Legal Guide

5 States With the Most Lenient Gun Laws

There has been a lot of media coverage lately concerning stricter gun control laws, mainly revolving around the many school shootings over the last several years, starting with the highly publicized Columbine High School incident of 1999. And several states have gone out of their way to limit the use of automatic, semi-auto, and other weapons since then, not to mention the sale of ammunition and restrictions related to background checks. But several states, in an effort to uphold the 2nd Amendment, have also enacted laws that are decidedly lenient when it comes to the right to bear arms. Here are a few states that feature some of the most indulgent gun laws in the nation.

  1. Florida. The “stand your ground” gun law in Florida received a lot of attention following the shooting of teen Trayvon Martin, who was fatally wounded during an alleged altercation with neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman. The law allows for residents to use deadly force if they feel threatened, regardless of their ability to flee rather than shooting their attacker. While most states allow for “castle doctrine” statutes, whereby people may shoot intruders in their personal spaces (homes, cars, and businesses, for example), the “stand your ground” law makes it legal for this action to occur even in public. Along with several other states, Florida also made it illegal for businesses to stop employees from bringing guns to work, so long as they have proper permits and they lock their firearms in their cars.
  2. Utah. While Utah requires a permit to carry concealed firearms, they also allow for residents to carry firearms in the open in public so long as they are unloaded, without the need for a permit. Of course, with proper permits, residents can carry loaded weapons in public, either in the open or concealed, depending on the permit. These laws make Utah one of the most lenient states in the nation when it comes to the right to bear arms.
  3. Iowa. You’ve no doubt heard the hubbub over states that allow blind people to obtain permits that in order to not only to purchase firearms, but to carry them in public. When the Hawkeye State passed a “will issue” law back in 2010, they perhaps unwittingly allowed for just such an occurrence, although the major loophole allowing for legally blind residents to carry firearms in public has to do with the fact that the required safety course is available online.
  4. Vermont. There are only four states that allow residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit, and Vermont is one of them. What makes it more lenient than the others is the fact that the minimum age to obtain gun permits and purchase firearms is 16, and anyone this age or older does not need parental permission for either. So minors 16 and over could be carrying concealed weapons in Vermont and be well within their legal rights.
  5. Louisiana. Not only did Governor Bobby Jindal sign a law in 2010 allowing guns to be brought into houses of worship as part of a private security force, but the state makes it easy for residents to obtain guns and ammo. They have perhaps the most lenient reciprocity rules in the nation, allowing any resident to purchase shotguns, rifles, and ammunition in any other state and bring them back to Louisiana. While we can certainly hope that these people are responsible gun owners that have taken safety courses and done their homework on firearms via sites like, the truth is that no matter how strict or lenient a state’s gun laws are, the criminal element will always find ways to get guns and use them in inappropriate or illegal ways.

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