Some states in the US are gun-friendly and have weak gun laws to allow the liberal use of firearms within their jurisdiction.
The criteria used to categorize the weakest gun law states include the following:
States that have a May Carry policy for firearms will only issue permits and allow residents to possess firearms based on their lawmaker’s discretion. Hence they usually have strong laws. States with weak gun laws usually have a Shall Carry policy. With this kind of policy, they are obliged to give permits to any resident of the state that meets the requirements for the application of their gun license.
Another way states limit the people who can possess firearms is with age restrictions. Usually, strong gun law states will only allow those that are twenty-one years old or above to possess firearms. However, gun-friendly states and states with weak gun laws will allow teenagers to possess firearms within their territory.
The limitation of permits is another common way to restrict the possession of firearms in states. States give requirements for the application of their permits. Those with weak gun laws have requirements that are easy to meet which makes it possible for a lot of their residents to apply. Also, weak gun law states will allow non-residents to apply for their gun licenses.
Arizona is one of the most second amendment-friendly states in the country. It is a shall carry state, so all you need to obtain the gun permit is to meet all gun requirements. Arizona's public safety department is in charge of the gun permit applications. Also, the open carry of a firearm in Arizona is permitless.
In Arizona, there is no permit issued for the purchase of firearms. If you previously own a gun, you will not need to complete the NICS background check before purchasing another one. The state has a gun reciprocity deal with about twenty other states in the country.
Close to 3,500 residents of the state make their income from gun industries. The minimum age requirement for the possession of a firearm is eighteen years old while the application of a permit is twenty-one years old.
Texas is another shall carry state for the possession of firearms. The state's public safety department is in charge of issuing the license, and as long as you meet all enlisted requirements, you will get your permit. You can use the license for both open and concealed carry in the state.
Texas does not require a permit to purchase firearms. They allow the sales, manufacturing, and assembling of firearms for federally registered individuals or businesses.
You can make use of a firearm in Texas if you own a permit from any of the states that it has reciprocity with. Also, non-residents of the state can apply for a Texas gun permit. The age limit for Texas gun permit application is twenty-one years old, but you can transport and possess a firearm as long as you are eighteen years old.
Idaho is a shall carry state and the local chief of a county is in charge of issuing the permit. However, it is still a permitless state and you do not require a license to possess a firearm. In 2020 Idaho approved a bill that will allow anyone above the age of eighteen to possess firearms without a license, as long as it is for self-defense purposes.
If you have an Idaho gun permit, you will not need to complete a NICS background check to buy a firearm. Also, non-residents that have lived in the state for 6 months can apply for a gun permit.
Idaho is one of the states with the most gun job opportunities in the USA with more than 11467 gun jobs.
Arkansas is a shall carry state and the state public safety department is in charge of issuing and processing gun licenses. The state does not issue a purchase permit to buy firearms, but completing the NICS background check is an important criterion.
Although the age requirement for the permit application is twenty-one, anyone that is eighteen or more can possess or transport a firearm within the state. Open carry of a firearm in Arkansas does not require a permit.
Arkansas has a reciprocity agreement with about twenty states in the country. Residents from these states can open and conceal carry with permits issued from their state.
The state has about 10 gun-friendly laws, and about 3101 gun-friendly jobs, making it one of the most pro-gun states in the country.
With about 18 gun-friendly laws and more than 4000 gun-friendly jobs, Georgia remains one of the states in America with the weakest gun laws.
Georgia is another shall carry state and if you meet all requirements of the state you can apply for your gun license. To apply for a permit, you do not need firearm training like in other states. Although the state has its minimum permit application requirement age as twenty-one, eighteen years olds are allowed to possess firearms.
Also, Georgia does not require permits for the possession of firearms at places of residents, places of work, during hunting, and in a vehicle. It also has a gun reciprocity agreement with more than thirty states in the country.
Mississippi is one of the constitutional carry states in the USA. However, the state still issues gun permits for the possession of firearms. It is a shall carry state and as long as you meet all requirements, the public safety department will issue the gun license.
Mississippi does not require a purchase permit to buy firearms, and open carry in the state does not require the possession of a permit at all. As long as you are eighteen years old with no federal prohibition for the possession of firearms, you can own a gun in Mississippi.
