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We’ve been over this ground before. “Gun friendly” isn’t about which state has the most guns per capita. It’s about which state most respects the Second Amendment’s mandate against government infringement on citizens’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Washington, D.C.? As tennis legend John McEnroe famously declared to line judges, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! We also have to remove those states without permit-less (a.k.a., Constitutional) carry. Working from the list above, that leaves . . .

Alaska, Arkansas and Wyoming. And the winner is . . . not on the list.

For a true measure of “gun friendliness,” you need to add in other factors. As did back in May. [Note to Forbes: Google is your friend.] They rated states according to Right-to-Carry, Modern Sporting Rifles, NFA (National Firearms Act) approvals, Castle Doctrine and miscellaneous (e.g., purchase/registration requirements, percentage of gun ownership, shooting range protection statues).

And the winner is . . . not Washington, D.C. It ranked dead last in the G&A comparo. But yhou knew that. And G&A’s winner is . . . Arizona, which just beat out Alaska. And now a word from Forbes’ compiler Niall McCarthy on their one data point conclusion.

When it comes to gun ownership in the United States, nowhere comes close to the state of Wyoming. With 196 registered firearms for every 1,000 residents, it ranks as America’s most gun-friendly state by a considerable distance. Even though Wyoming is awash with guns, one for every five residents, its violent crime rate is relatively low compared to other states. Nevertheless, a high rate of gun suicide is still cause for serious concern.

In fact, Wyoming has the highest suicide rate in the U.S.: 23.2 per 100k. Do I have to say it? Correlation does not equal causation. And then there’s this . . .

Washington, D.C. comes second on the list of per capita gun ownership with 66 firearms per 1,000 residents. Arkansas rounds off the top three with 42. At the opposite end of the scale, Delaware , Rhode Island and New York have the least registered guns, with 4.2, 3.8 and 3.3 firearms per 1,000 residents respectively. Around 90 people are killed by guns every day in the United States, adding up to a grim total of 32,000 every year.

Oy vey. What does that “90 people a day” stat have to do with gun ownership rates? And these people aren’t “killed by guns.” They’re killed mostly by themselves (suicide) or by people using guns. All of which puts Forbes onto TTAG’s top ten list of anti-gun media outlets. Who else would you put on that list, and in what order?

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    • Exactly, since when is registering firearms a sign of friendliness? Show us the states with no gun registration.

        • FOPA prevents the federal government from keeping a registry, not states. California, NY, and several other states do have registrations. Other states like Mass. have de facto registration by their documentation requirements and private sale laws.

      • +++++++++++++++++++++

        Registered = un-friendly, despotic, tyrannical, evil, vicious, POS (which is slightly more deleterious than “worthless”), and immensely stupid, now I have to buy more unregistered guns (and grow a few more arms to hold them) to protect myself and mine against you stupid.

        S T U P I D
        S T U P I D

        • Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. . .

          If there’s ever another Civil War, I know what I’m going after first.

          You could say there won’t be one, or they could say that attempting to disarm you for the next one is not what their shooting for, but what would they say if it was?


    • BINGO! I was going to ask WTF a “registered firearm” is…

      Another one of those tricks to make people believe there is or should be such a thing. Like they pull on TV shows.

      • I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the “registered firearms” trick on TV shows. It’s horseshit.

    • That’s how DC made the list: they register their firearms.
      Wyoming must have a LOT of NFA items.

    • Explains why Arizona doesn’t make the list despite having gun shows every other weekend in Phoenix, and constitutional carry, and tons of people actually carrying firearms… We don’t register them, and therefore have 0 registered firearms per person.

    • You don’t register your firearms in a number of the states mentioned (Wyoming included), so that’s definitely not it.

  1. Gee whiz, where’s Vermont on these lists? Open carry, concealed carry, no permits, no licenses (except for hunting and fishing), gun stores all over the place, and even libtard Dem governors have gotten “A” grades from the NRA for many years now. If a Demtard political hack even makes noises about gun control here, his/her own party tells them to STFU. Only fly in our ointment is their puzzling legal opposition to silencers.

      • Nope. We don’t have to register in WY. Only thing I can figure is NFA items. Also the reality isn’t one gun for every 5 Wyomingites, it’s more like 5 guns for every Wyomingite. (About 60% of us have firearms)

  2. Contradiction in terms, right there in the title;

    Gun friendly versus Registered firearms.

