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Open Carry States: Which Ones Have Put It On the Books?

concealed carry

Here's which states do and don't require a permit or license to open carry in the United States.

While there are federal laws saying who can own firearms and how they can be carried, there is a web of state and local gun laws that law enforcement and gun owners must navigate regularly, and it can get pretty confusing.

Open carry is when a firearm is carried in plain sight, either in a holster or on a sling, in the case of a long gun. Concealed weapons are usually treated differently by state and local laws, though in some states, a permit isn't required for either. In some states, you need a permit to open carry any gun, in others, just handguns, and in still others, you need a permit to carry a firearm openly in a vehicle.

While the quick state-by-state guide to open carry laws below will give you a good idea of where you can and can't open carry, it does not serve as legal advice in any way. Please consult local laws and ordnances on your own and consult and attorney or state police officials about open carrying before you do so. 

Open carry states that don't require a permit of any kind to open carry any type of firearm on one's person are in all caps, though some require permits to carry firearms in vehicles or require permits in certain cities.

ALABAMA - Open carry without permit allowed.

ALASKA - Open carry without permit allowed.

ARIZONA - Open carry without permit allowed. State law does not preempt tribal laws on Native American reservations, except when traversing a reservation on a state-owned highway. Some tribes do not permit open carry, while some others may require a tribal permit for open carry.

ARKANSAS - Open carry without permit allowed.

California - Open carry legal in rural counties with local ordinances allowing open carry. Some of these counties issue a permit for open carry. Additionally, a person may also open carry if he or she "reasonably believes that any person or the property of any person is in immediate, grave danger and that the carrying of the weapon is necessary for the preservation of that person or property.

COLORADO - Open carry without a license permitted statewide, except in the City and County of Denver where open carry is completely prohibited.

Connecticut - Open carry of handguns allowed with Connecticut State Pistol Permit; permits issued on a may-issue basis, but in practice shall-issue. Open carry of long guns allowed without permit but several localities restrict and prohibit open carry of long guns. Persons with a State Pistol Permit exempt from local restrictions.

DELAWARE - Open carry without permit allowed.

District of Columbia - Open carry prohibited.

Florida - Open carry of all firearms prohibited.

Georgia - Open carry of handguns allowed with permit; permits issued on a shall-issue basis. Open carry of long guns allowed without a permit.

Hawaii - Open carry of handguns allowed with permit; permits issued on a may-issue basis but in practice are no-issue. Permits only valid in county of issuance. Local restrictions preempted. Open carry of long guns prohibited.

IDAHO - Open carry without permit allowed.

Illinois - Contentious. By law, open carry is legal in unincorporated, rural areas where it is permitted by local ordinance. However, the state Attorney General published an opinion stating open carry is prohibited statewide.

Indiana - Open carry of handguns allowed with permit; permits granted on a shall-issue basis. Local restrictions preempted. No permit required to carry long guns.

Iowa - Open carry allowed without permit outside city limits. Permit required inside city limits. Permits are issued on a shall-issue basis.

KANSAS - Open carry without permit allowed.

KENTUCKY - Open carry without permit allowed.

LOUISIANA - Open carry without permit allowed.

MAINE - Open carry without permit allowed.

Maryland - Open carry of handguns allowed with permit; permits issued on a may-issue basis but in practice are No-Issue. Open carry of long guns allowed without permit.

Massachusetts - Open carry allowed with Massachusetts Unrestricted License to Carry; permits issued by local authorities on a may-issue basis.

MICHIGAN - Open carry allowed without permit. Permit required if carrying in vehicle; permits issued on a shall-issue basis.

​Minnesota - Open carry allowed with a permit; permits issued on a shall-issue basis.

Mississippi - Open carry of handguns allowed without permit; permits issued on a shall-issue basis. No permit required to carry a long gun.

MISSOURI - Open carry without permit allowed. However, several cities and counties restrict open carry, at which point one must either 1. have a carry permit, thus exempting them from local restrictions on open carry or 2. carry concealed, which is allowed without a permit and localities are preempted.

MONTANA - Open carry without permit allowed.

NEBRASKA- Open carry allowed without permit except in Omaha, which restricts open carry of a loaded handgun. Persons with a concealed carry permit or an Omaha open carry permit are exempt from local restrictions. No local restrictions on open carry of long guns.

NEVADA - Open carry without permit allowed. Carrying loaded long guns in a vehicle prohibited.

NEW HAMPSHIRE - Open carry without permit allowed.

New Jersey - Open carry of handguns is technically allowed with a New Jersey Permit To Carry A Handgun, but permits are issued on a may-issue basis, and currently there is a no-issue practice in place, meaning very few if any permits are issued. A resident must have a subjective justifiable need to carry to receive permit. Open carry of long guns is allowed with a New Jersey Firearm Identification (FID) Card.

NEW MEXICO - Open carry allowed without permit. State law does not preempt tribal laws on Native American reservations, except when traversing a reservation on a state-owned highway. Some tribes do not permit open carry, while some others may require a tribal permit for open carry.

New York - Open carry of pistols and loaded long guns prohibited. Open carry of unloaded long guns allowed without permit except in New York City.

NORTH CAROLINA - Open carry without permit allowed.

North Dakota - Open carry of loaded handguns allowed with permit. Open carry of unloaded handguns during daytime (one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset) allowed without permit. No license required for open carry of long guns.

OHIO - Open carry allowed without permit. Permit required if carrying a loaded firearm in vehicle; No permit required if unloaded and in plain sight.

OKLAHOMA - Open carry allowed without permit as of November 1, 2019. Open carry of an unloaded handgun in a vehicle without permit allowed. Residents of states that do not require permits for concealed carry may openly carry with a valid ID proving residence.

OREGON - Open carry without permit allowed. However, several cities and one county restrict open carry of loaded firearms. Restrictions on carrying unloaded firearms preempted. Persons with an Oregon Concealed Handgun License exempt from local restrictions.

PENNSYLVANIA - Open carry without permit allowed. A permit is required if carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle. A permit is also required if carrying in the city of Philadelphia.

Rhode Island - Open carry of handguns allowed with a Rhode Island Attorney General's Office Pistol Permit; Issued on a may-issue basis. No permit required to carry long guns.

South Carolina - Open carry of a handgun is prohibited. Open carry of long guns without permit is allowed.

SOUTH DAKOTA - Open carry allowed without a permit.

Tennessee - Open carry of handguns allowed with permit. Open carry of long guns prohibited.

Texas - Open carry of handguns allowed with permit as long as it is in a belt or shoulder holster. Licenses granted on a shall-issue basis. Open carry of long guns allowed without a permit.

​Utah - Permit required to open carry a chambered firearm. Open carry of an unchambered handgun allowed without permit. No permit required in a vehicle for loaded handguns or unloaded long guns. Loaded long guns in vehicles are prohibited. No permit required to open carry unchambered long guns.

VERMONT- Open carry allowed without a permit. Requiring any type of gun permit to carry is prohibited by state constitution.

VIRGINIA - Open carry allowed without a permit. Local restrictions on carrying "assault weapons." Persons with a concealed carry permit are exempt from local restrictions.

WASHINGTON - Open carry without permit allowed. Local restrictions preempted. Permit required if carrying a loaded handgun in vehicle. Carrying loaded long guns in a vehicle prohibited.

WEST VIRGINIA- Open carry allowed without a permit.

WISCONSIN - Open carry allowed without a permit. Permit required if carrying a loaded handgun in vehicle.

WYOMING - Open carry allowed without a permit.

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