The Top 15 States with the Highest Legal Firearm Ownership

Legal firearm ownership is an integral part of American culture and heritage. Not only does the 2nd Amendment codify our right to self defense but it is also a check on the Federal government to ensure that the Land of the Free always stays that way.

But this begs the question, which state has the highest legal firearm ownership? In this post, we’ll identify the top 15 states with the most legal gun ownership (#4 will surprise you!).

1. Texas

San Antonio, Texas
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As they like to say in the South, “You don’t mess with Texas!” With an estimated 1,000,000+ legal firearms in circulation, Texas holds down the #1 spot by a wide margin. Overall, Texas is unquestionably one of the best states for gun owners as it is the home to numerous firearms and ammunition manufacturers.

Texas residents who are 21 years of age and are lawfully allowed to own a firearm can carry concealed without a permit. The Texas legislature has also passed numerous laws to protect Texan’s Second Amendment rights, making it an incredibly appealing state to Americans who love their guns.

2. Florida

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Although many travelers associate the Sunshine State with Disney World, gorgeous beaches, and exceptional orange juice, it is also the home to the second largest population of legal firearms in the United States. With an estimated 500,000+ firearms available, Florida easily locks down the #2 spot on our list.

Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed into law permitless concealed carry legislation. This allows responsible, lawful Florida citizens to carry concealed without a government issued permit in areas where it is legal to do so.

3. Virginia

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Traditionally a state with deep ties to hunting and conservative values, it’s no surprise that Virginia ranks #3 when it comes to the states with the most legal firearm ownership. Despite a deep rooted heritage of personal freedom, Virginian does have several gun control measures on the books including universal background checks and limiting locations where residents are allowed to open carry.

4. California

New Wave City, San Francisco, California
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This one is an absolute shocker, but with just over 400,000 licensed firearms in the state California comes in at #4. This is extremely surprising considering California has some of the strictest and most oppressive gun laws in the United States.

However, it’s important to note that this number is somewhat inflated due to California’s higher population of over 39 million residents. When looking at the per capita (number of gun owners per 1,000 people), California comes in around 10.4, which is almost 3.5x lower than Texas and nearly 5x lower than Virginia.  

5. Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Often referred to as the State of Independence, Pennsylvania has several gun control restrictions on the books. But this didn’t stop it from being the #5 state for firearm ownership with an estimated 350,000 legal guns available.

Despite a long tradition of hunting and firearm ownership, Pennsylvania residents are required to process all transactions through a licensed dealer (even private sales) and pay an additional tax for firearms purchases.

6. Georgia

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Known for their lovely port cities, peaches, and home to the US Army’s Fort Moore (formerly Fort Benning), it’s no surprise that Georgia ranks #6 on our list of states with the most legal firearms. In early 2023, Georgia became one of the more recent states to adopt Constitutional Carry, meaning you don’t need a permit to carry a firearm if you’re a resident and legally allowed to do so.

7. Arizona

Downtown Phoenix, Arizona, USA Skyline
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As one of the most 2nd Amendment friendly states, it comes at no surprise that Arizona residents love their firearms. Not only does Arizona allow for Constitutional Carry, but they are also a “Shall Issue” state for concealed carry. This means that if you legally qualify for a permit, you will be approved.

Arizona residents also receive several tax breaks when purchasing legal firearms. And despite having one quarter the population of Texas, Arizona has higher per capita gun ownership at 35.6 firearms per 1,000 residents. 

8. North Carolina

Greensboro, North Carolina, USA downtown city park and skyline.
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Home to the US Army’s 82nd Airborne division and Kitty Hawk, the site where the Wright brothers first took flight, North Carolina is a state full of history and has the 8th most legal firearms in the United States. With over 200,000 legal firearms in the state, residents enjoy permitless open carry in most areas while a concealed handgun permit is required for concealed carry.

9. Ohio

Columbus, Ohio
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The Buckeye State is home to the 9th most legal firearms in the United States. Nestled in Midwest, Ohio is home to over 200,000 guns and anyone over 21 can legally carry one without a permit. However, the current state administration is hearing arguments for stricter gun control laws, which is contrary to the state’s previous stance as being pro-Second Amendment.

10. Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, USA downtown city skyline.
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As another extremely pro-gun ownership state, it comes as no surprise that residents of Alabama love their firearms. Numerous laws have been passed to protect resident gun owners, while anyone over 19 is allowed to open carry a firearm without a permit provided they can legally own one. For concealed carry, residents of Alabama must apply at their local sheriff’s office and pass a background check.

11. Washington

Seattle, Washington
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This is another shocker, as Washington state has numerous laws on the books restricting the Constitutional rights of residents. Recently enacting a new “assault weapons ban”, Washington still ranks #11 for the most legally owned firearms with over 150,000.

Residents of Washington are required to pass Federal background checks and a mandatory 10-day waiting period before purchasing a firearm. Furthermore, recent legislation has been proposed requiring firearm training before residents are allowed to purchase a firearm. Washington also has one of the lowest firearms ownership per capita rates of 1.2 firearms per 1,000 residents (New Jersey is the lowest at 1.1).

12. Indiana

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Home of the legendary Indy 500, Indiana is an incredibly gun-friendly state and ranks #12 for the most legally owned firearms in the USA. With over 150,000 estimated firearms legally owned and a rich history of hunting and sport shooting, residents of Indiana are allowed to open or concealed carry without a permit.

13. Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Downtown Skyline Aerial
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If you love nightlife, then it’s hard to beat Louisiana for Mardi Gras, creole, and the French Quarter. But hot sauce isn’t the only thing selling in Louisiana, as it ranks #13 in firearms ownership at 152,000 estimated guns in circulation.

Louisiana is an open carry state, meaning that anyone over 18 years old who can legally own a firearm may carry it without a permit. However, a permit is still required for concealed carry as recent legislation to remove the requirement for permits was vetoed by Governor Edwards. 

14. Tennessee

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Once described as, “The patron state of shootin’ stuff” by Mark Wahlberg in the 2007 movie Shooter, Tennessee comes in towards the bottom of our top 15 list at #14. With approximately 151,000 firearms in the state, Tennessee is a Constitutional Carry state, allowing residents to carry openly or concealed without a permit. Tennessee is unique in that it requires firearms purchasers to pass not only a standard NICS federal background check, but also a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) background check as well.

15. Colorado

BOULDER, COLORADO, JANUARY 27, 2014: Visitors visit the downtown areas of Boulder, Colorado. Boulder Downtown area, including the Pearl Street Mall, is in the western part of present-day Boulder.
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For many years Colorado was a very pro-gun state with a rich history of hunting and personal firearms ownership. However, in recent years Colorado has become somewhat of a battleground state between pro and anti-gun advocates. Despite having a new “assault weapons ban” on the books and a state legislature that seems keen on enacting more gun control laws, Colorado still ranks #15 in personal firearms ownership.

Once the home of Magpul Industries, a prominent firearms accessory manufacturer, the company moved their production facilities from Colorado to Wyoming when magazine restrictions were introduced in 2013.


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Chris Dwulet

Chris Dwulet is the lead writer and editor for He's an avid shooter, beginning at the age of 7 shooting his father's 22LR bolt action rifle. Since then, Chris has become a USPSA competitive shooter, handloader, and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment and personal liberty.

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