Potential gun law changes have been flooding the news and social media headlines for quite some time now. The issue fades into the background every so often and re-emerges when the media explodes with news about the latest attack taking place in the country.

In some states, it is more difficult to acquire firearms than in others and there are some pretty heated debates going on right now around gun rights and the availability of firearms.

Guns provide a way to defend ourselves, family and property. It’s important to know which states stand with liberty and freedom for its citizens.

Without getting too deep into the politics involved, let us take a look at some the best and worst states for gun owners right now. Does yours make the list?

The 5 Best States


arizonaPhoto Credit

Arizona is arguably the best state in the country right now for gun owners. Arizona does not require a license to acquire a firearm and there is no permit required for open OR concealed carry. Arizona still holds to the ‘Stand your ground’ and ‘Castle Doctrine’ laws, protecting owners legally and allowing for use of force in self-defense of yourself or your home.

There are also plenty of shooting ranges and gun stores and shows making this a great place to be welcomed as a gun owner in the United States.


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Alaska is another place that does not require permits to obtain or carry firearms. There is plenty of dangerous wildlife in Alaska, which is one of the main reasons for their leniency. You basically have free reign outside of any federal laws. The only restriction is that it is illegal to carry a firearm while intoxicated or have any firearms inside businesses that serve alcohol.


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Utah allows for open carry without a permit and concealed carry permits are given out on a “shall issue” basis. “Shall issue” means that if you provide basic information to the sheriff, they will (shall) issue you a license. There are other states that have a procedure called “may issue”. May issue means even if you give basic information to the sheriff, they may or may not issue you the permit.

The gun laws in Utah are designed to protect the rights of the 2nd amendment and the state has an overall welcoming view of firearms in general, making this another great place for gun owners.


kentuckyPhoto Credit

With slightly more strict but still pretty lenient gun laws, Kentucky is still a good place for gun owners. They have the Castle Doctrine law which allows them to protect their home and property in the way they see fit.

As of last year, their concealed carry laws have gotten even less restrictive, which means they’re on their way to an even freer and liberated society.


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Texas has always been known for their gun loving residents, and this year the laws are allowing open carry of certain guns without a license. Handguns are not allowed to be carried openly without a license at this time. Also, concealed carry still requires a permit, but is available to residents and nonresidents. Texans are also allowed to tote long guns around as long as it’s not threatening.

3 Worst States


Even though it seems like a nice midwestern state, Illinois has some of the most restrictive gun laws. You must have a license to purchase any firearm or ammo. That’s right, even ammo.

There’s no way to walk into a store and walk out with a gun the same day. Illinois requires a 3 day waiting period on handguns and 1 day for long guns.


This one is particularly terrible due to its ‘may issue’ system. A person must submit their fingerprints to the police department when trying to purchase a handgun. In order to get a license, they require that someone provides actual evidence that they need a firearm to protect themselves. Along with these huge barriers to the rights we have from the second amendment, certain firearms aren’t allowed and magazines are severely limited.


Just recently Hawaii’s already restrictive gun laws just became worse. Now, any gun owner in Hawaii is put into a national database that is owned by the FBI. This is extremely controversial because it does nothing to actually address public safety, and only targets those trying to protect themselves.

Along with the recent development, Hawaiians have been facing restrictions like proving a good reason to have a permit and limited magazine capacity.

Clearly, the laws in each state are quite different and some are more embracing of 2nd amendment rights than others. If you are a gun owner looking for a place that is more welcoming than your current state, you may want to consider moving to one of these more liberty-minded states that allow for their people to have more freedom over their firearms.

Do you agree with the list? Have you run into any issues when trying to purchase a firearm? Or even ammo or accessories like a gun safe? Being from Pennsylvania, the worst I’ve had to deal with is my local Wal-mart running out of .22lr.

Related Posts:
Top 10 Popular Guns for Home Defense
9 Critical Questions Before Buying a Gun Safe

Leave a Comment:

Marge says August 15, 2016

Hi! My current state and the state I’m getting to move to aren’t on the list. The biggest problem is travel. We often travel through states or visit states that have restrictive gun laws or that don’t have concealed carry reciprocity. It sucks because you’re faced with choosing between breaking a law or protecting yourself. We shouldn’t be put in that position in the first place!

    Lauren says August 15, 2016

    Yes, travel can make things tricky since each state varies. Many bordering states to PA have very restrictive gun laws, so I’m unable to carry outside of the state most times I travel. Thanks for bringing up that point!

LivingOnYourPatio says August 15, 2016

It would be interesting to know how gun crime varies between the best and the worst states. I bet the additional restrictions in the worst states do nothing at all to reduce gun crime. I’m in the UK so would go to jail for even touching a gun.

    Lauren says August 15, 2016

    That’s a great idea and it’d be a very good article to write about. Perhaps I’ll do some research and find out.

Quinn says August 15, 2016

Kentucky allows open carry without a permit as well as carrying in your car in a manufacturer-installed container (like your glove box or center console). But close neighbor Indiana does not allow. There are still no 22s available at Wal-Mart, though. Big empty space all the time.

