State Gun Laws

In the United States, there are certain laws and regulations that each citizen must obey in order to sell, buy and use a gun. Some of these laws have federal and state origins. In fact, individual state laws vary, and sometimes hold broader or narrower limitations than the federal government-imposed restrictions. For example, several states have restricted the sale, purchase, and ownership of all assault weapons that are similar to the federal assault weapons ban that expired on September 13, 2004. The majority of U.S. states have a provision that reflects to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, except for California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York. However, the Supreme Court of the United States dictates that the Second Amendment overrides any state government-imposed provisions that limits the civil liberties of U.S. citizens.



  1. Alabama: The Constitution of Alabama dictates that every citizen has the right to bear arms and protect himself and the state. Prohibited firearms include: open-carry rifles and shotgun walking canes. Firearms are prohibited in gun-restricted areas, such as wildlife parks, public schools, courthouses, domestic violence shelters, and youth detention facilities. Prohibited persons prevented from owning a handgun include: persons convicted of a violent crime and drug addicts or alcoholics. All retailers must register all gun purchases, record the purchase and ownership details, and store it away for possible inspection. Handguns can not be concealed without a license, both on an individual's person or in their vehicle. All prospective owners must pass an FBI-sponsored background check.

  2. Alaska: The State of Alaska does not require a state permit or registration to purchase long or handguns. There are no restrictions on assault weapons. No owner license required for any firearm. Firearms can be concealed carried without a permit; however, permits are available upon request. No peaceable journey law exist for Alaskan residents.

  3. Arizona: The State of Arizona does not require a permit to purchase a long barrel or handgun. Firearm owners must partially register their firearms in accordance to the National Firearms Act. No assault weapons ban currently exist in Arizona. No owner license is required in the State of Arizona. A concealed weapons permit is not required in most places if over the age of 21; however, certain privileges are given to those who do obtain a concealed weapons permit. The State of Arizona has certain restrictions on NFA weapons, unless protected by federal law. No peaceable journey law restrictions currently exists in the State of Arizona.

  4. Arkansas: The State of Arkansas does not require a permit to purchase or register firearms. No assault weapons ban currently exist in Arkansas. An owner license is also not required if in possession of a firearm. The State of Arkansas requires a permit for concealed weapon carry and open carry is entirely restricted. A peaceable journey law does currently exist in the State of Arkansas.

  5. California: The State of California does not require a permit to purchase a firearm. Only handguns are required for registration under California law. California has imposed an assault weapons ban on all assault and .50 BMG rifles. Concealed carry permits are required in the State of California. Out-of-State permits are not valid within the State of California. NFA weapons are restricted. No peaceable journey laws currently exist.

  6. Colorado: The State of Colorado does require a permit to purchase long or handguns. Firearm registration is not required. The only city that has an assault weapons ban is Denver, Colorado. An ownership license is not required. The State of Colorado does permit open carry without a permit unless metropolitan laws exist, such as in Denver, Colorado. Residents can keep an unloaded long barrel gun in their vehicle. Handguns are permitted in the vehicle. NFA laws are not restricted. Peaceable journey laws do exist. A legal resident has the permission to defend themselves and their property with deadly force against intruders.

  7. Connecticut: The State of Connecticut does not require a permit to purchase long barreled guns; however, it does require a permit for handguns. No firearm registration is needed. An assault weapons ban exists for selective firearms and .50 BMG weapons. No owner license is required. Permits are needed to open or conceal carry all weapons. Selective NFA weapons are restricted. No peaceable journey laws exist in the State of Connecticut.

  8. Delaware: The State of Delaware does not require a permit to purchase, register, or own a firearm. No assault weapons ban exists in Delaware. Carry weapons restrictions do exist for handguns, but not for long barreled weapons. NFA weapons are restricted. No peaceable journey laws exist in Delaware.

  9. Washington D.C. (District of Columbia): All firearms must be registered with the local law enforcement department in accordance with the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975.

