Best States for Gun Owners – How Do States Compare In Gun Laws?

The second amendment act is one that many American hold dear, but how do different states regard this act? While federal laws are applicable across the US, states tend to differ in the gun laws that they enforce. Some states are more stringent than other states in terms of how easy it is to obtain a weapon and how/when a weapon is to be carried. Guns and Ammo did a really interesting article in 2014 where they numerically scored all the states against a set of criteria.

The criteria that Guns And Ammo used included:

Right to Carry (R2C) – Whether a state allowed persons to carry handguns without a permit, either openly or concealed.

Modern Sporting Rifles (MSR) – The restrictions that states place on semi-automatic firearms that are not regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA).

NFA – Laws that governs the purchasing and ownership of machine guns, suppressors/silencers, short-barreled rifles (SBRs) and shotguns (SBSs), Any Other Weapons (AOWs), and Destructive Devices (DDs).

Castle Doctrine (CD) – The laws that regulate the use of force to prevent death, serious bodily injury or forcible crimes. These laws especially tend to be significantly different from state to state.

Miscellaneous (Misc) – Guns And Ammo used some other issues in their scoring, such as state constitutional provisions, state firearm law preemption, purchase/registration requirements, percentage of gun ownership, shooting range protection statues and availability of ranges and access to the shooting sports.

Best States for Gun Owners Comparison Guide

Unfortunately Guns and Ammo put the scores on individual pages for each state, which makes it a bit cumbersome to read. So we collated all the scores and put it in an easy to read table. Below are the scores out of 10 for the criteria described above.

RankingStatesR2CMSRNFACDMiscScore
51Washington, D.C.000000
50New York210306
49New Jersey212207
48Massachusetts310509
47Hawaii2304211
46California2216112
45Connecticut5127015
44Maryland4365119
43Rhode Island41006222
42Delaware51018327
41Illinois6829328
40Colorado7496329
39Minnesota6638730
38Iowa71018733
37Washington610410636
36Ohio7797737
35New Mexico51095837
34Nebraska71095738
33Arkansas61095838
32Maine71095839
31Pennsylvania71098640
30Idaho81094940
29Oregon71098741
28Michigan710910541
27Louisiana710710741
26Wisconsin710810742
25New Hampshire710810742
24Indiana81088842
23West Virginia71098842
22Nevada71098842
21Virginia88810842
20North Dakota71088942
19North Carolina81099743
18Mississippi81098843
17Vermont91099744
16Tennessee7101010744
15South Carolina710910844
14Texas71099944
13South Dakota81098944
12Alabama710910844
11Missouri810910744
10Florida710910945
9Kansas810109744
8Montana710910945
7Wyoming101087945
6Oklahoma810910946
5Kentucky8101010947
4Utah8101010947
3Georgia9109101048
2Alaska1010910948
1Arizona10109101049

Note: Figures obtained from Guns and Ammo 2014

The Worst States for Gun Owners

Looking at the scores above, Washington D.C. is the worst state for gun owners! The states scores a flat 0 across all the criteria and sparked quite a lot of debate in the comments section of the article. However, if we look at the scores from the Brady Campaign from 2013, the state with the most restrictive gun laws is California, followed by Connecticut and New York. Looking at the report (you can have a look at it here) the report did not score Washington D.C. as a state as the Guns and Ammo article did.

The Best States For Gun Owners

Guns and Ammo and the Brady Campaign agree on the state with the least restrictive gun laws – namely Arizona, closely followed by Alaska! Arizona scored a resounding zero…as in 0….on the Brady Campaign score card (the lower the score the less restrictive the gun laws are) and a near perfect score of 49 on the Guns and Ammo scored card. Arizona has passed “Permitless Carry.” That means anyone who can legally own/purchase a firearm and is 21 or older can carry it concealed without any type of permit/license.

Arizona gun laws for concealed carry

Arizona residents that are at least 21 years old can carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Arizona is only the third state in modern U.S. history (after Vermont and Alaska) to allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit, and it is the first state with a large urban population to do so.

Arizona gun laws for open carry

On foot, any adult person who is not a “prohibited possessor” may openly carry a loaded firearm visible to others. Generally, a person must be at least 18 years of age to possess or openly carry a firearm. In a vehicle, any adult person who is not a prohibited possessor may openly carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle whether in a holster, case, compartment, or in plain view.

There are of course many more gun laws and requirements to keep in mind in terms of gun laws in Arizona. If you want to find out more about the gun laws in Arizona, you can check out some of these sites:

HandgunLaw.com

Wikipedia

NRA-ILA

What Do you think –  what is the best state for gun owners?

Looking at the comments sections of the Guns and Ammo article, the there are a lot of people with very strong feelings about gun laws in their states. What do you think, what are the best states for gun owners? Please share your thoughts on the topic in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: We also have to add that we here at the Smoking Barrel USA are not law experts and the above should not be taken as any form of legal advice. Gun laws do also change from time to time and the laws on which the scores above are based can change.

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