Which Are the Best States for Gun Owners

Which Are the Best States for Gun Owners

For gun enthusiasts, finding the right place to call home could be a wild ride. The U.S. is a maze when it comes to gun laws, attitudes, and differing interpretations of our Second Amendment rights.

This article aims to reduce the noise and highlight some of the most gun-friendly states. We’ll look for chill gun laws that make it easier to purchase, carry, and use firearms. But it’s not just about laws. We’re searching for communities that really “get it” regarding firearm ownership and everything it represents.

After all, the best states for gun owners are the ones where we can embrace our passion while living in friendly environments, right? Keep reading.

Which Are the Best States for Gun Owners

What Sets Apart the ‘Best States for Gun Owners’?

If one were to draw the perfect picture of a paradise state for a gun lover, several factors would usually come to mind: both the ease of purchasing and carrying, as well as the overall friendliness and acceptance of the community towards firearms users.

Additionally, access to shooting ranges and/or outdoor recreational areas, firearm and safety programs, protected legal rights, economic factors, as well as community engagement, and established support networks all contribute to what could be the ideal situation.

The dream places would be those where a good part of these factors match. This is where popular rankings, such as Guns&Ammo’s ranking or Ammo’s state rankings for gun owners might come in handy. According to G&A, in 2023 Wyoming ranked first (#12 in the Ammo’s ranking). New Hampshire is the best in 2023 according to Ammo (#18 in G&A ranking). If you’re looking at the World Population Review ranking, Arizona is #1.

Obviously, each site has different criteria and methodology, but in the end, it’s all about helping like-minded people find where they belong.

The Most Important Factors

We can delve into the factors like “Current Govenor’s voting history” but ultimately this is not what an average gun enthusiast is interested in. There are a few common, but very important factors that determine if a state is friendly enough to weapon holders or not.

The Right to Own a Gun

The most basic and crucial detail for most is whether they are allowed to own a gun. While most States in the US have provisions similar to the Second Amendment in their constitutions, there are a few exceptions such as California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York. These states have much more restrictive gun control laws and regulations on gun ownership. Therefore gun enthusiasts might want to dismiss these states as friendly options.

The Right to Carry

The right to carry (RTC) allows citizens to carry concealed handguns, with or without a permit, issued by the state. Speaking about the best states, you might want to also focus on the states that don’t require permits to carry a gun.

In 2024 29 states have “permitless carry” laws: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming.

How About Open Carry?

You might be a gun owner who wants to open carry your gun. This means that the firearm is visible to the people in public places. For this, you might need a permit or not.

Open carry states without permit are all states except Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and South Carolina where you need a special permit.

Black Rifles

If you’re a handgun owner you might focus on permitless carry states. But what if you want to own a “black rifle”?

Black rifles are military-style rifles with specific designs and features. They commonly use black polymer gunstocks (instead of wood), are semi-automatic, and have light builds. AR-15 and AK are good examples of black rifles.

These firearms are also known by the controversial term “assault weapons”.

The majority of states permit the ownership of these rifles. Still, there are states such as Minnesota and Virginia, where stricter background checks and training are required to purchase assault weapons compared to regular firearms.

Currently #State_assault_weapon_bans” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>10 states have banned these arms: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

According to the Guns&Ammo 2023 ranking, the top 10 states with the highest scores in the ‘black rifle’ factor are Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, Arizona, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Kansas, and Alaska.

Black Rifles

National Firearms Act (NFA) Application

The NFA was enacted in 1934. Its purpose is to regulate the sales, transfer, and possession of specific firearms like machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, firearm mufflers and ‘silencers’ (suppressors). As you can see, alongside guns, there are mufflers and suppressors, which are not guns.

Why is the state application of the NFA a factor? Because under this act, a state might decide to ban civilians from possessing suppressors. Eight states did it: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. The state of Connecticut allows silencer ownership but prohibits their use while hunting.

What Is the Castle Doctrine?

The Castle Doctrine, also called a castle law, is a legal principle that protects a person’s home or any place they legally occupy and allows them to defend themselves, including using deadly force against intruders without facing legal consequences. However, there are 11 states where a duty to retreat is imposed: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

In a context of self-defense rights you might keep in mind those states. Always check with an attorney to make sure you understand your rights in your state.

Hunting Opportunities

If you’re a hunter, the choice of the best state is hardly based on gun regulations. It would be based on whether the state offers the best conditions for hunting. Such states include Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Arizona, Wisconsin, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota, and Louisiana.

The federal laws set the baseline for firearm ownership but state laws can be more specific. For instance background checks, minimum age requirement, prohibitions related to mental illness or domestic violence, waiting periods, reporting requirements, additional permits and more.

Economic Impact and Gun Ownership

Owning a gun in the U.S. is part of the cultural and national identity, which also means a well-developed gun industry that creates jobs – about 390,000 in 2022. The industry’s economic impact is also rising every year (from $63.5 billion in 2020 to $70.52 billion in 2021).

The top 10 states by the number of jobs in the gun industry are Texas, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota. As you can see, California is among the most unfriendly states for weapon owners but ranks second for jobs in the gun industry. Keep this in mind if you’re choosing your dream state based solely on job opportunities.

A strong sign for a friendly state is also the number of gun owners. Leading states are Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, West Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Dakota and North Dakota where more than 50% of adults own guns.

Best States for Gun Owners

In the end It is an almost impossible task to choose which are the best states. But it is safe to say that the South, West, and Midwest dominate thanks to their friendly laws, high gun ownership, and economic impact. Examples include Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Arkansas, and South Virginia.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, the best states for gun owners are those where certain basic factors match one’s life priorities. If you are a hunter, you might join hunter communities in Alaska or Ohio. If you want to possess guns like AR-15s, Wyoming or Idaho might be on your radar. If you prioritize concealed carry or self-defense, you might stay away from states where a duty to retreat is imposed. In any case, rankings are indicative; the most important piece are the conclusions you will reach after personal research.

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