    …and, look at the first “source,” and it’s outta here!

  3. Arizona has a neat wrinkle in their gun laws. If you are an AZ resident and get an AZ CCW, when purchasing a firearm, no NICS check. (Dean, you might be able to confirm this..or correct me if I’m wrong)

  4. I saw a list just the other day that had the great state of GA in at #2…right behind Alaska.

  5. Ouch forbes… Not even close.

    That only includes registered guns. Since gun owners tend to be massively in favor of no registration (regardless of state laws) it would make sense that some of the least gun friendly states would have the most registration. Tyranny of the majority…

  6. Take a close look at the source in the bottom of that graphic… it’s NFA registered firearms, i.e. machine guns, silencers, SBRs, SBS’, AOWs.

    • Yep, most likely the author assumes all firearms are registered. “Oh look, the ATF has the registration data right here! So handy!”

  7. I was about to call bulls**t until I read the text. I’m from Arkansas and reside in Texas now. The Duty to retreat BS is almost too much to take.
    “Arkansas is a “duty to retreat” state unless the individual using deadly force is in his own home.
    I actually heard an advertisement on the radio a while ago for a Gun Range in Dallas! I wonder how many of those you hear in New York?

    • Actually, shooting sports in upstate NY are quite popular… even though NYC and Albany continually endeavor to squash that popularity.

  8. “Only not Wyoming, ’cause only Equality State residents may openly carry a weapon without a state-issued permit.”

    I believe this is wrong. As far as I know, anybody – resident or not – may open carry. Permit is for CC only.

    I open carried there as a NJ resident about 5 years ago. Bumped into several rangers and game wardens and heard not a peep from any of them about the gun on my hip.

        • Your worst day is better than most gun writers’ very best. I know you make money off of this, but there are plenty of other ways to make a living, and in most other walks of life you would take less abuse. Thanks for choosing to do what you do.

        • Robert, thanks for your dedication and hard work for a noble cause. You make _my_ day on a daily basis. Yours is the most interesting and educational site on the web. Hat tip from Nevada.

      • Technically true. Thing is that nobody stops and frisks you here in Wyoming. If you mind your own business and don’t cause problems, nobody knows what you carry… or much cares. Lots of us carried concealed without a permission slip long before the “law” changed.

        Almost impossible to identify real freedom from comparing “laws.” Find out what the reality is on the ground instead. The control freaks just hate it when we ignore them. 🙂

  9. Two observations

    1. This appears to be guns registered as part of the NFA, such as machine guns, SBRs, silencers (which are counted as a “firearm” under the NFA), etc

    2. It is unlikely there is a distinction between owned by private citizens and owned by government agencies. Otherwise Washington DC would be 0. Those 66 something per 1 k must refer to police, etc. Heck California has more registered NFA items than DC, though the only ones who can get the permits currently are those working for the movies or arm manufacturing or those grandfathered in before 1994

  10. Robert,
    You are wholly incorrect about Wyoming. Open carry for any US Citizen that is legally not prohibited from owning a gun is legal. There is no resident or time requirement for OC.
    There is no code in Wyoming that says anything about ‘open’ carry, therefore you can do it as there is zero restriction or prohibition. With the exception of applicable federal laws and the standard (in most states) prohibition about carrying (open or concealed) into a police station or courtroom. Yes, you can actually carry in the courthouse. You are supposed to OC, but in some locales this isn’t paid much attention to.
    Wyoming has decent preemption and castle doctrine. Wyoming also does not prohibit concealed carry for any Wyoming resident that can otherwise legally carry a firearm. You must have been a resident for six months before you can take advantage of this. Maybe that’s where your confusion lies?


  11. If there’s a tool for fixing stupid, would someone please tell me where to buy it? I’ve tried Amazon. Nothing.

  12. Niall McCarthy on his perspective on their one data point conclusion….”its violent crime rate is relatively low compared to other states. Nevertheless, a high rate of gun suicide is still cause for serious concern”

    Well Niall how concern are you? Sorta concerned meaning you’ll think about it for 8 seconds before you move on or plunge your life savings into a suicide call center save the world “concern”. I worry more about what wine I’m having with my cheese than how many folks smoke their bang stick. This fake concern for their fellow-man is amusing, was though words heal gaping wounds. It’s really none of Niall business how one decides to leave this world.