Also, there is no firearm registration for open carry in the state, and there is no magazine limit for guns as it is in some states. Mississippi does not require a background check to buy guns too.
Alabama is a shall carry state and the processing of gun permits is done by the sheriff of a local county. To apply for the state gun permit you must be at least eighteen years old. However, the state does not require that you own a permit for open carry.
Alabama also allows out of state permits for non-residents that want to possess firearms within its jurisdiction. The state has a reciprocity deal with more than fifteen states.
Before you purchase a firearm in the state, you must either complete a criminal background check or own a permit. You can also possess firearms in your private resident or vehicle without a permit. The state has more than 3,000 gun-friendly jobs.
Missouri is a very friendly state to the gun industry with more than 5,500 available gun jobs. It is a shall carry state and if you meet all gun requirements you will get your gun permit. The sheriff in a local county is responsible for issuing a gun license.
The age requirement for the application of a gun permit in the state is nineteen years old for residents and twenty-one years old for non-residents. Anyone that is eighteen years old or more can possess firearms without a permit in Missouri.
There is no firearm registration for open carry in the state and Missouri gun laws have no magazine limit for firearms which makes it legal to possess a wide range of guns.
Missouri allows the private sale of firearms and no criminal background record is needed for this.
South Carolina is another gun-friendly state that has a shall carry policy. You can possess a firearm in the state as long as you are eighteen years old or more without federal prohibition to use a firearm.
South Carolina gun laws also make it possible to possess firearms within private properties as long as you are eighteen years old or more. However, the age required for the permit is twenty-one years old.
You do not need a permit to open carry firearms in the state, and there is no need for firearms registrations for open carry too. Private dealers in the state are allowed to sell firearms without a federal license. Private dealers also do not have to complete a criminal record check for buyers before selling firearms. There are no magazine limits for firearms in the state too.
Utah is a shall carry state with the age limit of eighteen required for the possession of a firearm as long as there is no prohibition for the possession of a firearm. Utah allows the open carry of firearms that are unloaded or at least 2 actions away from discharge.
The open carry gun law in Utah is quite complicated. While you do not need a license to open carry handguns, this is not the same for long guns. There is also no need to register a firearm before you open carry in the state.
The possession of handguns in a private vehicle requires a permit while you can possess long guns without a permit. Also, when you are stopped by a law enforcement officer in the state, you have no obligation to tell them that you possess a firearm.
Different states have different gun laws in the USA. Some of them have stronger laws for gun control than others. Here are the top 10 states with the strictest gun laws in the USA:
Some of the criteria considered for these states with the strictest gun laws include the following:
Most of the states with the strictest gun laws in the USA have a May Carry permit policy instead of a Shall Carry policy.
May Carry states in the USA will not assure you of getting a gun license. It does not matter if you qualify by virtue of completing a background check or firearm training, meeting all state requirements, or paying permit fees. The state has the final say on who gets a permit and may only issue based on the lawmaker’s discretion. This policy makes them limit those who can possess firearms and possibly remove dangerous weapons from the hands of criminals.
But the case is not the same for Shall Carry states. In these states, as long as you meet all requirements necessary for a gun permit, you are obliged to get your license. Issuance is not based on any discretion. You even have the power to challenge the system if you think you meet all requirements and do not get a permit.
Although some of the strictest gun law states have Shall Carry policies, they back this up with tough requirements like completing a licensed firearm training or a background check. Some others may even ask for sureties before issuing the license.
Another thing common with states with tough gun laws is their age limit for the possession of firearms. Many states require eighteen years old as the minimum age for firearm possession. Some states will even allow teenagers under eighteen years old to possess a firearm as long as they have permission from parents or guardians
However, most of the states with strict laws have this age at twenty-one years old. The minimum age limit of twenty-one does not only affect the possession of firearms, it also involves the application of gun permits and the transfer of firearms between individuals.
Permit restrictions are another way states with strict gun laws restrict the possession of firearms within their territory. These states will only issue permits to residents of the state so that non-residents are not allowed to possess firearms without permits.
