After many years with no real change in state laws on open carry, following the move to Constitutional Carry, there has been a significant increase in the number of states that allow open carry without a permit. Just in the last couple of years you have seen changes in states such as Oklahoma and Utah. There is also a very high probability that Indiana and Tennessee will change their laws this year.
Here is our breakdown of state laws:
|States that don’t require a permit to openly carry outside of city limits|
|Iowa —||Iowa Code § 724.4(1), (4)(i)|
|States Requiring a Permit or License to Openly Carry Handguns|
|Connecticut —||Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 29-28(b), 29-35(a).|
|Georgia —||Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-11-125.1(5), 16-11-126(c), (h)(1). |
Per Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127(c), license holders may openly carry a handgun in public except in specifically-defined locations under Georgia Code Ann. § 16-11-127(b), (c).
|Hawaii —||Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(c); Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §134-5(c); Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-25|
Under Hawaii Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(a), in an “exceptional case” a chief of police may issue a permit to carry an unconcealed handgun for possession only in that county.
|Indiana —||Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-1(a).|
|Maryland —||Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-203(a), (b)(2). |
However, the Secretary of State Police may limit the geographic area, circumstances, or times in which a handgun carry permit is effective in Maryland. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-307(b).
|Massachusetts —||Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 140, § 131.|
|Minnesota —||Minn. Stat. § 624.714.|
|New Jersey —||N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2C:39-5(b); N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2C:58-4(a).|
|Rhode Island —||R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-18(a).|
|Tennessee —||Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1308(a)(2).|
|Texas —||Tex. Penal Code § 46.15(b)(6).|
|States that allow open Carrying in Some Counties with a permit, but prohibit Open Carrying in other Counties|
|California —||Cal. Penal Code § 26350, § 25850.|
A narrow exception exists for those with open carry licenses: “Where the population of the county is less than 200,000 persons according to the most recent federal decennial census, [the sheriff may issue] a license to carry loaded and exposed in only that county a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. Cal. Penal Code § 26150.
|States that Prohibit Open Carrying of Handguns|
|DC —||D.C. Code § 22-4504.01|
|Florida —||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 790.053(1)|
|Illinois —||720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-1(a)(10)|
|New York —||N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01(1)|
|South Carolina —||Code Ann. § 16-23-20|
South Carolina’s statute criminalizing the carrying of handguns, whether openly or concealed, has no exception for a person carrying openly with a concealed weapons permit. See also Code Ann. § 23-31-215
|States that Allow Open Carry without a Permit (Many of these states do not have specific laws on this point. We have marked Constitutational Carry states in bold italics.)|
|Alabama —||Alabama does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms in public.|
Alabama Code § 13A-11-7 (c) It shall be a rebuttable presumption that the mere carrying of a visible pistol, holstered or secured, in a public place, in and of itself, is not a violation of this section.
Alabama Code § 13A-11-52 generally prohibits people from carrying a pistol onto another person’s private property without either a CCW permit or the consent of the property’s owner.
|Alaska —||Alaska’s laws do not prohibit anyone 21 or older who may legally possess a firearm from carrying it concealed or open. A firearms permit is not required. There are general restrictions on where a firearm may be carried.|
Alaska Const. Art. I, § 19 Right to Keep and Bear Arms
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.
|Arizona —||There is no Arizona law restricting the open carry of firearms in public. |
Arizona Const. Art. I, § 26 Bearing arms
The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain, or employ an armed body of men.
|Arkansas —||Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued an official opinion in 2015 that indicated open carry was legal in Arkansas.|
Arkansas Const. Art. II, § 5 Right to Bear Arms
The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms, for their common defense.
|Colorado —||Colorado does not prohibit the open carrying of handguns or long guns in public, and no permit or license is required. Local governments may enact regulations prohibiting open carrying of firearms in a building or specific area within the local government’s jurisdiction, as long as signs are posted to that effect.|
C.R.S. § 29-11.7-104 – Regulation – carrying – posting
A local government may enact an ordinance, regulation, or other law that prohibits the open carrying of a firearm in a building or specific area within the local government’s jurisdiction. If a local government enacts an ordinance, regulation, or other law that prohibits the open carrying of a firearm in a building or specific area, the local government shall post signs at the public entrances to the building or specific area informing persons that the open carrying of firearms is prohibited in the building or specific area.
|Delaware —||There is no law that makes illegal the open carrying of firearms.|
Delaware Const. Art. I, § 20 Right to keep and bear arms
A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.
|Idaho —||Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(4) Subsection (3) of this section shall not apply to restrict or prohibit the carrying or possession of:|
(a) Any deadly weapon located in plain view;
(b) Any lawfully possessed shotgun or rifle;
(c) Any deadly weapon concealed in a motor vehicle;
(d) A firearm that is not loaded and is secured in a case;
(e) A firearm that is disassembled or permanently altered such that it is not readily operable; and
(f) Any deadly weapon concealed by a person who is:
(i) Over eighteen (18) years of age;
(ii) A citizen of the United States or a current member of the armed forces of the United States; and
(iii) Is not disqualified from being issued a license under paragraphs (b) through (n) of subsection (11) of this section.
|Kansas —||State law doesn’t generally prohibit the open carrying of a handgun. |
§ 12-16,124. Firearms and ammunition; regulation by city or county, limitations. (a) No city or county shall adopt or enforce any ordinance, resolution or regulation, and no agent of any city or county shall take any administrative action, governing the requirement of fees, licenses or permits for, the commerce in or the sale, purchase, transfer, ownership, storage, carrying, transporting or taxation of firearms or ammunition, or any component or combination thereof.
