Special Report

The States With the Loosest Gun Laws

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31. South Carolina
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 19.80 per 100,000 people (8th highest)

South Carolina generally requires a concealed carry permit for handguns in public places. As in many other states, gun permits require a background check and gun-safety training. In March, the state House voted in favor of a measure that would allow gun owners with a concealed carry permit to openly carry their handguns.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

32. Georgia
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 15.78 per 100,000 people (14th highest)

Georgia allows open or concealed carrying of handguns with a valid “weapons carry” license. People are required by law to openly display their long guns (typically rifles and shotguns) in public places if the gun is loaded. Handgun owners do not require a license to carry an unloaded handgun in its case. There are no special regulations pertaining to assault weapons.

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33. Louisiana
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 22.13 per 100,000 people (6th highest)

Louisiana’s gun control laws include no restrictions on assault weapons or the open carry of firearms.The state allows people to carry concealed handguns in public with a permit, but prohibits the “negligent carrying of a concealed handgun.” Like other states with loose gun laws, Louisiana is a “shall issue” state, which in this case means the government guarantees a gun permit if the applicant meets the criteria.

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34. Montana
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 18.93 per 100,000 people (10th highest)

Since February 2021, Montanans have no longer needed a permit to carry a concealed loaded weapon. Carrying such weapons remains forbidden to those who are legally prohibited from possessing firearms, and to everyone in places that prohibit firearms in general. Open carry of firearms in most public places is allowed. There are no regulations specifically addressing assault weapons.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

35. Texas
> Gun law grade in 2020: F
> Gun death rate: 12.64 per 100,000 people (24th lowest)

Texas is poised to allow its residents to carry handguns without a license unless they’re prohibited by state and federal law from possessing a gun. Texans are already allowed to openly carry long guns, including assault-style semi-automatic rifles, in most public spaces without a license. (Texas is a major source of assault weapons trafficked to Mexico and Central America.)

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