They also prohibit some set of individuals from permit applications. People who are not allowed to apply for gun permits in these states include:
California became one of the strictest gun law states in the country as a bid to put an end to its reoccurring gun violence and death. They enforced some laws that made them different and more restricted than most other states in the USA.
Some of their firearm restrictions include the ban of high-end magazines and assault weapons. They limit the access of certain people to the purchase of firearms. People who are termed high risk and those guilty of domestic violence were prohibited from purchasing firearms. They also require a complete background check from anyone looking to buy any type of firearm within the state.
New Jersey is one of the most progressive states in the USA when it comes to gun control and safety. They have some of the stringent gun laws that residents must adapt to before possessing firearms.
To possess firearms in the state you need a permit, and New Jersey does not accept gun permits from other states in the USA. The state is a May Carry state, so lawmakers have a huge say on if a resident will get a permit or not.
Permits in New Jersey are issued at a very personal level, by law enforcement in a local municipality. They also require that every gun user complete a background check before the possession of firearms.
The year 2012 saw a drastic change in the gun laws and control in the state of Connecticut. This was after a mass shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Newton district.
Although the state still allows open carry, they passed the same control measures as California. The possession and purchase of assault weapons within the state was prohibited. They have a May Carry policy where the department of Emergency Service and Public Protection will only issue a permit based on discretion.
While waiting for the final permit from the DESPP, you will first receive a provisional one from the law enforcement agency.
New York is another state with rigorous gun laws. They prohibit the possession and sales of assault firearms. Although semi-automatic firearms are not prohibited, it is mandatory that their magazines do not exceed 10 rounds.
Background checks are also compulsory in the state, and to purchase firearms, you must be at least 21 years old. Being a May-issue state, New York will only issue permits based on discretion and this is done at the local counties. Only residents of the state, per time residents, and employees in the state can apply for firearm permits.
Hawaii is another May Carry state for the possession of firearms. Before applying for the permit, you must provide valid reasons for owning a firearm. The local sheriff of a country will then accept your application based on discretion.
The age limit for the possession of a firearm in Hawaii is twenty-one years old and a person must not have gun prohibition at the federal level or from another state. The state gun permit can be used for both open and concealed carry.
Anyone that possesses a firearm in Hawaii without a permit will be charged with a Class B felony and will be prosecuted.
Maryland's constant firearm review makes them one of the states with the strictest gun laws. They have lawmakers who are looking to adopt several gun restrictions. In 2018, they introduce new measures to prohibit bump stocks such as the ones in AR-15 rifles.
In addition, you need a permit to open and conceal carry in Maryland. Even with the permit, you are still prohibited from possessing firearms in certain areas of the state. Maryland also requires you to complete a training permit that lasts at least 16 hours before possessing a firearm.
Massachusetts's strict gun laws have made it one of the states with the least gun death rate in the USA. Despite the gun control in this state, residents can still purchase firearms with no hassle.
In terms of issuing permits, Massachusetts has a May Carry policy. So regardless of if you qualify for the permit, the state has the discretion to either issue or not. Also, if you are deemed unfit to possess a firearm after getting a license, the state has the power to revoke it.
The age limit to apply for a firearm permit in Massachusetts is twenty-one years old. You must also complete a firearm course before you are issued a permit in the state.
Illinois has requirements that must be met before the application of firearms in the state. Failure to meet all requirements will lead to a rejection in the permit application.
Illinois gun permits can only be used for concealed carry. The state completely prohibits the open carry of firearms within its territory. The age limit for the possession of firearms in the state is twenty-one years old, and the state bans the manufacturing and assembling of firearms.
In Illinois, you cannot make use of machine guns and assault weapons. Ammunitions with armor-piercing are also banned completely. To obtain a gun permit, you also need to undergo firearm training conducted by a state-licensed instructor.
Rhode Island is one of the May issue states in the USA and firearm licenses are issued based on the discretion of the attorney general of the police chief. Although they issue non-residents permits, you can only apply for one if you have a permit issued from your original state of resident.
The age requirement for possession of firearms in Rhode Island is twenty-one. And you must have 3 references attesting to your good cause of owning a firearm. Rhode Island only requires permits from other states to issue non-residents permits because they will not accept any other state permit for the possession of firearms within their territory.
