The Best States For Responsible Gun Owners
If you ask someone about the best states for responsible gun owners, the list may vary. Some people prefer strong gun laws, while other people prefer more freedom for gun owners. Most gun owners choose states that have less restrictive laws.
For example, California tops the list on the Gun Law Scorecard for the Giffords Law Center because the state has strict gun laws. For the same reason, California is at the bottom of the list of best states for gun owners on lists created by advocates for gun rights.
Worst and Best States for Gun Owners
Guns & Ammo compiles an annual list of the best and worst states for gun owners.
Their top five gun-friendly states for 2020 were:
The five worst states for gun owners in 2020 were:
- New Jersey
- New York
The organization uses several criteria to rank states in order of most to least gun-friendly. For example, they review state laws for Right-to-Carry and Concealed Weapons Permits. Constitutional carry states that also issue permits receive the highest points for this category.
They also review whether states have laws restricting or banning short-barreled rifles, suppressors, short-barreled shotguns, and other items. Moreover, they review Stand Your Ground, Castle Doctrine, and self-defense laws for each state. States with laws that give citizens the right to use deadly force when threatened receive the highest marks.
The researchers at Guns & Ammo also review other information to determine which states are the most gun-friendly states in America.
Guns.com also ranked the top ten gun-friendly states. Their top five states are slightly different from Guns & Ammo’s, but all five of Guns & Ammo’s best states for gun owners appear on Guns.com’s top ten list.
Know Your Rights as a Gun Owner in California
Citizens have the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Most gun owners are law-abiding citizens. They respect firearms and gun laws.
States have the authority to pass laws that restrict gun rights within their borders. As discussed above, California usually appears near the top of the list for least friendly states for gun owners because of its strict gun laws.
Some of the reasons that California is at the bottom of lists of the best states for gun owners are:
- You must have a permit to purchase a gun in California
- Open carry is not permitted for any firearms
- It can be difficult to obtain a Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit because local law enforcement has discretion when issuing CCW licenses
- Individuals must have a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) to acquire a firearm unless they are exempt
- All firearm purchases and transfers must be conducted through a licensed gun dealer
- There is a 10-day waiting period before a seller can transfer or release a gun to a purchaser
- There are very few exceptions for someone over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 to own a gun
- California’s red flag law allows certain teachers, employers, and co-workers to petition for a restraining order to remove guns from a potentially dangerous person
In recent years, the number of deaths attributed to gun violence has led some states to pass increasingly restrictive gun laws. Gun owners need to follow changes in gun laws to ensure they comply with the gun laws within their state.
If not, a responsible gun owner could be charged with a gun crime, even though the owner did not believe they were breaking the law.
What Should Gun Owners Do if They Are Charged with a Gun Crime in California?
Do not resist arrest. Resisting arrest or arguing with the police officer will make matters worse. You could be charged with an additional crime, and matters could escalate to a dangerous level.
It is best to remain silent except for asking for a criminal defense attorney. You are not required to answer questions or make a statement without an attorney present. You are merely required to give your name and address to the police when requested.
An attorney will analyze the circumstances of your arrest and develop a defense strategy for the criminal charges. There could be one or more defenses to crimes involving firearms that apply in your case.