  10. Florida: The State of Florida does not require a permit to purchase, register, or own a firearm. No assault weapons restrictions exist in Florida. No carry restrictions exist for long barreled weapons; however, handguns do require a permit for concealed carry. NFA weapons are not restricted. No peaceable journey laws exist in Florida. No weapon can be open carried.

  11. Georgia: The State of Georgia does not require a permit to purchase, register, or own a firearm. No assault weapons restrictions currently exists. All firearms require a permit for concealed carry. No NFA weapons restrictions exist in Georgia. No peaceable journey laws exist. Only long barreled weapons can be open carried in Georgia without a permit.

  12. Hawaii: The State of Hawaii does not require a concealed weapon license; however, authorities may issue a request for acquiring a permit. Out of state concealed weapons licenses are not valid in Hawaii. Hawaii does require a permit to purchase, register, and own a firearm. It must be registered with by the local police department. Registrants must pass a criminal background check, mental health affidavit, and agree to releasing confidential health records. First time applicants are required to undergo fingerprinting by the FBI. Unloaded guns are allowed to be transported in a vehicle; however, loaded handguns will result in a Class A felony.

  13. Idaho: The State of Idaho does not require a permit to purchase, register, or own a firearm. No assault weapons restrictions exist in Idaho. Concealed carry permits are required for handguns. No NFA weapon restrictions or peaceable journey laws exist in Idaho.

  14. Illinois: The State of Illinois does require a permit to purchase a firearm; however, it does not require registration to own it. No assault weapons law currently exist in Illinois. Firearm owners must obtain a license. No carry permits are issued. NFA weapons restrictions do exist. No peaceable journey laws exist in Illinois.

  15. Indiana: The State of Indiana prohibits the regulation of owning firearms, ammunition, and shooting accessories. Indiana issues concealed handgun licenses, which allow for concealed and open carry of both long barreled and handgun weapons. Indiana honors out-of-state concealed handgun licenses.

  16. Iowa: The State of Iowa upholds a “shall issue” permit to carry all firearms. Applicants must complete an accredited training course before receiving their permits. Additionally, Iowa honors all out-of-state concealed licenses for non-residents. Permits are not required to purchase handguns if you already possess a concealed weapons license. Private citizens are not allowed to own assault weapons.

  17. Kansas: The State of Kansas has relatively non-restrictive firearm laws with the exception for the requirement of a permit to carry concealed handguns. Kansas permits the open carry of all firearms, and even restricted carrying firearms openly in the past. The State of Kansas has no restrictions on the sale and possession of NFA weapons.

  18. Kentucky: The State of Kentucky upholds a “shall issue” policy for all handgun sales. No permits are required for the purchase or possession of firearms. No assault weapons law currently exist in Kentucky. Carry permits are only required for handguns. No NFA restrictions or peaceable journey law exists in Kentucky.

  19. Louisiana: The State of Louisiana upholds a “shall issue” policy. All applicants must pass an NICS background check and must demonstrate handgun proficiency before being granted a permit. Concealed weapons licenses have restrictions to only permitted areas of an establishment. Louisiana currently has state preemption of firearms laws. Assault weapons are only to be possessed and distributed under the supervision of the Department of Public Safety.

  20. Maine: The State of Maine upholds a “shall issue” policy for all firearm registrations. Registrants must wait 30 days before receiving their permits. All permits are valid for a period of four years. A permit is required for concealed carry, but not for open carry transportation.

  21. Maryland: The State of Maryland does not have a provision to protect residents rights to bear arms. Firearms are prohibited in certain places, including schools, public demonstrations, and other social gatherings. Maryland upholds a “may issue” policy for all concealed carry weapons.

  22. Massachusetts: The State of Massachusetts requires a permit to purchase, possess, own, and distribute firearms. All applicants must undergo an investigation consisting of interviewing, fingerprinting, and paying fees in order to receive their permit. There are five different types of firearms licenses that grant privileges and restrictions for certain weapon classes.

