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Legal Without a Permit
Legal With a Permit
Anomalous Open Carry

Open Carry States 2024

Open Carry States 2024

Open carry refers to carrying firearms openly so that they are visible, often in a holster. Open carry differs from brandishing a firearm; where open carry involves having a firearm visible but holstered, branding a firearm refers to having a gun in one's hands, especially in a combat or firing position. Brandishing a weapon is generally illegal, as the action typically carries a threat of violence.

In the United States, each state has its own laws regarding guns. While gun ownership is legal in every state, several states have restrictions on how those firearms are carried. Concealed carry, in which an individual carries a firearm so that others cannot see it, is less controversial and more widely regulated than open carry. While most states have historically prohibited or strongly regulated open carry, laws have changed swiftly in the past 30 years. Today, only thirteen states regulate or restrict open carry.

State laws regarding open carry fall into several categories: permissive, permissive with restrictions, licensed open carry states, and those in which open carry is prohibited. Permissive states allow non-prohibited citizens to open carry without requiring a permit or license. Most states fall into this category. There are also slight variations in regulations for handguns versus long guns.

Open Carry of Handguns

Thirty-six states are permissive and allow the open carrying of a handgun without a permit or license. Seven of these states have some restrictions on the open carrying of handguns. North Dakota, for example, allows for open carry of a firearm without a permit, provided the gun is unloaded. The state requires an individual to obtain a license to open carry a loaded weapon.

Nine states require a permit to open carry a handgun, while four states, California, Florida, Illinois, and New York, prohibit it entirely. Open carry is also not permitted in the District of Columbia.

It is important to note that, even in permissive open carry states, firearms may still be prohibited in specific locations, such as churches, schools, public transportation, places where alcohol is sold, and state-owned buildings.

Open Carry of Long Guns

Forty-four states permit openly carrying a long gun without a special license. Iowa, Tennessee, and Utah require that the gun be unloaded. Hawaii and Massachusetts require a permit to carry a long gun. Four states, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, and Illinois, prohibit the practice altogether.

The open carrying of long guns is commonly seen in acts of protest or demonstration. In recent years, many of these protests have been targeted at private companies. Private companies have the right to restrict firearms on their premises, but activists have attempted to push back against this practice by showing up while openly carrying.

Open Carry States 2024

  • While most states either permit or prohibit open carry with or without a permit, Anamalous Open Carry States have variable rules. In anomalous open carry states, open carry is permitted by state law, but may be restricted by individual counties or municipalities. Guidelines may also give residents different privileges than non-residents.

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Open Carry Status
Minimum Age
Additional Details
AlabamaLegal Without a Permit18
AlaskaLegal Without a Permit21
ArizonaLegal Without a Permit18
ArkansasLegal Without a Permit18
DelawareLegal Without a Permit18
IdahoLegal Without a Permit18
IndianaLegal Without a Permit18
IowaLegal Without a Permit21
KansasLegal Without a Permit18
KentuckyLegal Without a Permit18
LouisianaLegal Without a Permit18
MaineLegal Without a Permit21
MississippiLegal Without a Permit18
MontanaLegal Without a Permit18
NevadaLegal Without a Permit18
New HampshireLegal Without a Permit18
New MexicoLegal Without a Permit19
North CarolinaLegal Without a Permit18
Some localities can restrict where users are legally allowed to open carry. Such rules may differ fr...
OhioLegal Without a Permit18
OklahomaLegal Without a Permit21
PennsylvaniaLegal Without a Permit21
Legal except in vehicles. Also, not permitted in Philadelphia
South DakotaLegal Without a Permit18
TennesseeLegal Without a Permit21
18 for military
TexasLegal Without a Permit21
Weapon must be holstered
UtahLegal Without a Permit21
VermontLegal Without a Permit18
VirginiaLegal Without a Permit18
Some localities can restrict where users are legally allowed to open carry. Such rules may differ fr...
WashingtonLegal Without a Permit21
Legal, except in vehicles.
West VirginiaLegal Without a Permit18
WisconsinLegal Without a Permit18
WyomingLegal Without a Permit18
ConnecticutLegal With a Permit21
Although technically legal, an appellate court has recognized that “depending on the specific circum...
GeorgiaLegal With a Permit21
18 for military; Open carry is not addressed in the new constitutional carry bill
HawaiiLegal With a Permit21
Only valid in the county for which the permit was issued
MarylandLegal With a Permit21
18 for employment purposes
MassachusettsLegal With a Permit
Only if individual has a current, valid Class B permit/license. No new class B licenses are being is...
MinnesotaLegal With a Permit21
New JerseyLegal With a Permit21
Open carry is not explicitly prohibited in New Jersey law.
North DakotaLegal With a Permit18
Rhode IslandLegal With a Permit21
Only with a permit issued by the Attorney General
South CarolinaLegal With a Permit21
It is generally prohibited to carry a firearm openly in California. However, the sheriff of any coun...
District of ColumbiaIllegal
Only permitted when engaged in fishing, camping, lawful hunting or target practice at an indoor rang...
New YorkIllegal
ColoradoAnomalous Open Carry18
MichiganAnomalous Open Carry18
The gun must be registered in carrier's name. Non-residents must have a valid permit from a state th...
MissouriAnomalous Open Carry19
18 for military
NebraskaAnomalous Open Carry18
OregonAnomalous Open Carry18
showing: 51 rows