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The Best States for Gun Owners in 2020

Best States For Gun Owners

These are some of the best states for gun owners in 2020.

Looking to move someplace new in the United States in 2020? Searching for a state that doesn't have gun control laws quite as strict as where you currently live? We have some suggestions for some of the best states for gun ownership right now.

We considered things like background checks, the ease of obtaining concealed carry permits, carry laws, self-defense laws, gun ownership and the general gun culture of the populace.

These are our picks for the best states for second amendment enthusiasts in 2020.

Texas

The Lone Star state has no shortage of gun lovers. Texas is a Shall Issue state, meaning they can't deny you for a concealed carry permit if you meet all the legal criteria for a permit. Texas state laws honor permits from every state except Rhode Island and Ohio. Open carry is also legal here.

If you're a college student concerned about safety in the classroom these days, Texas is one of the few states to allow campus carry of handguns. Although each school has a differing policy on carry, you'll want to make sure you check ahead of time.

Texas' gun laws also have strong self-defense sections like Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground that give more leeway for using a firearm in a self-defense scenario.

Overall, Texas is a great state for second amendment enthusiasts. It's little wonder so many of our favorite YouTube gun channels like Demolition Ranch call it home.

Alaska

The Last Frontier is considered one of the best states for gun rights in the United States, even if it is separated from the lower 48 by thousands of miles. But some gun owners like it for that isolation.

This a wild, untamed state where almost everyone you encounter is going to be a gun owner. For the serious hunter, Alaska is a paradise.

Alaska has Stand Your Ground laws, Shall Issue permits, and permitless carry. On top of all that, they also honor permits from every other state. Yes, even strict gun control states like California, Maryland, Illinois and northeast states like Massachusetts and New York.

This is also one of the few states where "No Guns" signs do not have force of law behind them, although you will have to leave a place if asked by the owners or law enforcement.

The list of places where carry is completely off-limits is short, limited mostly to schools, hospitals and governmental buildings. The downside to Alaska is that because of how isolated it is, everything is more expensive there. Expect to pay much more for both guns and ammo, but you probably won't be judged for owning them.

Arizona

This one flies under the radar a bit, but it should be thought of as one of the best states to bear arms. We're guessing residents like it that way, but Arizona has carry laws that greatly favor the gun owner. This is another permitless state where anyone 21 and older can carry concealed.

Arizona has both Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws; the list of places you can't carry is again short. Included on this list are obvious ones like polling places or correctional facilities.

This is another great place for the hunting enthusiast, as Arizona is an underrated deer and elk hunting state.

This state has a gun culture that is deeply embedded in everyday life and it's likely not going to change anytime soon, despite nearby May Issue states like California. It's a prime retirement spot for gun enthusiasts who might not want to deal with the cold of a northern state anymore.

Utah

Utah has Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine self-defense laws on the books and is a Shall Issue and permitless carry state. The usual restrictions about courtrooms, hospitals and prisons exist, but that's not surprising.

Utah also offers non-resident provisional permits, one of the few states to do so. Strangely enough, nearby New Mexico does not honor Utah permits, so that's something to keep in mind if you like to travel around the American southwest.

The good news is Utah has an ingrained gun and hunting culture that makes it easy to fit in for anyone looking for a change of scenery. It also has excellent mule deer and elk hunting for the gun owner looking for a place to consistently harvest big game.

Montana

Big Sky Country is a gorgeous and very gun friendly state seeped in outdoor traditions of hunting and fishing. Montana is a Shall Issue state and does have permitless carry, albeit limited to very specific circumstances. We'd recommend just getting a permit.

All of Montana's neighboring states honor their concealed carry permits. A couple things to keep in mind with Montana are that you're not allowed to conceal carry in a bank or at an ATM. They also have a subsection of rules where a landlord can prohibit firearms ownership. If you're renting, you might want to ask to avoid unpleasantries.

Aside from a few little quirks, Montana is a great state for firearms owners and the scenery and wildlife are hard to beat in the lower 48.

Georgia

The Peach State is right in the heart of the conservative south and not surprisingly, has a very gun-friendly atmosphere and laws. Georgia is Shall Issue with Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws to protect you in case you ever must use your firearms. If you're a resident, you can rest assured all neighboring states will honor your permit too.

Georgia has carry laws that are much more lax than other states. You might be surprised at some of the places you can carry, like college campuses and hospitals.

Mostly you must watch for places where federal law prohibits carry like in a National Park visitors center or other governmental building. On a visit a few years ago, I noticed there were rules on carrying in a few recreational areas. But for the most part there may be more areas for gun owners to legally carry in Georgia than there are in Texas, which is quite surprising!

Michigan

The Great Lakes State isn't a place that comes up on many of these lists. But I wanted to include a Midwestern state, and since it's my home I try to look on the bright side.

It is true that the laws here aren't as loose as some western and southern places, but it is indeed a gun-friendly state.

Michigan is Shall Issue. They honor permits from all other states and neighboring states of Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio honor Michigan permits.

Michigan has a genuine gun and hunting culture that only gets stronger the further north you go. Permits are good for an extended period before renewal.

The list of places where you can't carry is limited to the usual churches, schools and government buildings. Even if you don't buy a permit, buying a gun in Michigan is a fast process. I bought a semi-auto handgun a couple years ago and was out the door with it in about an hour. One extra cool thing Michigan does is streamline the buying process for new firearms if you have a concealed carry permit.

Kansas

The Sunflower State has both Shall Issue concealed carry permits and permitless carry. Kansas has gotten points from concealed carry enthusiasts in recent years for increasing the number of areas you can carry. Kansas also protects the ability for employees to carry a firearm. This includes schools and medical facilities.

"No Guns" signs do not carry force of law in Kansas. There are also rules allowing campus carry, although there may be regulations put in place by each school governing how you can carry them.

In the more rural areas, Kansas has a rich hunting and outdoor culture that embraces firearms. It's an especially great state to move to if you like deer and waterfowl hunting. The neighboring states of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri all honor Kansas permits. 

Idaho

The Gem State is often the first thing people think of when they hear the word potato, but it's also a great state for gun owners. Another Shall Issue state, Idaho has Stand Your Ground laws and honors the permits of all other states.

There aren't a lot of major cities here, so most people you'll encounter will be fellow hunters and fishermen. And many of them will also be packing. You'll have no problems carrying across state lines into Wyoming, Montana or Utah with an Idaho permit, but neighboring Oregon does not honor Idaho permits.

Washington honors only the "enhanced permits" offered by Idaho. Other than that, laws are mostly non-restrictive to gun owners.

Wyoming

The Equality State has the lowest population of the lower 48 but it is also one of the most gun friendly states in the American west. I lived in Wyoming for a short time and can attest to this fact personally. It's not uncommon to see residents open carrying here. The town I lived in had at least half a dozen gun shops and two firearms museums showcasing everything from cowboy revolvers to machine guns from the beaches of Normandy.

Wyoming is a Shall Issue state and has limited permitless carry. All surrounding states including Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota honor Wyoming permits. "No guns" signs do have force of law here, but before you think of that as a red flag, know that you're more likely to see "guns welcome" signs in many businesses.

This state is extremely underrated as a hunting location, hosting a little bit of everything in North American big game. A good place to go for the gun owner who wants hunting options and the ability to get away from it all.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels

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The Best States for Gun Owners in 2020