    So take your article and….OOOOHHHH wait a minute maybe there is a use for his data….IS the tipping point for lower crime having 20% of the folks carrying a side arm? How much coin would this nation save if crime dropped. Less incarceration, less police, less judges, less probation, less prosecution. Big payday for the average citizen not having a tax burden. More guns for everyone.

    • Face it – if all crime stopped tomorrow for all time, taxes would not be reduced. When was the last time you heard about taxes being reduced?

      I didn’t think so.

  13. Well it ain’t Illinois…people would be shocked how many legal(and not) guns are in downstate Illinois. Huge numbers of hunters. I have several old friends and accquaintences who have hundreds. Chicagoland wrecks the whole state.I hope the new governor Rauner isn’t a d##hhead as I suspect…

    • Southern Illinois and Northern New York and Rural CA are basically “occupied territory.” (Whereas Chicago, NYC, SF and LA are Enemy Territory.) My condolences to you all in those regions.

  14. ‘Bama does have permit for concealed carry. It costs between $10 to $20 annually, depending on the county and requires an initial background check. If you pass, the sheriff must issue the permit.

    Alabama was nominally may issue, with most counties acting as shall issue until 2013 when the law was changed to shall issue and gauge wording was clarified affirming the right to open carry. Open carry was always legal, but some sheriffs and municipalities argued that the law didn’t specifically allow open carry, so it was illegal.

    The 2013 amendment to the law put a stop to all that.

    Oh, employers can’t ban you from securing a firearm in your vehicle anymore, either.

  15. Even though Wyoming is awash with guns, one for every five residents, its violent crime rate is relatively low compared to other states.

    Non sequitur arguments are the best.

    Even though Wyoming is awash with ATV trails, its sailboat ownership rate is relatively low compared to other states.

    • Yo, Vermont be awash in ATV trails, too, but also gots quite a population of sailboats.

      And no gun laws, per se, other than maybe the unwritten one that we probably shouldn’t make a habit of toting machine guns into church services on Sunday mornings.

      • That’s because you crazy Vermonters leave water lying around on the ground. In Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, etc., we know better than to do that. 🙂

        (One of these days a Vermonter will call me a “flatlander” and I may die laughing.)

  16. It’s not the best for overall gun friendliness, but it is worth noting that Colorado has the best castle doctrine in the country. We are TOTALLY IMMUNE from prosecution if we use deadly force to defend ourselves in our homes here. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and read the law. It’s pretty remarkable how explicit it is (repeatedly using language like “right to except ABSOLUTE safety” or “any perceived threat, no matter how minor”). Some of our other stupid laws notwithstanding, that’s a pretty important aspect of the law.

    And if you stay out of the urban areas in the front range, the cops mostly turn a blind eye to violations of our new, dumb laws.

    • Arizona law has you beat. If a person is in the act of committing a crime, the victim of that crime shall be immune from prosecution. If the criminal has an accomplice, and that accomplice is shot and killed the criminal faces murder charges. No duty to retreat in AZ. You can even come to the aid of another.

  17. Highest number of gun registrations is an indicator of state government friendliness???? In a Bizarro universe maybe. Think I’ll just stay here in AZ ..but thanks anyway.

  18. Have you ever been to Wyoming in the winter time? No kidding the suicide rate is high! The place has many beautiful areas but the plain area in the winter might as well be called New West Hell.

  19. OK, here’s some perspective for all y’all city slickers on why the suicide rate is so high in places like Wyoming, the Great Basin, etc.

    There’s two major reasons I’ve seen for suicide by gun in the rural west. The first is depression. Some people simply cannot handle the isolation. There’s not a lot of rah-rah entertainment and bulldooky going on out here in the sagebrush when you’re outside of town. During winters in the west, some areas get pretty friggin’ grim. Right now, I’m sick to my missing wisdom teeth of shovelling snow. It seems that every other day since Christmas Eve, I’ve been shovelling snow, or moving it with machines to make room for more snow. Global warming, my ass. We’ve got easily a foot+ of “global warming” on the ground since Christmas day, but that’s an average. In the west, you rarely get a nice even coat of snow – the wind blows during snowstorms, and you get these huge friggin’ drifts – up against your door, covering your car, etc. You’ve got to get that snow away from your buildings and vehicles, because “the melt” isn’t due for months to come and you need to get out and about.