Eric says August 15, 2016

I’m glad you mentioned Illinois, home to the great gun-free paradise of Chicago.
Sigh…It’s dangerous times when a supposedly free person has to prove to their masters that they have the right to defend themselves.

    Lauren says August 15, 2016

    I very much agree! We are upon dangerous times indeed.

Gwen says August 17, 2016

We travel for a living with my husband’s job. I can agree that Texas is the friendliest state I’ve traveled in/through. For the gun owner and otherwise as well. Montana would be second in friendliness but I don’t know a lot about their current gun laws.
Our permanent residence is in one of the states not listed and it’s semi-friendly but there are always rules, rules, and more rules.
Love the information and the beautiful pictures as well. It makes me want to get out and play with my camera!

    Lauren says August 17, 2016

    Yes there are laws upon laws and they all differ! I reside in a middle of the road state myself. Luckily hunting is part of the culture where I live, so there would be uproar if that changed. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

Jason says October 16, 2016

Please correct your information about Texas. While Texas is a decent state for gun owners(there are much better states) We CANNOT open carry a handgun without a license. We can however open carry a rifle(as mentioned) without a permit. Hope this helps some people avoid any problems with our law enforcement.

    Lauren says October 16, 2016

    Thanks, Jason for the clarification. I’ll be updating the post shortly!

P Vega says October 30, 2016

Many have conducted studies on the subject which supports the position that states with strict gun laws reduce crimes, in fact some of these state have the most highest rates of gun homicide due to the unpopular fact that criminals do not attain their guns legally in stores, case and point “Chicago, New York, New Jersey, California, D.C.”

Donald Jones says February 16, 2017

Please look/review California for 2017 (it certainly has become a very, very anti-gun state). I was born here and at almost a seven decade life…I really need to get moved to another state for the remainder of my life.

Larry says February 21, 2017

I am surprised Alabama never makes the list of “gun friendly” states. We are a “shall issue” state that does not even require any training or qualification. The permits are usually issued within an hour of applying. Carrying a firearm in your car is even allowed without a permit. Any law enforcement officer who retired in good standing can obtain a free lifetime carry permit. There is no charge by LE for the required NCIC check when purchasing a firearm. And of course no registration is required for any firearm. We have the Castle doctrine as well as stand your ground laws. We may have had some unfortunate racial issues in the 60’s but Alabama today is more racially harmonious than any of the northern states…

Walter says April 6, 2017

New Hampshire is also a “shall issue” state. In fact, as of late February 2017, you don’t even need a license to carry a loaded, concealed firearm. Of course, this could change with a change in administration, but we’ve been a “shall issue” state as long as I can remember.

David says April 30, 2017

Arizona does require a permit and training: http://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/03112.htm

Jaymz says May 29, 2017

NEW JERSEY should be in the top 5. Need gun license & 3 day wait on hand guns, which I am fine with. The bad. restrictive on caliber size, no more than 10 round clips, just about impossible for carry permit if not in law enforcement, very few gun stores / ranges. The few ranges charge high prices for memberships. Need firearms license even to LOOK at BB/pellet guns.

Gerald says June 19, 2017

I use to live in western Nebraska who you would think would be a very gun friendly state but it’s not. If you try to carry open carry which is legal you can still get picked up and find under what they term as a nurceint violation. So you can get a concealed permit which is very extensive background check and finger printing. A couple of years ago I moved to Arizona and so glad that I live in a state that is truely the land of the free

Thomas Wood says July 14, 2017

Wow, interesting that one of the top states in the nation in regards to gun violence (Illinois) is also one with the most stringent gun laws??
I moved to Utah from California 5 years ago and our gun rights are much closer to the 2nd amendment here, in my opinion! I can walk into a gun store, purchase a handgun, and be shooting in the woods a half hour later! In Cali, yeah…waiting periods, background checks on top of other background checks, ammo/magazine restrictions, has to be locked and stored away from ammo during any transportation, the list goes and on and on!
I don’t have the actual numbers in front of me at this moment, but I have researched the subject extensively. When you take away “suicide by gun” and only count violent crimes involving firearms, Illinois/Chicago was in the top few states with the most gun violence. Interesting that they also topped the list for the most restrictive state in regards to gun laws…
Laws and restrictions only keep firearms out of the hands of law abiding citizens!

Guk says July 24, 2017

personally I feel there only needs to be 1 gun law, no guns for those convicted of violent crimes. I’m not even completely against a felon having a gun so long as the crime they were convicted of was not a violent crime.
My personal feelings on gun laws are “They only affect those who will follow them in the first place” and
Bo Giggly gangbanger or Buck Pawsalot liquor store robber wont be following gun laws anyway, So what’s the point of restricting the folks who aren’t going to be breaking laws in the first place..

But I can see having laws in place where if you do commit a crime while armed your screwed hard.

Leo says September 14, 2018

New Hampshire always been gun owner friendly and even more so as of 2017 no License needed to buy or carry, hope it always stay that way?

Ted says April 27, 2020

What guns nuts ignore is when a strict state borders a crack state , like Illinois , Cali, ny, and it’s neighbors, the crazies buy in gun nut states and kill in the sane states. If the laws were federal that wouldn’t happen,

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