What States Allow Open Carry of Firearms?

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As of November 2014, most states allow the open carry of some type of firearm except for California, Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C., according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Texas, South Carolina and New York let citizens carry long guns openly but not handguns.

Massachusetts, New Jersey and Minnesota allow open carry of handguns but not long guns. All other states not previously mentioned let citizens openly carry handguns, but some have restrictions. Citizens of 31 states do not need a license or permit to openly carry guns, and 13 states have a license or permit requirement, according to LCPGV.

Open carry is a legal principle in the United States that allows citizens to carry firearms in public in plain view. Contrarily, concealed weapons are those firearms people carry that are hidden from plain sight. In many states with open carry laws, entities such as businesses, government agencies, schools, bars and public transportation vehicles may choose to ban firearms from their premises entirely, explains LCPGV.

Lawmakers in Texas introduced several bills in November 2014 regarding open carry in the state, according to Fox 4 KBTV. Some legislators want concealed permit holders to be able to carry handguns openly. State Rep. James White believes open carry of weapons reduces crime and gives ordinary citizens the ability to protect themselves responsibly.

The states have set restrictions on where an individual may open carry a loaded gun; individuals are not allowed to carry them in schools or courthouses, according to Nolo. The gun rights groups have a mixed reaction over open carry. Those against the implementation of the law are cautious in addressing it, while those in support are outspoken in advocating its implementation. The debate on whether to permit open carry or not still continues. Proponents state that law-abiding citizens carry their guns in public display to indicate they have nothing to hide.