The Open Carry States In The USA

For those unfamiliar with the term ‘Open Carry’, it is basically the ability to carry a weapon and being able to have it out in an open public space in open view to others. Normally, most American states either prohibit or severely restrict the ability to open-carry weapons. However, over time states laws have gone through significant changes and as a result, many states have now weakened their laws which permit more people to carry weapons in public. Most US states essentially define open-carrying in the same manner, albeit some come with their own unique wording, but in general terms, the definition of an open carry weapon means that it is not concealed or hidden in any way. It has to be openly displayed for all to see and if you have a handgun, it generally must be carried in a holster.

Now, while there are many open carry states 22k, it is still a legal requirement that all people must have a gun permit to carry or own a weapon. Moreover, most states will still limit the open carrying of a gun or restrict one’s ability to do so in certain public places. This is because, in most situations, having a firearm can significantly escalate tension and tighten the emotions of everyone involved, especially if the situation calls for hostility. Most especially if the person carrying the weapon can pose a risk to public safety. In such cases, the result can become deadly and cause tragic developments that may have otherwise been prevented. 

Gun - Open Carry States

Gun – Open Carry States

It is for this reason that even if someone has a permit, through federal regulations, their actions will be restricted as to what they can and cannot do. For instance, most states will limit public places where there is an implied right to freedom from violence such as a restaurant, establishment and in parks. Other states will only allow you to open carry if the weapon is unloaded. However, this normally varies from state to state and is based on the administration of the cities in states, as well as how the relevant states pass and adjust laws over time. That aside, if we were to summarize the states that usually allow for open carrying in a simple way, it’s that they usually fall into one of four main categories

States That Permit Gun Owners To Open Carry

These select states essentially allow gun owners to open carry firearms without the need for a permit or licence. The best states for open carry 12k include; Alabama, Delaware, Ohio, Vermont, Arizona, Idaho, Arkansas, Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, South Dakota, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Virginia, Washington state, West Virginia, Wisconsin& Wyoming.

However, remember as we earlier mentioned, there tends to be restrictions in regards to the places that you are allowed to have an open carry weapon. A case example is Alabama, which requires everyone have a permit to open carry on other people’s private property or at least have the property owner’s permission to do so.

Open Carry States That Require Permits

These are the states that essentially only allow the open carrying of firearms if you have a valid legal licence or permit. These states include; Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa (for carry in city limits), Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas & Utah. However, the extent of this regulation depends on the state. 

For example, North Dakota & Utah both require open carries gun owners who have a loaded weapon to have a permit with them. However, if it isn’t loaded, a permit is not necessary. Another example is in Iowa, where you can openly carry a loaded weapon without a permit, but only outside of city limits. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that in certain states like Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey, for a normal citizen to be granted an open carry permit is very rare, if not impossible.

Anomalous Open Carry States

These are the states that offer open carrying but have rather restrictive laws in place. For example, you may be allowed to open carry outside of a city limits but once you are back within city limits, you must conceal the firearm. There are few states that offer such restrictions and these include; 

  1. Virginia
  2. Iowa
  3. Oregon
  4. Colorado
  5. Missouri
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Nebraska

States That Don’t Allow Open Carry

These are states where openly carrying a firearm is not allowed and is against state law, or is only allowed under certain situations such as, hunting. These states include; 

  1. Florida
  2. Illinois
  3. New York
  4. South Carolina
  5. District of Columbia

What Qualifies As A Good Open Holster?

Now that you have a good idea of the states that allow open carry 11k, you also have to carry a reliable holster and gun belt for your waist. Generally, what is required is an outside the waistband (OWB) gun holster. They are easy to wear and allow for clear visibility of your firearm, which as previously mentioned, is a necessary legal requirement. However, you are also allowed a drop leg gun holster as well.

The gun holster also has to give you excellent retention. You can have it specially customized to fit you for comfort and it is also important that it holds your firearm in place securely enough. In this regard, we can recommend that you get an active retention gun holster. These holsters normally come attached with a thumb break or trigger guard, that will ensure that even when you’re open carrying, nobody can just suddenly grab the gun from the holster or that the firearm carelessly falls off.


Open carrying tends to be a highly debatable and dicey topic, which is why it is essential that you are well-informed on what states allow open carry, their laws, and how to follow them to the letter. This is important for you to avoid facing any legal repercussions. If you aren’t completely clear on whether something is allowed or not or are unsure if you need an open carry permit within your city/state, you can always consult your local gun range, lawyer, or any legal state professional on the matter.

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