Washington DC requires a gun license for both concealed and open carry of firearms in the state. They also have a list of requirements that must be met before the application of firearm permits. Completing a criminal record background check is also mandatory for the possession of a firearm in the state.
The state gives its age limit of firearm possession as twenty-one years old, however, anyone with the prohibition to possess firearms at federal or other state-level are not allowed in Washington DC. There is also a prohibition on the transfer, assembling, and manufacturing of firearms in the state.
Even with permits to open and concealed carry, Washington restricts possession of firearms in places such as courthouses and schools.
The USA allows local ordinances for gun laws. This means that cities, counties, and municipalities can be in charge of gun control. Many cities have strict gun laws, some even stricter than the state laws.
Some of the cities with strict gun laws in the USA include the following:
New York is one of the most restrictive cities with respect to firearms and the 2md amendment in the US. The largest city in the country has an assault weapons ban. This ban prohibits semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, pistol grips, folding stocks, muzzle brakes, etc,. New York City law drags many modern and some not so modern semi-automatic sporting rifles into the penumbra of assault weapons.
The city also has magazine limits. Semi-automatic rifles and handguns were previously limited to ten rounds or fewer. However, a new law was passed where the magazine capacities were further reduced to a maximum of seven rounds.
Also, high-capacity magazines will have to either sell their magazines out of the city or surrender them with respect to ammunition under laws. All sales of ammunition will subject the buyer to a background check through NICS. This means that there are no internet or mail-order sales in New York. New York gun laws allow the scrutinization of the sale of large quantities of ammunition.
Another provision of New York gun law changes the doctor-patient confidentiality rules. So if a mental health professional reasonably believes that a patient poses a danger to either himself, herself, or a third party, that mental health professional is now required to turn that information over to the state. With the information, the city will be able to use its discretion in either suspending or revoking such an individual's gun permit. In most cases, they will also seize the citizen’s weapons.
Any assault weapon owner in New York must register each and every weapon with the state.
You can only carry a firearm in Philadelphia if you have a permit to carry. It is the only place in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania that requires it. Pennsylvania is otherwise an open-carry state meaning that you can have a firearm on display on your hip.
You can carry a rifle on the back of your truck anywhere else in Pennsylvania other than Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, people may get pulled over or arrested for what is called FUFA violations of the uniform firearm act which is codified under 61.05 6105-6106.
The legislature has intended that they do not want people carrying guns in Philadelphia. So in Philadelphia, in order to carry a gun, you have to conceal it. However, in the state of Pennsylvania, you cannot carry a concealed weapon, only an open weapon.
The way the law works, in order to carry a gun in Philadelphia you must have a concealed weapons permit. Additionally, that weapon has to be concealed at all times on the streets.
In Baltimore, if you want to get a concealed permit you are going to need 16 hours of training. You must pass the shooting portion with a 70 percent proficiency rate. The city also has requirements for people that can use a firearm, and you have to fall into this group.
Furthermore, you must have a good and substantial reason to carry a firearm in the city. You also have to get through an interview conducted by an investigator or a trooper, then wait about 90 days for the result.
Upon getting your gun permit, the city also requires that you put a little article in the newspaper about you being a permit holder.
NB: Have it in mind that you will spend a lot of money on the training.
Chicago's gun laws are some of the strictest in the country. There are still no legal gun shops or shooting ranges within city limits. A University of Chicago study said more than fifteen hundred guns traced to crimes in Chicago in the previous five years came from shucks far more than any other local dealer.
Although gun advocates dispute the study. They claim that authorities should focus on illegal gun supply not penalizing lawful gun sellers.
A lot of people on the gun control side would say that the problem Chicago and Nevada are facing is that there are more guns on the streets. Automatically, more guns equal more violence.
However, second amendment fanatics claim that the gun control the city imposes on a law-abiding citizen does nothing to stop the violence.
The city of Chicago has laws that could be used federally to prosecute anyone that is a felon. However, the Second Amendment cause is being taken up by a younger and more diverse demographic in the city. This turning-point conference is getting young conservatives together to discuss what matters to them.
There are those that believe that Chicago’s problems are not going to be fixed for the tightening or loosening of gun laws. To them, the issues go much deeper than that. They believe the problems are not going to be solved by the politicians but by the hard work and dedication of the people.
