Which States Laws Allow Open Carry?
**Disclaimer. This information is not legal advice. It is your responsibility to know the laws where you will be carrying a firearm. Laws often change and I do not guarantee that this information is accurate at the time you read it, although I will make every effort to keep this page up to date.
It is important to know the laws in your state if you plan to open carry a firearm. The laws vary greatly by state. Some states require a permit to open carry and other states do not. There are also states that do not allow open carry at all.
What is Open Carry?
Open Carry is to carry a firearm out in the open where it can be easily seen. This typically means a handgun that is holstered or a rifle that is on a sling and carried in a neutral, non-threatening way. Many states allow this practice, however in some states it is not a common practice and can cause police to be called on otherwise law-abiding open carriers. The guns can be loaded or unloaded, depending on the local laws.
Who Would Open Carry?
Open carry is used by law enforcement, those in the security industry that are required to carry firearms and regular citizens that desire to have their firearm on their person for self defense.
Are There Restrictions On Open Carry?
In this article I am going to tell you which states allow open carry. Please be aware that open carry does come with restrictions. A lot of states that allow open carry do not allow open carry inside a vehicle or at certain other specified locations.
Generally, most states allow open carry on your own property or place of business without any issues, although there are some stats that severely restrict what kind of gun you own and how many rounds it can hold. (I am looking at you, CA, NJ and NY)
Where applicable I will note some of the more common restrictions on open carry for each state. It is also important to note that if you are a prohibited person (which means you may be a felon) or are prohibited from possessing a firearm you cannot open carry. This is simply because you’re not allowed to possess a firearm, period.
Here are the states that allow open carry, with any applicable notes you need to know. Gun laws are constantly changing, so please check your current laws to be sure. I will try to keep this up to date but I am not guaranteeing accuracy. It is ultimately up to you to know the laws where you will be carrying your firearm.
Open Carry States List:
I am listing all the states and their Open Carry Policy. However, this is not a complete list of restrictions. Please check a resource such as USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association) or handgunlaw.us for current and detailed information. If a state is listed as “YES” and there are no additional notes, a permit is not needed to open carry, but there are always SOME restrictions as to where you can carry. Most of the restrictions are places such as courthouses, police stations, mental hospitals, correctional facilities, etc.
See my USCCA Membership review here as well.
Also, this list applies to loaded guns. There are a few states that allow permit less carry of an unloaded gun. In Utah, for example, you can carry a semi auto without a round in the chamber and it is considered unloaded.
In addition, NO state allows a prohibited person (felon, mentally deficient, etc) to open carry or even possess a firearm.
Note: Cannot carry in a vehicle or near a school without a permit.
There is some conflicting information within the state. See handgunlaw.us/arkansas for details.
Note: California is NOT a gun friendly state. Do yourself a favor and leave at once.
Note: Cities and Counties are allowed to enact their own laws and restrictions so check local laws. Denver prohibits Open Carry across the board.
Connecticut: Probably NO
Note: state Law indicates Open Carry is allowed, but recent court cases indicate otherwise. We recommend NOT to Open Carry in Connecticut.
Note: Although allowed, there is no case law that has put open carry to the test in Delaware, and at least one city, Dover, prohibits open carry. Be careful here.
Note: Long guns ONLY. A permit is needed to open carry a handgun in Georgia.
Note: You need a permit to open carry in Hawaii and it is only good in the county that issued it.
Note: You need a permit to Open Carry in Indiana.
Note: Permit is required to carry within city limits.
No permit required statewide to Open Carry in Kansas.
Note: No permit required statewide.
Note: It is unknown how law enforcement treats open carry.
Note: Open Carry without a permit has additional restrictions such as: banks, churches, courts, theaters, sports arenas, hospitals, day cares and establishments that sell alcohol.
Note: you need a permit to open carry in Minnesota.
Note: University property requires a permit.
Note: A concealed carry permit is required to open carry in Missouri.
Note: No permit is needed to open carry in Montana
Note: No permit is needed to open carry with the exception of Omaha and Lincoln.
New Hampshire: Yes
Note: A permit is not required to open carry in New Hampshire.
New Jersey: NO
Note: New Jersey is an extremely gun unfriendly state.
New Mexico: Yes
Note: No permit is needed to open carry, but liquor establishments are off limits.
New York: NO
Note: New York is an extremely gun unfriendly state.
North Carolina: Yes
Note: Cites may have their own laws.
North Dakota: Yes, with a permit.
Ohio: Yes, but not in a vehicle without a permit.
Oklahoma: Yes, with a permit.
Oregon: Yes, but not in some cities such as Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Oregon City, Salem, Independence, and possibly others.
Pennsylvania: Yes, but not in a vehicle and not in Philadelphia without a permit.
Rhode Island: Yes, with a permit
South Carolina: NO
South Dakota: Yes, no permit required, even in a vehicle so long as it is visible.
Tennessee: Yes, with a permit. See How to get a Tennessee Concealed Handgun Carry Permit online.
Texas: Yes, with a permit
Utah: Yes, with a permit
Vermont: Yes, no permit needed.
Virginia: Yes, no permit needed.
Washington: Yes, but not in a vehicle without a permit.
West Virginia: Yes, but not in some municipalities such as Charleston or South Charleston and maybe others.
Wisconsin: Yes, no permit needed but there are restrictions such as taverns, state parks, etc.
Wyoming: Yes, no permit needed.
Washington DC: NO: Not at the moment. They cannot make up their minds.
There you have the quick and basic Open Carry Laws of all 50 States. Please note that EVERY state has places that you cannot carry any gun, open or concealed. These places are usually courthouses, schools, prisons, mental institutions and other places. You must know these laws to stay out of trouble. Please refer to your particular states official websites for more detailed information when considering carrying a gun.