(b) Any ordinance, resolution or regulation prohibited by subsection (a) that was adopted prior to July 1, 2015, shall be null and void.
(c) Nothing in this section shall:
(1) Prohibit a city or county from adopting and enforcing any ordinance, resolution or regulation relating to the personnel policies of such city or county and the carrying of firearms by employees of such city or county, except that any such ordinance, resolution or regulation shall comply with the provisions of K.S.A. 75-7c01 et seq., and amendments thereto;
(2) prohibit a city or county from adopting any ordinance, resolution or regulation pursuant to K.S.A. 75-7c20, and amendments thereto;
(3) prohibit a law enforcement officer, as defined in K.S.A. 22-2202, and amendments thereto, from acting within the scope of such officer’s duties; or
(4) prohibit a city or county from levying and collecting any retailers’ sales tax on the sale of firearms, ammunition or any component or combination thereof as authorized by K.S.A. 12-189, and amendments thereto.
|Kentucky —||Kentucky has no laws prohibiting open carry. Kentucky has released a white paper on open carry.|
Kentucky Const. Section 1 Seventh
The right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the State, subject to the power of the General Assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons.
|Louisiana —||Louisiana does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms in public. The state preempts all firearm laws in the state and local authorities can’t have Laws/Ordinances against|
Louisiana Const. Art. I, §11. Right to Keep and Bear Arms
The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms is fundamental and shall not be infringed. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.
R.S. 40:1796. Preemption of State Law
A. No governing authority of a political subdivision shall enact after July 15, 1985, any ordinance or regulation more restrictive than state law concerning in any way the sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transfer, transportation, license, or registration of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or ammunition; however, this Section shall not apply to the levy and collection of sales and use taxes, license fees and taxes and permit fees, nor shall it affect the authority of political subdivisions to prohibit the possession of a weapon or firearm in the commercial establishments and public buildings enumerated in R.S. 40:1379.3(N).
|Maine —||Maine does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms in public. |
Maine Const. Art. I, §16 To keep and bear arms.
Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.
|Michigan —||Michigan does not prohibit the open carry of firearms in public. It is legal because there is no Michigan law that prohibits it.|
Michigan Const. Art. I, § 6 Bearing of arms.
Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.
|Mississippi —||House Bill 2 of the 2013 Mississippi Legislature (Unlicensed Open Carry Law) went into effect July 1, 2013.|
Miss. Code Ann. § 45-9-101(24) A license under this section is not required for a loaded or unloaded pistol or revolver to be carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster or in a purse, handbag, satchel, other similar bag or briefcase or fully enclosed case if the person is not engaged in criminal activity other than a misdemeanor traffic offense, is not otherwise prohibited from possessing a pistol or revolver under state or federal law, and is not in a location prohibited under subsection (13) of this section.
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-1(4) For the purposes of this section, “concealed” means hidden or obscured from common observation and shall not include any weapon listed in subsection (1) of this section, including, but not limited to, a loaded or unloaded pistol carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster that is wholly or partially visible, or carried upon the person in a scabbard or case for carrying the weapon that is wholly or partially visible.
|Missouri —||No statutes in Missouri specifically prohibit the open carrying of firearms. Open Carry is legal without a permit but local governments can ban the open carrying of firearms without a valid permit Missouri issues or honors. The state preemption statute only covers the carrying of concealed firearms so local authorities can ban the carrying of firearms openly without a valid permit. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 21.750)|
|Montana —||Mont. Code Ann. § 45-3-111. Openly carrying weapon — display — exemption. |
(1) Any person who is not otherwise prohibited from doing so by federal or state law may openly carry a weapon and may communicate to another person the fact that the person has a weapon.
(2) If a person reasonably believes that the person or another person is threatened with bodily harm, the person may warn or threaten the use of force, including deadly force, against the aggressor, including drawing or presenting a weapon.
(3) This section does not limit the authority of the board of regents or other postsecondary institutions to regulate the carrying of weapons, as defined in 45-8-361(5)(b), on their campuses.
|Nebraska —||Nebraska does not restrict the carrying of unconcealed, loaded firearms in public. Carrying a firearm in the open is legal in Nebraska, although state law lets local governments create restrictions. Omaha, for example, requires a permit to open-carry. The state preempts firearm laws (17-556) state that local authorities can’t have Laws/Ordinances against concealed carry and other areas concerning firearms but can pass laws/ordinances coving the carrying of firearms openly.|
|New Hampshire —||Anyone who can legally possess a firearm can carry open or concealed without any type of permit/license. |
Title XII 159:6 License to Carry.
