The right of the people to keep and bear arms is an amendment written into the Constitution at America's founding. Like the pursuit of liberty, this is a right integral to a truly democratic nation, one where individual freedoms are not limited in light of a higher power's interest.
However, America has an intriguing and healthy mixture of voices, many of which are pronounced in state laws. As such, gun owners may find some American states more suitable than others.
Here, we've compiled a list of the best states for gun owners. Is yours listed?
It's hard to define "best" in terms of gun regulation, as different views are even shared among gun advocates. Perhaps a better term, then, is "loosest."
Consider the recent plight of Jeffrey Scott Kirschenmann, who attempted to comply with California regulations by registering his AR-15 only to have his house raided and 12 felonies slapped on his record. You'll find no such states on this list.
Here, we're looking for states that keep the Second Amendment at their heart, allowing gun owners to enjoy some of the privileges the Founding Forefathers thought citizens deserved to have.
From the ability to carry without a permit, to allowing firearms in public places, these states are the very best for gun toters.
Arizona has long been touted as one of the friendliest states for gun owners and is often credited with having some of the least restrictive laws. Here, citizens over the age of 21 may carry a firearm openly or concealed weapon without a license.
More recently, a law was passed to prevent background checks for gun ownership. Furthermore, Phoenix is known across the nation for its competitive shooting culture.
Currently, illegal firearms are mostly restricted to automatic firearms and modified shotguns. A convicted felon whose crime involved violence is not permitted to possess a firearm, as well as anyone deemed a danger to himself or others and imprisoned individuals.
Like Arizona, permits are not necessary to carry an open or concealed firearm. This contrasts sharply with many other states where concealed carry permits are necessary.
Recently, Kansas enacted a law allowing permitless carry in public buildings. Public employees may even have a firearm with them at work and university students over 21 can carry at college.
Further, Black Rifles and NFA items are not prohibited in Kansas.
Missouri is one of a few states allowing open and concealed carry without a permit. In this state, those 19 and older are permitted to carry. Access is limited to felons or those deemed mentally unfit to handle weapons.
The Show-Me State also allows teachers to carry weapons at the discretion of their public schools.
It may surprise some, but Alaskans are no foe to pro-gun legislation. Permits are not required for open or concealed guns and local authorities cannot regulate firearms.
In an effort to avoid issues with other states, The Last Frontier offers concealed carry permits to avoid any complications when citizens wander beyond state lines.
Residents are permitted to carry in state parks as well as in liquor stores.
Wyoming also allows permitless carry for residents. Further, it recognizes permits from all states that issue them.
Wyoming is one of only a few states that does not have a law requiring mental health records to be submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The state also allows schools to decide if they want their teachers to carry firearms.
Unlike many of the other states we've discussed, The Peach State does require a permit for a concealed carry and open carry. However, Georgia has recently attracted quite a bit of attention for its attempts to loosen gun laws.
In 2017, the NRA even held its annual conference in Atlanta.
In Big Sky Country, registration and permits are not required to own or purchase a firearm, but residents do need a permit for a concealed gun. Gun dealerships also enjoy relaxed laws, and background checks are not required to purchase a firearm.
Many speculate the gun laws here are lax because of the low population density. Either way, it certainly ranks as one of the best states for gun owners.
Down by the river, you'll find plenty of folks who are pro-gun, and the state laws reflect this culture.
In 2012, the governor signed a law permitting citizens to carry concealed firearms. Although the law is fairly complicated concerning where residents can and cannot carry, it was one of many recent steps towards looser gun restrictions for the state.
Registration of firearms is not required and NFA items and machine guns are not prohibited.
The state is also known for Mid-South, which trains in self-defense shooting. Unfortunately, courses are reserved for police and military personnel.
Now that we've covered your go-to states, it only makes sense to discuss the states gun owners should avoid. Here they are in a nutshell:
Gun owners should steer clear.
Was your state on our top eight list of the best states for gun owners? If not, don't stress.
Check out our arsenal of weapons and safety equipment at our website. You don't have to own a gun to be safe, and many of our gadgets are both obscure and useful.
And every lawful gun owner knows weapons are a means of security.
While many scoff at gun owners, writing them off as overbearing pessimists, you need only to consider a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson to understand gun advocates' beliefs: "Shallow men believe in luck; wise and strong men in the cause and effect."