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Americans Own 300 Million Guns -- Where Can They Carry Them?

Douglas A. McIntyre

3. Idaho
> Concealed carry permit required: No
> Gun ownership rate: 56.9% (3rd highest)
> Firearm-related death rate: 13.0 per 100,000 (18th highest)

This year, Idaho passed a law allowing its residents to carry a concealed, loaded weapon in public anywhere in the state. This had previously only been legal outside of city limits. Idaho also imposes relatively few restrictions on gun purchases. Guns can be acquired without a license, background check, or waiting period.

Firearm dealers are also not licensed or otherwise limited by the state. Likely as a result, there are roughly 32 firearm dealers in the state for every 1,000 establishments, more than double the national proportion of 18 dealers for every 1,000 businesses and one of the highest proportions in the country. These limited restrictions also likely contribute to the state’s high gun ownership rate. About 57% of the state’s adults owns guns, the third highest such rate of any state

4. Kansas
> Concealed carry permit required: No
> Gun ownership rate: 32.2% (25th lowest)
> Firearm-related death rate: 11.3 per 100,000 (25th lowest)

In Kansas, guns are prohibited in mental health facilities, places of worship, and public sporting events. However, the state’s gun laws are relaxed in a number of other ways. The state passed a law in 2015 allowing adults to carry a concealed pistol without a license or permit. In addition, the state does not require a background check, license, or impose a waiting period on gun purchases, nor does it limit the number of firearms that can be purchased at any one time.

While the state has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country, gun ownership is only slightly higher than average — 32.2% of the adult population owns guns compared to a national share of 29.1%.

5. Maine
> Concealed carry permit required: No
> Gun ownership rate: 22.6% (12th lowest)
> Firearm-related death rate: 10.0 per 100,000 (16th lowest)

Maine is one of two New England states, along with Vermont, to permit its residents to carry a concealed, loaded weapon in public. However, unlike some other states on this list, Maine imposes several restrictions on ownership. In 2015, the state passed a law temporarily barring those convicted of domestic abuse from possessing a firearm. In many other respects, however, the state does not impose many of the basic restrictions other states do. No background check, license, or waiting period is needed before purchasing a weapon.

Maine is unusual among states with such lax gun laws in its relatively low gun ownership and gun death rates. Only 22% of Maine’s adult population owns firearms, the 11th lowest proportion in the country. There are 10 deaths for every 100,000 residents annually in Maine, compared to a national rate of 10.25 per 100,000.