III. The availability of a license to carry a loaded pistol or revolver under this section or under any other provision of law shall not be construed to impose a prohibition on the unlicensed transport or carry of a firearm in a vehicle, or on or about one’s person, whether openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded, by a resident, nonresident, or alien if that individual is not otherwise prohibited by statute from possessing a firearm in the state of New Hampshire.
|New Mexico —||New Mexico generally does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms in public.|
New Mexico Const. Art. II, § 6 Right to Bear Arms
No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.
|Nevada —||Nevada has no laws prohibiting open carry of firearms in the state.|
|North Carolina —||North Carolina does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms in public.|
|North Dakota —||In North Dakota, a person may openly carry a handgun during daylight hours, as long as the gun is unloaded. N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-03-01(1). If the person has a concealed weapons permit, he or she may carry the handgun loaded at any time of day. N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-03-01(2)(a).|
N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-03-01
(1) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, an individual may carry a handgun if:
a. The handgun is unloaded, in plain view or secured, and between the hours of one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset.
b. The handgun is unloaded and secured and between the hours of one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.
(2) A limitation under subdivision a or b of subsection 1 does not apply to:
a. An individual possessing a valid concealed weapons license from this state, an individual not otherwise precluded from possessing a class 2 firearm and dangerous weapon license under chapter 62.1-04 and who has possessed for at least one year a valid driver’s license or nondriver identification card issued by the department of transportation, or an individual who has reciprocity under section 62.1-04-03.1.
|Ohio —||State law does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms except in certain locations. The state attorney general’s handbook on carrying reads: “Ohio’s concealed carry laws do not regulate ‘open’ carry of firearms. If you openly carry, use caution. The open carry of firearms is a legal activity in Ohio.”|
|Oklahoma —||No license required as of November 1, 2019. (2019 HB 2597)|
Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §§ 1289.6, 1290.1 – 1290.26.
|Oregon —||Oregon does not prohibit the open carrying of handguns or long guns on the person in public. However, Oregon law allows a city or county to regulate open carry of loaded firearms in public places, but holders of concealed carry permits are exempt. (ORS 166.173)|
Or. Const. Art. I § 27 The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence (sic) of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power
ORS 166.250(3) Firearms carried openly in belt holsters are not concealed within the meaning of this section.
|Pennsylvania —||The law is silent on the legality of openly carrying a firearm in other situations, making it de-facto legal. Open carrying of handguns is allowed everywhere in the state except Philadelphia. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6108. A person must be licensed to carry a firearm in order to openly carry in Philadelphia.|
|South Dakota —||South Dakota does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms in public.|
|Utah —||Effective May 5, 2021, 2021’s HB 60 allows anyone 21 and older who may legally possess a gun to carry openly or concealed, with or without a permit.|
76-10-523, Persons exempt from weapons laws
(5) Subsections 76-10-504(1) and (2), and 76-10-505(1)(b) do not apply to a person 21 years old or older who may otherwise lawfully possess a firearm.
|Vermont —||Vermont does not restrict the carrying of unconcealed, loaded firearms in public.|
|Virginia —||According to VSP, a firearm may be carried openly in Virginia except where prohibited by statute. Please refer to §§ 18.2-279 to 18.2-311.2. |
In Virginia, the open carrying of certain handguns is prohibited in specific populous cities and counties. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-287.4.
Virginia Const. Art. I, § 13 Militia; standing armies; military subordinate to civil power
That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
|Washington —||According to Washington State Office of the Attorney General, no Washington statute directly prohibits openly carrying a firearm. However, for Washington’s law regarding restrictions to openly carrying a firearm, consult the statute at RCW 9.41.270. Please also be aware that the law prohibits possession of firearms in certain places. (Wash. Rev. Code § 9.41.300.|
Washington Const. Art. I, § 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.
|West Virginia —||West Virginia’s concealed carry laws have no impact on your right to openly carry an unconcealed weapon.|
|Wisconsin —||Wis. Stat. § 66.0409(6) Unless other facts and circumstances that indicate a criminal or malicious intent on the part of the person apply, no person may be in violation of, or be charged with a violation of, an ordinance of a political subdivision relating to disorderly conduct or other inappropriate behavior for loading a firearm, or for carrying or going armed with a firearm or a knife, without regard to whether the firearm is loaded or the firearm or the knife is concealed or openly carried. Any ordinance in violation of this subsection does not apply and may not be enforced.|
|Wyoming —||Article I, Section 24 The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state shall not be denied.|
Because of the constant errors in other sources such as the Giffords Law Center in properly categorizing laws, we have been making more of an effort to check different gun control laws and to make it easy for people to check them (Giffords doesn’t provide direct links to the laws so presumably people don’t directly check and see the errors in their lists).
As is typical, Giffords misclassifies laws to make them appear more restrictive than they actually are. For example, California is listed as banning the open carrying of handguns, when 30 of their 58 counties allow it with a permit. They also have mistakes involving Oklahoma (2019) and Utah (2021) when they claim that open carry is not allowed without a permit.