By: José Niño

Guns and Ammo Magazine has just released its new annual rankings for Best States for Concealed Carry.

The firearms magazine is generally known for its annual “Best States for Gun Owners” rankings, which grades states on their concealed carry laws, access to Black Rifles, states’ respective Castle Doctrines, their prohibitions of National Firearms Act (NFA)-regulated accessories, and miscellaneous categories such as preemption laws, gun culture, and the number of venues for gun owners to shoot at.

In 2020, Guns & Ammo wanted to change things up by also releasing a ranking that specifically looked at states’ concealed carry laws. The last time Guns & Ammo released a similar ranking was back in 2015. Since then, several gun polices have changed in various states. One of those has been the surge of Constitutional Carry, the concept that any law-abiding individual can carry a firearm without obtaining a government permit. Several states, such as Missouri, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Oklahoma have embraced Constitutional Carry. As of now, there are more than 15 states in the nation with Constitutional Carry in place.

The 2020 edition of Guns & Ammo’s concealed carry rankings looked at several facets of concealed carry regulations to grade states on their friendliness or hostility towards the carry of firearms. The concealed carry rankings judged states on the categories of “issuance, reciprocity/recognition, training requirements, fees, the existence and strength of so-called “Castle Doctrine” or “Stand Your Ground” laws, rankings from the ‘Best States for Gun Owners’ survey, duty to inform law enforcement, firearm law preemption, and non-resident permit issuance.”

As far as the top five states for concealed carry are concerned, Arizona led the pack. Kansas, Idaho, Kentucky, and New Hampshire followed in the top five. Hawaii was in dead last, taking 51st place for best states for concealed carry. California, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland followed in the bottom five states for the right to concealed carry.

Guns & Ammo magazine provided the specific rankings for the top and bottom 5 states for concealed carry:

There are stark contrasts in state policy regarding the right to carry and gun policy across the country. These divides will likely sharpen as the country’s political polarization grows over time. Nevertheless, in this environment of political tension, there are great opportunities for individuals to confront anti-gun legislative efforts and also pass meaningful legislation that enhances Second Amendment freedoms.

We shouldn’t forget that the battle for the normalization of concealed carry was the product of decades of hard work at the grassroots level. At the start of the 1980s, the concept of concealed carry seemed radical to most people and was not on politicians’ radar. But now, concealed carry is the norm throughout America, although certain jurisdictions such as New York and California obviously restrict this right more than states like Idaho or Arizona. The lesson here is that gun owners must be ready to play the long game and fight regardless of who wins the presidential election on November 3.

The foundations of successful political movements are often set years beforehand. They don’t just take off overnight.

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.