What is Open Carry?
Open Carry means to openly carry a gun in public where it is not hidden from common observation. Some states specify that open carry occurs when the weapon is “partially visible,” while others may require the weapon to be “fully visible” to be considered carried openly.
Open Carry Laws generally fall into one of four categories:
- Permissive Open Carry States — Allow you to openly carry a gun without a permit or license (includes Alaska, New Mexico and West Virginia).
- Licensed Open Carry States — Allow gun owners to carry firearms openly only after they are issued a permit or license (includes Connecticut, Indiana and Utah).
- Anomalous Open Carry States — Carrying a gun openly may be generally lawful under state law, but local governments may pass gun laws that are more restrictive than the state’s laws (California).
- Non-Permissive Open Carry States — Carrying a gun openly is against state law, or is legal only in limited circumstances (e.g., while hunting) or when legally used for self-defense (includes the District of Columbia, New York and South Carolina).