Las Vegas has a relatively robust set of laws protecting gun ownership. Before, no state permit is required to buy or own a gun. And there is a ban on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines. Also, no age restrictions on owning a long gun in the state.
However, these laws were repealed in 2015, and city residents require the registration of firearms with police. Also, nearly all private gun sales or transfers first undergo a background check. These checks were typically run by a federally licensed firearms dealer. Some exemptions do apply including transfers between close family members for antique guns, transfer between law enforcement, and in cases of immediate danger.
Failure to comply with the law results in a gross misdemeanor with repeat offenses. This is punishable by a category C felony charge. The bill is an attempt to move forward with a stall valve initiative approved by voters of Nevada state in 2016. But was never implemented amid the FBI's refusal to process the background checks.
However, the new law took effect on January 2nd, 2020, and required the state to process the checks. The delay to the law was because any bill amended or approved by voters will remain untouched for at least three years.
Background checks for guns purchased from federally licensed sellers have already been in place since 1998. A typical check can take anywhere between five to fifteen minutes and is processed by the state Department of Public Safety.
For NICS, the DPS checks the state and federal criminal records as well as mental health records.
People not allowed to purchase a gun in Las Vegas include:
An attempted buyer whose background check is denied can request more information about why their application was denied.
Las Vegas prohibits guns from being carried to schools or colleges, a private childcare facility, government buildings, or libraries that prohibit firearms. The City only allows people over the age of 21 to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon, as long as they meet the necessary requirements.
Applicants must complete an 8-hour permit course and submit an application to the county sheriff. The Sheriff on the other hand is required to issue the license within 120 days or deny it for lawful reasons.
Open carry and concealed firearms are prohibited in federal buildings. This includes national parks, military bases, airports, public schools, childcare facilities, or in a public building with a no-gun sign or metal detector.
As with the law of Nevada state, Las Vegas will recognize concealed carry weapon permits from about two dozen other states.
The state of San Francisco has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Concealed carry permits are difficult to get. Some semi-automatic weapons are illegal. And since July 2019, buying ammo will require background checks
The gun law in the city classifies some semi-automatic guns as “assault weapons” and ban magazines with the capacity that hold more than 10 rounds. San Francisco was one of the cities to first implement this law in the US, even before the federal government banned assault weapons.
Also, a center-fire rifle with a forward pistol grip and a detachable magazine is illegal in the city. However, building guns for personal use is not illegal in the city. But owners have to get a serial number from the state and etch it into the firearm.
San Francisco being in California means that their strict gun control is not going away anytime soon because the state government is investing a lot of money into their control laws. This means more money to seize guns from ineligible residents, enforce gun sales laws, and support the Firearms Violence Research Center.
The transportation of firearms in a personal vehicle is interpreted differently by various laws in the US. There are so many factors that go into traveling around with firearms. And there are different laws because gun possession is not as free in some states as they are in others.
The general rule and the best practice is always to transport a firearm unloaded in a locked container. As long as there is no ammunition contained inside or attached to a handgun, it can be considered unloaded. Also, even if you have ammunition in a magazine, as long as the magazine is not fixed into a handgun you can transport the magazine with the handgun
In some states, if there is ammunition in a magazine, you cannot transport a handgun and the magazine in the same container. It does not matter if the magazine and the ammunition are not affixed to the handgun.
A locked container is something that is fully enclosed and prevents access to the firearm. The container is termed locked if it is locked with a padlock, a key lock, combination lock, or other locking devices. There are specific definitions of locking devices under the transportation of gun laws. Gun laws do not specifically define what type of material the locked container has to be; therefore, it can be any type of material that you want. A container can qualify as locked as long as you put some locking mechanism and they prevent access to a firearm.
An example of a locked container would be the simple box that you get with a firearm when you purchase it.
One common question is if glove boxes and utility departments qualify as locked containers. In states like California, those types of compartments are not locked containers. There are multiple sections in California's penal code that expressly prohibits someone from storing a firearm or transporting a firearm in a glove department or a utility box. However, this can be different in other states.
A trunk qualifies as a locked container but it only counts when it can be locked and cannot be accessed from inside the vehicle. For example, an SUV does not have a trunk and the rear of the SUV can be accessed from other compartments of the vehicle's interior.
