Which States Permit Open Carry of Handguns?

Wall Street Journal: “As people on both sides of the debate regarding open carry—the practice of carrying firearms in plain view—have been turning up the heat, more companies are being forced to take a side.”

Carrying a firearm in a concealed manner is legal in all states, but open carry has more restrictions, especially for handguns. Though federal law doesn’t restrict the open carrying of handguns in public, several states—including California, Florida, Illinois, New York, South Carolina and Texas—ban the practice, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Thirteen states require a special permit or license to open carry. The remaining 31 states don’t require one. The laws are different for long guns, which are commonly associated with hunting.”

“Why is open carry causing so much of a stir when concealed carry is so widespread?”

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  • embo66

    “Why is open carry causing so much of a stir when concealed carry is so widespread?”

    Because concealed carry pretty universally still requires a license, meaning that at least some modicum of restraint and filtering occurs between having a gun and carrying it around with you. But open carry is now permissible without any kind of license in 20 states at this point (mostly Western and Deep South states).

    But the REAL reason open carry causes so much of a stir? Because I would bet that even the editors of the Wall Street Journal would actually find it quite disturbing to see assault weapons casually slung across the shoulders of customers at their local Target store.

    Truly, WHAT is the point being made here?! It’s wholly unnecessary — and uncivil.

  • Jeff Knox

    Open carry has been virtually unrestricted in most states since the founders.
    After the Civil War, reconstruction carpetbaggers instituted laws against open carry of handguns in Texas. After the Black Panthers exercised their open carry rights at the California Capitol, that state’s legislature instituted laws against open carry of loaded firearms. For the past 30 years we have fought and struggled to institute concealed carry systems in every state. Now that we have achieved that goal – with NONE of the negative results that folks like embo66 warned would happen – we have been actively improving and liberalizing the carry laws around the country. In Texas and California, people began realizing how restrictive their laws are compared to other states, and they began protesting. One of the methods some have chosen for attracting attention to their complaints has been to open carry what they can legally open carry – long guns – highlighting the fact that they can’t legally open carry handguns.
    Though there have been no crimes committed by open carry activists, no accidents, no threats of violence, no disorderly conduct, etc. People like embo66 and Bloomberg’s irrational mothers committee go over the top with outrage, indignation, and mock panic; demanding that businesses ban the practice from their properties, and calling for police to confront these people exercising their First and Second Amendment rights.
    All of the irrational hoopla reminds me of the calls to illegalize and ban the practices of gay men holding hands and kissing in public, or Blacks eating in “White” restaurants.
    Just because a perfectly legal and constitutionally protected activity makes some people uncomfortable (for no valid reason), is no reason for businesses or governments to take action to prohibit the behavior.

  • I have a concealed carry permit, but I am in the process of moving to an open carry state that also reciprocates my CCF permit. Can’t wait to leave Illinois!!

  • David2u

    I live in Oklahoma and have open carried a Glock 23 or 27 every day for the 2 years since the law went into effect. Never had a single issue and never had to show my permit to a Law Enforcement Officer. Open carry is so much more comfortable. You can wear cloths that fit. You don’t need a vest or cover shirt. And you can wear a good holster outside the waist on your belt.

  • Red Phillips

    It’s interesting to note how little this map corresponds to the customary red-blue divide, with deep red states like Texas and South Carolina outlawing open carry while some deep blue states such as Vermont and Washington allowing it unrestricted. I’ve come to suspect most of the ridiculous and excessive anti-liberal rhetoric among the gun lobby’s rantings are actually a poorly conceived attention grab and unsurprisingly not in any way the products of minds that can actually think.

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