  23. Michigan: The State of Michigan imposes several restrictions for owning and carrying handguns. Every person are allowed to own firearms to protect and defend himself and the state. A license must be obtained before purchasing, possessing, and using a firearm. The State of Michigan upholds a “shall issue” policy for all concealed carry permits.

  24. Minnesota: The State of Minnesota requires a state permit for all handguns, except for long barreled weapons. Minnesota has a partial ban on assault weapons. No ownership license is required for any type of firearm. Carry permits are required for handguns, but not for long barreled weapons. Minnesota does have restrictions for all NFA weapons.

  25. Mississippi: The State of Mississippi upholds a “shall issue” policy for concealed weapons. The local law enforcement department will issue a permit for all qualified applicants within a 45 day period. Additionally, a license is required for open carry.

  26. Missouri: The State of Missouri has a peaceable journey law, allows for open carry of all firearms, and restricts felons from possessing firearms.

  27. Montana: The State of Montana does not impose restrictions on firearm possession with the exception of a required permit for all concealed handguns. State preemption of local restrictions are included for both long barreled and handguns. No NFA weapons restrictions exist in Montana. Peaceable journey laws do exist for all Montana residents.

  28. Nebraska: The State of Nebraska does require a permit to purchase firearms. Omaha residents are required to register all handguns. Lincoln residents are prohibited from owning a firearm if convicted of certain misdemeanors within a ten year time span, such as stalking, impersonating an officer, and public indecency.

  29. Nevada: The State of Nevada does not require the registration of firearms. Nevada upholds a “shall issue” policy for all concealed carry weapons. Applicants must display tactical competencies of certain weapons for registration. Nevada is a traditional open carry state with preemption laws; however, some localities and jurisdictions have passed “deadly weapons” restrictions.

  30. New Hampshire: No license is required to openly carry a firearm in New Hampshire while on foot; however, a license is required when transporting weapons in a motor vehicle. A New Hampshire license is issued by the local mayor or police department. All residents must renew their license every four years.

  31. New Jersey: The Sate of New Jersey requires firearm owners to obtain a lifetime registration card in order to purchase additional firearms. Certain limits and restrictions are placed on certain types of ammunition and “deadly weapons.” Applicants must submit paperwork to the local police department in order to qualify for permits to carry and transport.

  32. New Mexico: The State of New Mexico does not require a permit to purchase, possess, carry, or use a firearm with the exception of concealed carry of all handguns. No NFA restrictions or Castle Doctrine exists in New Mexico. Property owners may prohibit open and concealed carry onto their properties if the owners post signs indicating this restriction.

  33. New York: The State of New York requires a permit to purchase, possess, carry, and use all handguns. Assault weapons restrictions do exist in New York. No permit is required to purchase or register a long barreled weapon. State preemption of local restrictions and peaceable journey laws do exist for all New York residents.

  34. North Carolina: The State of North Carolina requires all residents to report to the county sheriffs department in order to obtain a pistol purchase permit. All applicants must undergo an NICS background check and must pass a series of rigorous tests. North Carolina upholds a “shall issue” policy for all concealed carry permits. Open Carry is legal throughout North Carolina, except for a small town called Cary. North Carolina residents are forbidden from attending a public event with a firearm.

  35. North Dakota: The State of North Dakota upholds a “shall issue” policy for all concealed carry licenses. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation issues all concealed carry licenses to qualified applicants. Concealed weapons are not permitted at large social events and public gatherings. North Dakota currently has preemption state gun laws.

  36. Ohio: The State of Ohio does not require residents to obtain a permit for purchasing, possessing, owning, carrying or using a firearm with the exception of all handguns. Partial NFA weapon restrictions do exist in Ohio. State preemption laws also exist in Ohio.

