America is home to a dizzying array of firearms laws. Depending on your home state, you either have to jump through more hoops like a circus clown to have the “privilege” of armed self-defense, or you can show a driver’s license, stow and go. Although family and work put obvious limits on mobility, American gun owners and aspiring gun owners are free to choose their residence. When considering a change of scenery last year, I consulted handgunlaw.us. Gun-unfriendly states were eliminated from the running like William Hung from a singing competition. Some of us are willing to weather draconian gun laws to live near our families or secure gainful employment or enjoy a state’s other, perhaps more important virtues. Some of us are not. Do firearms laws dictate where you choose to live? Have you ever thought about moving to a more gun-friendly state?

41 Responses to Question of the Day: Do Firearms Laws Dictate Where You Live?

  1. It factors in. There are some positive and negative aspects to where I currently live, but being a shall issue state is definitely a plus. On the other hand, I would not take a job in NJ, Wisconsin, or Illinois, and I would be very conflicted about Hawaii and probably would not take a permanent position there.

  2. When I moved to the DC area, I specifically chose Virginia because of firearms laws. There were a few other factors, but that was one of the biggest. DC and MD’s laws are criminal not to mention they are MORE dangerous than ‘wild west’ Virginia

  3. Ayuh. Gun liberty was a major factor in my decision to return to NH from California. It’s a great feeling to take off your seatbelt when you cross the border into NH. It was also great to immediately start open carrying. The handgun license for concealed carry I have mixed feelings about – the concealed carry of my own firearms is awesome, the permit and fee and waiting period was terrible. This shall issue thing is silly – we must ask permission to exercise our rights, but the government must give us permission. Fortunately we are going to try to get rid of it http://www.pgnh.org/constitutional_carry_bill_scheduled_for_a_public_hearing_thursday_february_24_at_1_30_p_m

  4. WI gets a bad rap on gun laws imo, except for concealed carry (at this time), of course. No permits, no registration, no waiting period on long guns, two days handguns, no permit needed to open carry, no going to prison for 10 years for having an unloaded gun in your trunk while moving, etc.

      • Close, but some days I wonder about that wisdom. It is hard to argue with built-in babysitters for hunting purposes though. There’s a lot of great hunting within a half hour of home.

  5. I moved to Vermont from NY, where I had a permit in the late 90’s, and would never live anywhere again that I had to ask some functionary for permission to practice my God given rights.

    My CWP is the Vermont State Constitution, affirmed by the State supreme court.

  6. I would not move to HI, CA, IL, WI, NJ, NY, MD, DE or MA for any reason whatsoever. And not just because of the 2A issue either. But that’s the biggest reason.

    And please, no offense towards those who make their homes in those states. Believe me, Pennsylvania ain’t no frontier of freedom, I can tell you that! But to strip a man of his right to defend himself and his family when outside his domicile is such a harsh and unreasonable restriction, it’s one I am not personally willing to compromise over. Although Delftware doesn’t have a state sales tax…

  7. When we were ready to end our ‘California Adventure’, I certainly never considered NY, NJ, IL, or any other state where I would have to abandon my favorite hobby and all my shootin’ irons.

    That was years before the concealed carry movement, and by luck the two states we looked at (OR and WA) were both among the few ‘shall issue’s states.

  8. In none of my previous moves were 2A restrictions considered, because i wasn’t particularly aligned either way. Since then, my position on liberty and the 2A have shifted, so I have to say that those states in red and yellow are definitely in the NJN category. And like others, also for reasons often unrelated to 2A as well.

    2A issues even affect me within state — I’m in the metro Atlanta area, and there are several counties where I will not reside, because while we’re “shall issue”, several counties are the the “– but we’ll make it as painful and inconvenient as possible within the law” grouping.

  9. Guns laws do play a role in where i live. I would never live in a state where the right is denied or where hollow points are illegal.

  10. My wife has interviewed for her surgical residency over the past 4 months. NYC and Chicago were places she interviewed as well. I forbade her from putting those anywhere but at the very bottom of her preference list, gun reasons being primary.

    Interestingly, at one of the Chicago interviews she said another female surgical residency applicant said she wouldn’t rank Chicago programs very highly because she’d have to give up 3-gun competitions. It wasn’t worth it to her.

  11. It would certainly affect where I live. Hawaii, New York, NJ, and IL are probably lost permanently to the enemy. CA is occupied territory, but gun and liberty activists cannot give up there-it’s too big and populous a state to not try and reform it.

  12. Absolutely.

    After we married, one of the the first things my wife and I did was get out a map of the US and cross off the states we would never live in, under any circumstances. Visit? Sure, fine. Live in? No way.

    Not surprisingly, the states that got crossed off immediately were those with restrictive gun laws–California, Illinois, Mass, New Jersey, and the other “usual suspects.”

    Now, the gun laws weren’t necessarily the primary reason why those states got crossed off, but it’s not surprising that the restrictive states got crossed off almost immediately.

  13. FYI__ while the map is technically correct in showing Hawaii as a “May Issue” state, in reality, permits to carry are never issued, so it’s really a “No Issue” state. Gunowners are held in slightly less esteem than pedophiles. In Hawaii, carrying a .22 cartridge in your pocket is a felony while the age of legal consent was just raised to 16 in the past couple of years…. over the vociferous complaints of many of the locals.

    • Technically, Rhode Island is also a shall issue state. That’s “shall issue” as in “give us a reason why you need a concealed firearms other than ‘simple’ self-protection.”

