left Cal for Texas. First thing we noticed was the massive amount of our income that was not raped and taken by the state like is was in Cal. We now literally have thousands of dollars more a year to spend in the people’s market that we are living in, ie. Texas. No wonder California is going bankrupt.

      Viva Free States!

  • Onion

    Come on out to Washington state. SHALL issue, open carry, state preemption so locals can’t pass more restrictive laws. Jump through very minor hoops for concealed carry. None for open.

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