  37. Oklahoma: The State of Oklahoma does not require resident to obtain a license for purchasing, possessing, owning, carrying or using a firearm with the exception of all handguns. No current assault weapons restrictions exist in Oklahoma. State preemption laws do exist for both barreled long guns and handguns. No NFA restrictions exist in Oklahoma.

  38. Oregon: The State of Oregon has a provision that protects the right to bear arms. Oregon upholds a “shall issue” policy for all concealed weapons. Oregon does not restrict the open carry of firearms. A concealed weapons license is required for all handguns in Oregon.

  39. Pennsylvania: The State of Pennsylvania has a provision that protects the right to bear arms for self-defense of both personal safety and the state preservation. No record or bit of information shall be required by the Pennsylvanian police department. Concealed weapons are prohibited at schools, courthouses, government facilities, transported in a vehicle without a license, or on public streets.

  40. Rhode Island: The State of Rhode Island upholds a “shall issue” policy for all concealed weapons. All applicants must enroll into an NRA safety course before receiving their license.

  41. South Carolina: The State of South Carolina upholds a “shall issue” policy for all concealed weapons licenses. South Carolina also has a Castle Doctrine, which protects homeowners from intruders by granting nonpunishable rights to legally shoot perpetrators who pose a danger to themselves, family, or property.

  42. South Dakota: The State of South Dakota upholds a “shall issue” policy for all concealed weapons owners. Concealed carry is not permitted at elementary and middle school environments. Applicants must fill out the needed paperwork and testing regimens to satisfy the laws of the state. Openly carry is legal in South Dakota.

  43. Tennessee: The State of Tennessee does not impose restrictions on all firearms with the exception of handgun concealed carry permits. No state preemption, NFA-classified guns, nor peaceable journey laws exists.

  44. Texas: The State of Texas does not require the purchasing, possessing, owning, and using firearms with the exception of handguns. State preemption laws and the Castle Doctrine all exist in Texas.

  45. Utah: The State of Utah does not require a permit to purchase, possess, or use a firearm. No assault weapons restrictions currently exist in Utah. Carry permits do exist for both long barreled and handguns. State preemption of local laws, NFA restrictions, and peaceable journey laws also exist for all Utah residents. Utah residents also have the right to protect their property from intruders up to and including fatality by force if necessary under the Castle Doctrine.

  46. Vermont: The State of Vermont has very few gun control restrictions. In fact, Vermont residents can open and conceal carry long barrel and handguns without a permit. Sate preemption of local laws do exist in Vermont.

  47. Virginia: The State of Virginia protects the rights of those to bear arms. The only prohibited firearms in Virginia include the Armsel Striker. All government facilities, public social gatherings and demonstrations are gun-free zones. Open carry of a handgun is legal for those over the age of 18; however, concealed carry is prohibited unless the owner obtains a CHP license.

  48. Washington: The State of Washington protections the individual's right to bear arms. State preemption laws do exist in Washington State. There are many places that strictly forbid firearms, including schools, courthouses, and other public properties. A Washington resident may open carry weapon without a permit, except if it's in a motor vehicle. Washington upholds a “stand your guard” policy.

  49. West Virginia: The State of West Virginia aims to protect the individual's right to bear arms in an attempt at self-defense. No firearms are prohibited by state law; however, some places restrict carrying weapons onto the property without consequence. Open carrying both long barrel and handguns is legal in West Virginia. Concealed weapons are strictly prohibited unless the owner also has a concealed weapons permit.

  50. Wisconsin: The State of Wisconsin recently became a “shall issue” state, whereby private residents could conceal carry handguns. Open carry of both long barrel and handguns is legal, except where prohibited by law. Certain convictions may limit or restrict a private citizens gun privileges.

  51. Wyoming: The State of Wyoming issues concealed weapons permits under a “shall issue” policy. Wyoming recognizes out-of-state concealed weapons licensing for a number of states with similar restrictions.