Special Report

States Where Anyone Can Carry a Concealed Weapon

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.

6. Vermont
> Concealed carry permit required: No
> Gun ownership rate: 28.8% (20th lowest)
> Firearm-related death rate: 11.0 per 100,000 (23rd lowest)

Vermont’s gun laws are exceptionally lenient even among other states on this list. Vermonters may carry openly or concealed firearms of all kinds anywhere in the state except for on school property or in a court house. There are also no screening processes such as background checks, quantity limits, or waiting periods required under state law. Those who have committed violent or gun-related misdemeanors, the mentally ill, and drug and alcohol abusers in the state are all legally able to purchase a gun.

Despite the lenient gun laws, the state is also exceptional as one of the safest in the country. Vermont’s violent crime rate of just 99 incidents per 100,000 residents in a year is the lowest of any state. The state’s firearm death rate of 11.0 per 100,000 people is also lower than the majority of states. While guns acquired in the state do not seem to be leading to higher levels of violence, Vermont is a major source of guns used in crimes outside the state, according to data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.