    At some point, I can see some older, unhealthy and depressed people throwing down the snow shovel and saying “Screw it, I’m outta here.”

    Next up: The quality of medical care is marginal in many smaller communities. They can handle more common issues, but when you get into serious terminal issues like cancer, many smaller hospitals and practices are simply out of their depth. This, coupled with the insane “war on drugs” has resulted in many people in rural areas who have advanced cancer getting into situations where they are in unbearable pain. Once the cancer gets into your bones, you’re screwed, and you’re screwed in a most painful way. I knew two men, both of whom I’d never have guess would shoot themselves, do exactly that when the cancer progressed to a point where they couldn’t handle the pain any more.

    Why did it get that bad? Because rural hospitals are under tight scutiny on prescribing opiates to help people handle severe pain – so they resist writing a script. Then if you do get a script, you have issues getting the script filled – you have to be in a town of sufficient size to even find a pharmacy that carries the opiates or pain killers.

    In the end, many people just figure a .38 Special or 12 gauge will end it with less pain than allowing cancer to chew them up for another two weeks. They’re going to be dead no matter what… but these gun grabbers’ agenda doesn’t take this sort of thing into account.

    Now, to our crime rate in Wyoming: We have a very low rate of crime in Wyoming. Our rate of homicide with guns (or anything else) is lower than most major cities in Canuckistan to our north, and that’s even with a couple of large Indian rez’s in our state, which are often plagued with violence and alcoholism issues.

    In general, we have so many guns in private ownership in Wyoming, we could invade most any South American country and be done with the issue before lunchtime. I’ve seen local polling that shows 60+% of all homes have guns in them. Go down the street and odds are high that half the vehicles you see with Wyoming plates have a gun in them. 4H shooting programs are filled with kids. The CCW and Pistol Safety classes are held once/quarter at many ranges, and they’re constantly filled. We’re up to our ears in guns – and guess what? You can walk down the middle of any street in any city in Wyoming at most any hour of the day and … nothing happens. I pack in a way that no one can make me, and when people learn I’m a gunsmith, they simply assume I’m carrying – and if they learn that on some random day, I’m not, they’re rather surprised.

    Many people here carried concealed in town. People doing the “open carry to make a point” with long guns in town would be pulled aside here and told to quit being an attention whore and either conceal it or put it away. Outside of town? Knock yourself out, pack whatever you want, however you want. In town? People like to be polite, and that means concealed. If you print? Eh, so what. You’re open carrying under your ranch coat in the winter? OK, that’s a wobbler. It was concealed on the street, and it showed when you sat down for coffee. You made the effort to conceal it, and that is what counts.

    • Sorry friend, but you are far off base regarding open carry. I’ve carried openly all over the state and South Dakota for ten years without problems. NOBODY CARES outside of the yuppie liberal cities like Cheyenne. If you – or anyone- prefer CC, no problem, but please do not assume to know what is best for anyone else.

      In fact, not too many years ago, in the west it was considered cowardly and very suspicious to conceal your weapon…

      I carry openly. It has nothing to do with showing off or making a political statement. It demonstrates that I am ready and willing to be responsible for myself and my safety.

        • In this state, nearly three-quarters of suicides are white males, between ages 35 to 60. In cases where the background events are known, three factors stand out: divorce, unemployment and veteran status, with the first two factors being much larger cohorts than the third.

          In younger males (high school to college ages), the factors that stand out are booze and drugs in the 30 days prior to suicides.

      • I’m talking of the “open carry activists” who think they’re making a point by packing rifles in the open on Main Street.

        Open carry a handgun? Pretty much ignored until you’re around prohibited locations (especially bars, with the stupid “where do they get their revenue?” qualification).

        Someone carrying a rifle on Main Street with a magazine in it? Then lots of people take notice, including me, I’m packing a loaded handgun in a major caliber and I can hit things at 50 yards.

        • Depends on where you are, of course, and what else is going on. During hunting season here, and lots of other places, long guns are carried in all sorts of ways all over the place, and are not at all remarkable. We don’t have “open carry” demonstrations here. Not many people carry openly anywhere, but it is not remarkable here in the least outside of certain areas taken over by the socialist types. 🙁

          We also don’t have any foolish “laws” prohibiting OC in or around bars, etc. I know that a lot of people CC in bars, etc. as well. No big deal here. Nobody asks. And I can’t recall there ever being a problem because of it.