The rule for handguns and pistols is different from shotguns and rifles. They do not have to be in a locked container, but they can be in a container out of plain view. They don't have to be locked too.
Not all types of rifles are assault weapons, but in some states, there are laws where individuals would have to register specific rifles as assault weapons. You have to transport assault weapons unloaded and in a locked container. You can also register your firearm for double use. In this case, you can only transport to and from specific locations. For example, you can transport them from your home to your FFL dealer and back to your home. You can also transport them from your home to a gun range and back to your home. If you are transporting a registered firearm, make sure you are only going to and from approved locations. Do not do random stops and don't just throw the rifle in your car.
Here, federal law requires that if you are transporting a firearm and you are within the range of a school zone, they must be unloaded in a locked container. There are various factional scenarios that could apply. For example, in states where you do not have to lock a rifle. Well, if you enter into the area of a school zone while transporting that firearm, you fall under the federal laws and it must be actually locked. Federal law defines school zones as within a thousand feet of the school grounds
The penalty for violating these transportation laws depends on the jurisdiction where it occurred. Most criminal charges involving firearms in states are considered wobblers. The prosecutor is granted the discretion of charging with either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged with a misdemeanor the penalty can be up to a year of imprisonment in jail or fined up to an amount of a thousand dollars. When charged with a felony, the penalty can be up to three years in jail and up to one thousand dollars in fines or both. The fee is up to the discretion of the prosecutor.
If you are convicted of a felony, that will affect your ability to purchase firearms down the road. So, you must be very cautious when you are transporting firearms.
Firearms Owners Protection Act will make your firearms legal during transportation from point A to point B of your travels. With FOPA, you are covered with everything. For example, the Gauntlet is not accepted in a number of states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Rhode. But because of FOPA, you will be protected when you travel through those states.
The fact that you have a concealed carry permit does not mean you can go anywhere you want with your firearm. You might know the laws of your state, but there are no uniform firearm laws across the US, so you must be aware of other state's laws. There are some states where carrying a gun without the proper permit is regarded as a felony offense. So you need to know and understand where you can and can't carry your gun.
Since it is almost impossible to know all state laws and reciprocity agreements, there are some wonderful resources online to help gun owners. These are various websites and mobile apps that will give you an interactive reciprocity map. With this, you can figure out where you can use your permit. By clicking on the states, you will know if your permit is valid while you are there or not.
These apps will also list all of the gun laws in that state. So you will understand what is legal and what is not legal. They help you answer questions like; Is it a right to carry? Is it an open carry state? Do they issue permits? Do they issue non-resident permits? Etc.
These resources are especially good if you are driving across the country or if going on vacation. Some of these apps also come with a map to plot out our route. All you have to do is set up the app to which state you are going into. When you pass through a state, the app will give you a summary of all you need to know about state laws. This is the kind of information that will keep you out of jail and trouble.
Some of the most frequently asked question about carrying guns in a car are:
Reciprocity is the concept that having concealed permit in one state which is valid means you are allowed to carry concealed in other states. If you are going through a state that has no concealed carry or does not recognize your permit, before you get into that state, make your firearm is safe and secure.
Some state's laws would allow you to transport it through that state without any repercussions and some will not allow that. As a gun owner who is traveling around the United States, you must not only know the rules of the state you are going to but the rules of the states that you are going through.
If you have a concealed permit from another state and you are allowed to carry your weapon in a particular state, you are subject to the state that you are. You must abide by its rules, laws, and regulations all through your stay in that state.
Saying that you are from another state or that is not how the law works in your home state is not going to get you out of trouble. Ignorance of the law is not a defense.
In most states, inadvertent showing of a gun is not something that is actionable under the law. But pulling it out or brandishing such that folks can see and recognize it as a firearm could be a threat.
Open carry States will allow you to open carry if you are authorized and licensed to carry. It is a personal choice whether you choose to advertise the fact that you have a firearm on your person, or whether you want to conceal carry and not let people know that you are armed.
In constitutional Carry states like Kansas, you can drive in the middle of the street with a large rocket launcher if you are lawfully allowed to possess the weapon.