No Firearms Sign

Summary of gun law regimes in the U.S.

The right to carry weapons is enshrined in the second amendment to the United States constitution – but the exact meaning of the Founders’ confusing grammar is controversial. Some argue that there shouldn’t be any circumstance where we shouldn’t be allowed to have a weapon with us, while others contend that the “well-regulated militia” that Jefferson referred to meant something closer to a standing army than to a people armed to the teeth.

The resulting morass of legislation and litigation has resulted in an array of confusing terms, and a body of law that changes drastically from state to state. Here’s what we mean when we talk about gun laws.


1) Open Carry: The right to openly carry a firearm in public.

2) Concealed Carry: Owners must conceal their firearms from casual observers

3) Plain Sight: Firearm is not hidden from a casual observer; varies in each state.

4) Preemption: The ability of a state legislature to hinder or abolish local governments’ ability to regulate the possession rolex replica and carrying of firearms.

5) Prohibited Persons: Citizens prohibited by law from carrying a firearm, often including felons, domestic abusers, drug addicts, and the mentally ill.

Name of legal regime Features States where it’s implemented
Permissive open carry Full preemption of all firearms laws. Open carry by permit to all non-prohibited citizens (without permit or license) on foot and in a motor vehicle. Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming
Licensed open carry Full preemption of all firearm laws. Open carry by permit to all non—prohibited citizens (permit or license required) on foot and in a motor vehicle. Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utahs
Anomalous open carry Open carry mostly for handguns, but the state may lack preemption or have significant regulations. Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Non-permissive open carry Open carry is illegal or heavily regulated. Limited circumstances may include hunting or travelling to/from hunting locations, on your own private property, or for lawful self-defense. Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas
Rural open carry Open carry is mostly illegal, except in less-dense areas (defined mostly by statute), and provided that local authorities have permitted open carry in these areas. California

No Weapons Allowed Signs
No firearms signs like these inform gun owners of areas where it’s prohibited to carry.
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