          There are zero state laws or regulations regarding OC here. All federal “laws” apply, unfortunately, but that has nothing to do with where one carries except federal “property” and the stupid post office. There are a number of places where a smart person might choose not to carry, of course… but that’s a whole different thing.

        • You’re right that the statutes are silent on OC – at all. It’s pretty amazing, actually. I don’t know that I want to deal the the city constabularies on the issue, since so many of them appear to have been hired from out of state.

          The CC statutes prohibit carrying on any part of an establishment that is “primarily” devoted to serving alcohol. First offense, misdemeanor, $750, up to six months in jail. Second offense, felony.

          I’ve talked to my local state rep about this issue, and she won’t hear anything but her own thoughts on the issue. In the future, I might run against her just to get this issue addressed in Cheyenne. I think the CC ban in bars is seriously dumb prohibition, and it is yet more evidence of the idiotic notions about booze that still exist in this state. At long last, haven’t we heard enough from the temperance whinges?

          Personally, the biggest inconvenience to me is the prohibition of carrying on college campuses, and then when I’m responding to a fire call, the extra hassle it takes to secure my CCW rig before putting on bunker gear.

  20. Is this supposed to refer to an article on Forbes? A link to said article would have been appropriate. Even by searching with the author’s name found in the URL for the infographic there is nothing to be found.

    • The image seems to be a link to the article, but I think it has been taken down. Doesn’t show up under the author on either.

  21. Forbes shouldn’t let people who are totally ignorant of a subject write articles about them, it makes you wonder if their editorial incompetence carries over to their other subjects.

    It also looks as if Wyoming is the most Machine Gun and Suppressor Friendly State, so they have that going for them.

    • Suppressors and SBR’s seem to becoming very popular here. Full-auto… I don’t really know how many full-auto guns are flowing into collections in the state for shooting purposes. I do know of some guys who are collectors who have purchased original Thompson sub-guns, but that wasn’t so much to shoot as for the collector value of the gun, which appreciates quite nicely over the years.

      Suppressors tho – you can increasingly buy them at many Main Street LGS, pawn shops, etc.

  22. Arkansas isn’t all that gun friendly. The open carry there is questionable and likely to not hold up in courts. Plus, no gun signs have force of law.

    Florida is not on the list despite having vehicle carry without a ccw license. Florida also has 1.3 Million CCW licenses in effect. Florida ranks #2 on legal NFA items behind Texas. Georgia is a distant 3rd. None of these 3 states register any kind of weapons. In Florida its actually against state statute and is a felony for any agency or private entity to keep lists of lawful owners or registries of their guns.

  23. How about a list of the 10 most anti-gun news sources? The addition of popular internet sources such as the Huffington Post may be helpful as well. Most of us on here know what to avoid or conversely what to check out to witness the depths of human stupidity for a good laugh. People new to firearms may not know this however.

  24. Not sure if it is embarrassment or intellectual honesty, but the infographic has disappeared from “data journalist” Niall McCarthy’s site within Forbes ( And there is no mention of it on his Twitter feed @uisceglas.

    Of course, if it were intellectual honesty, he might have posted a note somewhere on his site indicating that the infographic was terrible and he is sorry he posted it.

    Real social scientists assess the accuracy of measures of social phenomena using a concept called “face validity.” It’s a technical version of the “sniff test.” Whatever you call it, this one fails.

    Which has me thinking, was this supposed infographic an elaborate ruse? Is this people in the gun culture just trying to make gun control advocates look bad? LOL.

  25. Slightly off topic, I have read a time or two on the interwebz that in WI, anyone can legally, permit-less open carry, residents and nonresidents alike. Can someone pretty please dial me in as to where it says that in WI Gun Laws? Sorry, my google-fu and reading legalese sucks.

  26. Has the Forbes article been taken down? I can’t find it, and a search on the site finds it, but results in a 404.

  27. Not only is delaware a small state but we have no registration requirements. I assure you The First State is plenty tooled up.

  28. I don’t understand. I live in Wyoming and none of my over 400 firearms are registered. Not a single one. No such registration requirement exists in Wyoming.

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