It’s interesting to approach someone and talk to them about what the best and worst states are for gun owners. That’s because “best” and “worst” in these instances are subjective.
You might have someone who feels like the best states for gun owners are the ones where getting a firearm is the most difficult. You might talk to the next person you meet, and they will feel the opposite. That is true because guns in America are a controversial subject, and different individuals feel all kinds of ways about them.
Let’s talk about some of the most restrictive states and permissive ones for gun owners. If you feel a certain way about this issue, you might choose one of these states based on its gun laws.
You Should Know Your Gun Ownership Rights
Before we get into which states are better and worse for gun owners, you should know about the Second Constitutional Amendment. As The Rodriguez Law Group notes on their website, “citizens have the right to bear arms” under it in most instances. However, there are some notable exceptions.
If you have been in prison, or you have something else troubling on your record, that might prohibit you from owning firearms in the future. Some states limit the ownership or use of particular models.
There’s also plenty of differences in how each state enacts its gun laws. You should understand this if you ever travel between states with a firearm. Some states do allow you to carry a concealed weapon as long as you have registered it, but others do not.
The Best States for Gun Owners
In this context, we’ll say that the “best” states for gun owners are those where you can access these weapons most readily. It’s easiest to get guns in these states, either because background checks don’t take as long, or else because those checks are a mere formality, and you’re likely to get a gun license even if you have a checkered past.
The best states for gun owners, according to these criteria, are Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, Alaska, and Idaho. As you can see, the Southwestern United States is one area where gun owners might enjoy living. Guns and Ammo magazine recommends living in these states if gun ownership concerns you.
The Worst States for Gun Owners
The worst states for gun owners, according to Guns and Ammo, are New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and California. This probably should not surprise anyone very much if you know anything about America’s political landscape.
The five states that Guns and Ammo says are worst for gun owners generally vote Democratic. They are “blue states,” though all of them have some more conservative pockets as well. Rarely will you find one of the fifty states that is universally politically conservative or liberal.
In these states, it’s harder for you to get any firearm, whether you’re in the market for a pistol, rifle, rifle with a high-capacity magazine, etc. When Guns and Ammo looked at these states, it also noted that some of them do not have Concealed Carry weapons permits at all. They also looked at laws like Stand Your Ground, Castle Doctrines, and similar statutes that let someone get away with using their firearm more easily.
Deciding Which State to Call Home
Many Americans want to own guns, but they want to do so legally. Of course, there are always the criminals who want to get their hands on weapons regardless of whether they do so lawfully or otherwise, but let’s concentrate on legal gun ownership for this article’s sake.
If you want to own legal firearms, such as if you’re a hunter, a collector, or you like the idea of a Concealed Carry law in your favor, you might decide to use this list to determine where to live. However, probably not as many Americans will use these recommendations as a main determining factor when deciding where they’re going to live and work.
The fact is, most individuals and families will want to factor in quite a bit more when deciding where they want to reside. They’ll take the weather into account, the job market, whether they have family in the area, etc. It’s the rare person that will determine where they want to live entirely based on that state’s gun laws.
If you do feel like gun ownership matters to you more than anything else, you might look at the Guns and Ammo assertion that these are the best and worst states and decide to live in one of them based solely on that. For most people, though, guns are a part of their lives, but they don’t completely determine their identity. Ownership is more of a hobby than anything else.
Individual State Rights Mean Different Gun Laws
As long as each state gets to determine much of their direction, though, you can always head to one that feels like you do about guns, and that is your right. States getting to maintain their laws and regulations matters a great deal. If you’re in a state that won’t let you have guns, won’t let you carry concealed, or doesn’t follow your general thinking in this area, you can always move.
There are many more guns here than in most countries and more private ownership. Many Americans seem to love firearms if the yearly sales numbers are any indication. That’s probably not about to change.
If you own guns or want to own them, and it matters a lot to you, look into the states we mentioned and others as well. A careful, side-by-side comparison might be what lets you select a region where you want to live, provided your career and domestic situation can also work there.
Owning guns illegally is the only other option, and you should make sure never to do that. Regardless of what state you’re in, if the police catch you with an unlicensed firearm, you could face serious legal repercussions.