Curious about the best states are for responsible gun owners? In this article, the criminal defense lawyers at Edgett Law Firm discuss some of the criteria you should consider. We’ll also provide our opinion on some of the best states to exercise your Second Amendment rights. 

If you are facing firearms-related charges, invoke your right to remain silent and contact a lawyer right away. Time is of the essence when the state has charged you with a firearm related crime. Your future and reputation can depend on having an aggressive and experienced attorney.

What Makes a State Good for Gun Owners?

When you are searching for the best states for responsible gun owners, five main criteria should be front of mind. 

The five most important criteria are:

  • Concealed carry / constitutional carry rules
  • Restrictions on “assault weapons” and magazine sizes
  • Gun registration and/or waiting periods to buy
  • Castle Doctrine 
  • Stand Your Ground law

These five criteria cover your rights to purchase the firearms of your choice, carry a concealed handgun, and how you can legally defend yourself. Gun owners must always be aware of their state’s gun laws. In particular, responsible gun owners must understand when they can lawfully use lethal force.

#1 Arizona

Arizona has long been considered one of the absolute best states for responsible gun owners. Arizona checks all the boxes on our criteria list. 

Arizona allows permitless concealed carry of handguns for anyone 21+ who can legally own one. Arizona is also a Castle Doctrine state and is widely considered to be a Stand Your Ground state as well. 

Castle Doctrine essentially means that if you are in your home, you do not have a duty to retreat before using deadly force to defend yourself (provided of course you reasonably believe lethal force is required to protect yourself or others from deadly force).

Stand Your Ground law basically extends Castle Doctrine outside the home. It says that you don’t have a duty to retreat to use deadly force if you reasonably believe you are facing an immediate threat of lethal force against yourself or others. Stand Your Ground only applies if you are in a place that you are legally allowed to be.

#2 Idaho

Like Arizona, Idaho is also a Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground state — assuming you meet the other criteria to use lethal force. Idaho also began to allow permitless concealed carry (constitutional carry) in 2020 for anyone over 18 who can legally own a handgun.

Idaho has incredibly favorable language in the law for responsible gun owners. For instance, they have a law on the books releasing gun owners from liability if they use force to defend themselves or others from murder, rape, aggravated assault, or robbery

#3 Texas – Our home state

The great state of Texas didn’t make the list of best states for responsible gun owners for a few years. However, recently the Texas Legislature passed Constitutional Carry!

This means that if you are 21 or older and can lawfully own a handgun, you don’t need a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed handgun. Importantly, Texas is also a Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine State. 

If you are facing charges for a gun crime or have legal questions about gun laws in Texas, contact a criminal defense law firm for help. A lawyer can investigate the circumstances around your charges and identify ways to challenge the evidence against you. Always make sure you understand the local laws that apply to you when it comes to gun ownership and self-defense.