State-by-State Open Carry Laws in the U.S.

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 29, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Between varying state laws and the seemingly continuous legal challenges, it can be hard to keep track of which open carry gun laws apply in which states (and to which guns). Lucky for us, Thomson Reuters put together a handy interactive map displaying which states allow open carry, which restrict it, and which prohibit it, and how the law differs from hand guns to long guns. (Disclosure: Thomson Reuters is FindLaw's parent company.)

So now you have open carry laws from all 50 states in one map, and can easily tell whether you need a license or a permit to open carry in your state.

Patchwork Prohibitions

The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, but state and federal legislatures and courts have been struggling to figure out the limits of Second Amendment protections on gun ownership and possession. There has also been a lack of consistency in state gun control laws, with some states far more restrictive than others.

For instance, California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina and the District of Columbia all prohibit open carry of hand guns. Florida, Illinois, and D.C. -- along with Minnesota, Massachusetts, and New Jersey -- also ban open carry of long guns like rifles and shotguns.

Meanwhile, 23 states (including Oregon, Colorado, and Ohio) don't require any permit or license to open carry handguns, and an additional 15 allow open carry of long guns with no permit or license required.

While having the map is great, it's no substitute for legal advice from a local attorney. An experienced lawyer in your area will be able to advise you on the current state of gun control laws where you live, as well as any upcoming changes.

In the current political climate, there's a lot of heated rhetoric about gun laws, as well as heightened tensions between citizens and police. So the best course of action is to be sure you're abiding by any and all gun control laws to avoid unnecessary legal friction or accidents. Contact an attorney near you today.

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