Are you a proud gun owner who wants to live in a state that respects the 2nd Amendment? Well, here are eight states you should move to that fit that bill.
Though federal gun laws are applicable across the entire country, there is quite a bit of variation in laws and attitudes towards gun rights among the individual states. Some states (particularly in the South and West) have very strong gun and hunting cultures, which are reflected in their gun laws. Others, (particularly in the Northeast) have attitudes that are considered by many to be outright hostile to gun owners and the 2nd Amendment.
While there are many states that are great locations for gun owners, there are a few that clearly stand apart from the rest. In this list, these states were evaluated on the restrictions they place upon concealed (and open) carry, their laws concerning self-defense, and the general strength of their "gun culture."
If you care about gun owners' rights, scroll down to see the eight states you should move to.
Like what you see here? You can read more great hunting articles by John McAdams at The Big Game Hunting Blog. Follow him on Twitter @TheBigGameHunt.
Like many states in the southeast United States, Georgia is very friendly to gun owners. The state has a "shall issue" concealed carry permit system that became even more friendly to gun owners after the state enacted the "Guns Everywhere" law in 2014 which (among other things) legalized concealed carry by license holders in hospitals, churches, restaurants, and bars. The state also has "Stand Your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" laws on the books to protect law-abiding citizens who use firearms in self defense. Georgia also has a strong culture of hunting and shooting. Not surprisingly, the state is also home to several gun companies such as Daniel Defense, Glock USA, and H&K USA.
Kentucky is another great state for gun owners. The state has a "Castle Doctrine" law and a "shall issue" concealed carry permit system. Kentucky is also very good about honoring concealed carry permits from virtually all other states and over 30 other states recognize concealed carry permits from Kentucky. Like the other states on this list, Kentucky also has a strong culture of hunting and shooting. This is particularly evident in the twice yearly machine gun shoot and gun show at Knob Creek, Kentucky. The event is the largest in the world of its kind and if you've never been, I highly recommend checking it out.
Texas has a well-deserved reputation as being very friendly to gun owners. This is true: there are few laws on the books restricting the ability of law-abiding citizens from purchasing guns and ammunition. Texas does have a "shall issue" concealed carry permit system, which is recognized by over 30 other states. Additionally, Texas recently legalized open carry for those who hold a valid concealed carry license. Texas also has "Stand Your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" laws on the books, protecting the right of law-abiding gun owners to use guns in self-defense situations.
In addition to all of this, Texas has a very strong gun culture. This should not be surprising considering that Texans own approximately 20% of all the guns in the United States, which is more guns than the residents of any other single state. The fact that the state has literally millions of gun owners (including the governor), explains why guns are so deeply rooted into the culture of the state. With all of this in mind, Texas is a great state for you to move to as a gun owner if you want to live in a state that has a strong respect for the 2nd Amendment.
Kansas did not allow concealed carry of handguns until 2006, when the legislature passed legislation over Governor Kathleen Sebelius' veto. Though it was one of the last states to legalize concealed carry, Kansas has come a long way in the last decade.
In 2015, Governor Sam Brownback signed legislation making Kansas a "Constitutional Carry" state. Now, no license is required for law abiding citizens over the age of 21 to openly carry a firearm or to carry one concealed.
That being said, the state still has a "shall issue" concealed carry program for Kansas residents who want to carry handguns in states that recognize a Kansas license. Additionally, the state also has legislation on the books preventing local jurisdictions from enacting gun control legislation.
All in all, Kansas is certainly one of the best states for gun owners. What a difference a few years makes!
In addition to offering some outstanding hunting opportunities, Montana is also a paradise for gun owners. Open carry and permit-less concealed carry (outside of city limits) are both legal in Montana. Montana is also a "shall issue" state when it comes to concealed carry permits, allowing permit holders to carry within city limits and in over 20 other states that recognize Montana concealed carry permits. Montana also has "Stand Your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" laws on the books.
The gun culture in Montana is also very strong. Though the state doesn't have nearly as many guns as Texas does, mainly because the population is so much smaller, the percentage of the state population that owns guns is probably higher in Montana. Due in part to the friendly atmosphere towards guns in the state, there are a number of firearms manufacturers that call Montana home. As a law-abiding gun owner, you will likely feel right at home in Montana.
Not surprisingly, the politically conservative state of Utah also makes this list. There are very few gun control laws on the books in Utah. For instance, open carry is legal in Utah and the state has a "shall issue" concealed carry permit system. Their concealed carry permit system is one of the most popular in the country, with thousands of non-residents applying for Utah concealed carry permits in order to take advantage of the fact that the permit is so widely recognized (36 other states recognize a Utah concealed carry permit). Like Texas and Montana, Utah also has "Stand Your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" laws on the books to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens who use their guns for self-defense.
Also known as the "Cowboy State," Wyoming has a gun culture that reflects this nickname. As is expected with a state proudly displaying such an ingrained frontier culture, citizens of Wyoming are subject to very few gun control regulations. Open carry and concealed carry are both legal without permits in Wyoming. However, Wyoming also has a "shall issue" concealed handgun permit system to enable citizens to carry a concealed handgun when visiting states that have reciprocity agreements with Wyoming. Unsurprisingly, Wyoming also has "Stand Your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" laws on the books to protect gun owners who use their guns in self-defense situations.
Like Montana, Wyoming has a very large number of guns "per capita." Since Wyoming has the smallest population of any state in the country, Wyoming does not have the sheer numbers of guns that Texas or even California does. However, the state probably has a higher percentage of gun owners than any other state. All of these factors combine to make Wyoming an ideal destination for a gun owner who wants to live in a gun-friendly state.
Self-reliance is a very important trait for citizens of Alaska to possess. Not only does the state experience some of the coldest temperatures in the country, but there are any number of large and dangerous creatures that can kill a human without batting an eye. This, coupled with the fact that the state is extremely large and it can take a long time for help to arrive, owning a gun is almost a requirement for many citizens of Alaska. Not surprisingly, the state has very few gun control laws on the books.
Citizens may carry firearms openly and concealed without a permit. However, like Wyoming, Alaska has a "shall issue" concealed handgun permit system to enable citizens to carry a concealed handgun when visiting states that have reciprocity agreements with Alaska. Unsurprisingly, Alaska also has "Stand Your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" laws on the books to protect gun owners who use their guns in self-defense situations. The state's great reputation as being friendly towards gun owners, coupled with the excellent hunting and fishing, makes Alaska a great destination for gun owners.
Like many of the other states on this list, Arizona has a gun culture that is deeply intertwined with daily life in the state. Among many other great things about gun ownership in Arizona, the state is home to the world famous Gunsite Academy. The state also has an abundance of places to go shooting. Couple those things with the very minimal gun regulation in the state, and you've got quite a place for gun owners.
No permit is required for either open or concealed carry in Arizona. Like Wyoming and Alaska, Arizona offers citizens the opportunity to purchase a "shall issue" concealed carry permit so that residents may travel to other states and carry a concealed while there. The state is also very good about recognizing concealed carry permits from other states. Arizona is also a "Stand Your Ground" and a "Castle Doctrine" state and has strong legal protections for gun owners and manufacturers. As a law-abiding gun owner, Arizona is a great destination if you want to live in a state with a very strong respect for the 2nd Amendment.