      • Are there any work-arounds for the average Joe Gunowner? My career in materials management doesn’t put me in the line of fire on a regular basis.

        Although there are times…

      • Lil rhody is only a “shall issue” state if you deal with expensive items or lots of cash. They don’t want to hear about personal protection, but I guess it’s ok with them to protect money or expensive inanimate objects.

  14. I love visiting California – Mojave, Death Valley, even San Fransisco. Beautiful places, all, but I wouldn’t live there. It used to be a better place for gun owners/shooters than New York State, but I think things have inverted. I wouldn’t call NY “gun friendly” at all, but at least we don’t have approved or proscription lists for handguns, and actual registration of so-called “assault rifles.”
    So yes, gun laws would play a huge part in where I’d move.
    Probably Arizona or Utah, at this point, if I ever go ahead and move out of my current area.

  15. In the inverse of Mercurio’s comment, Alabama is listed as a “shall issue” state, when in fact it is a may-issue state that almost never denies a request.

  16. It’s definitely a factor. One thing that I notice, however, is that gun-unfriendly states are often eliminated from the list for a variety of other factors also. For example, I don’t want to live in any city or state where the government monitors how much salt can be served to me. Basically, I want to live somewhere that is not a nanny state and I am free to live my life as I want.

  17. When my wife and I started househunting (from a MD location) in the DC Metro area we immediately gravitated toward Virginia for both 2A and tax reasons. We saved thousands a year by moving to Virginia. Is it just me or do the Peoples Republic anti-gun states appear to be high tax areas as well?

  18. I will never live where I can’t carry. Before CC in Texas there was a saying, “I would rather be tried by six than carried by six.” As for travel, I chose to be as legal as the law allows. But in some states you are faced with a Hobson’s choice. You can forego possessing a gun for self-defense, and perhaps suffer personal injury. Or you can defy the law, illegally carry a gun, use it to defend yourself, then risk arrest and prosecution. See saying.

  19. Yes. Actually, it’s a reason why I live in a carry-friendly town in MA, where we have a Chief of Police who says that concealed carry helps him do his job. It also figures in our next planned move. Why would I choose to live anywhere that denies me the right to defend myself?

  20. After retiring from Uncle Sugar’s canoe club, 2A, CCW, taxes and lifestyle were what me and the misses looked for….Oklahoma is a bit goofy on state tax laws, esp sales tax, but for 2A/CCW it’s all good!

  21. I left Jersey for California. On paper it looks like a lateral move in terms of the gun laws, but Jersey has this nasty habit of prosecuting and convicting people where common sense and a prosecutor’s discretion would normally intervene. Additionally, Kern County where I live now is the most Republican county in the state and the sheriff will actually issue CC permits for as simple a reason as hiking in remote areas. These permits are not restricted and are good state wide.

  22. For the past 20 years I’ve had little choice as I had to move where the Army said. Now that retirement is coming up it is a strong factor in where to look for a job. That being said, states with restrictive firearms laws generally have other things that eliminate them from consideration also. These include taxes, government meddling in personal affairs, and good hunting availability. As stated above, poor firearms laws and other government intrusions seem to go hand in hand.

  23. I don’t have the ability to move out of California right now, but if I did move it would definitely be a large factor in my decision. Most likely I wouldn’t move far though.

  24. I love AZ and I love AZ gun laws. You have to enjoy a state that has 330 days a year to hit the range. AZ, particularly after the Tucson Shootings, gets the reputation of a “wild west saloon”, with gun-slingers everywhere. Honestly, I know of only a handful of permitted CCW holders (yes, you can still get a permit even though you don’t need one). I do know many gun owners who choose not to carry for one reason or the other. I will be rapping up my M.S. Degree next year and have tried to figure out where to move. In the Phoenix area, the economy is pretty much shot. The semiconductor industry is going overseas, and the housing industry – well, we all know how that worked out. I would prefer to stay in AZ, or perhaps CO, but the weather and diversity in climate is hard to beat. With a simple 2 hour drive north, I can go skiing; 2 hours south and I’m in Mexico; 2 hours east has great hunting and fishing, and 2 hours west is… well, desert – but fun for quad riding and dune jumping! I know I’ll never move to CA, NJ, NY, etc (my wife actually said recently that we “couldn’t move there b/c they have crappy gun laws” – this from a girl who was hesitant about me getting into pistols 3 years ago!).

  25. Having been born in upstate NY, moved around, and returned, I’ve learned to deal with their idiotic laws. I live in this butt-wipe state (for now) because of stable employment.

    However, due to taxes and gun laws, I WILL move out of state when I retire. (Or if I get a competitive job offer).

    Sidebar Note: Often, J-Skool idiots bring up the fact that Blue States pay more to the feds than they get back. Well, financially aware retirees (in NY, CA, and IL) often vote with their feet and take their social security and medicaid benefits to FL, TX and the Carolinas…

  26. I’ve passed over opportunities to live in Chigagoland; one of the top reasons, the onerous Illinois gun laws. I live in Tennessee now, but Arizona is my home state, so I’ve plenty of exposure to gun freedom.

    Oh, and we original Arizonans have despised many ‘typical’ Californians since I can remember. There’s nothing good left there, unless as an example to the other States to not follow California’s lead. If you live in California, I recommend the purchase of suitcases; but please, leave your brand of politics behind

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