Special Report

States With the Best and Worst Gun Laws

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46. Missouri
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 20.52 per 100,000 people (7th highest)

Since 2017, Missouri has allowed concealed weapons without a permit in public with a few exceptions. There are no statutes regarding open carry, but people lawfully carrying a concealed firearm may briefly and openly display the weapon in normal sight of another person, unless it’s displayed in an aggressive fashion and is not for self-defense.

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47. Kentucky
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 14.91 per 100,000 people (17th highest)

In 2019, Kentucky repealed rules requiring people to obtain a license and background check to carry a concealed weapon. Now anyone over the age of 21 who is legally eligible to possess a firearm may carry a hidden, loaded firearm. There are no laws regarding openly carrying a firearm in most public settings.

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48. Wyoming
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 22.47 per 100,000 people (3rd highest)

Starting July 1, 2021, residents and nonresidents in Wyoming will no longer need permits to carry a concealed firearm. This represents a further loosening of gun laws after 2011, when the state began exempting anyone who would qualify for a concealed-firearm permit to forgo the permit if they were willing to submit to a federal background check.

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49. Idaho
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 14.16 per 100,000 people (19th highest)

Idaho allows the open carry of handguns and long guns in public without a permit. The state generally prohibits any group of armed people (literally, a “body of men”) from parading in public, with a few exceptions, such as veterans’ groups on Memorial Day. In 2016 the state scrapped permit and background-check requirements for individuals seeking to carry hidden, loaded guns.

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50. Mississippi
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 24.23 per 100,000 people (2nd highest)

Mississippi does not require a permit for openly carrying guns in public, but it prohibits gun owners from exhibiting the weapon aggressively in the presence of three or more people. Violators may be fined $500 and/or up to three months in jail. In 2016, the state scrapped rules requiring individuals to obtain a permit to carry loaded, hidden handguns in a certain type of holster in public, with a few exceptions.

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