Today, open carry laws in America vary from state to state. The states are typically divided in the following main categories.
PERMISSIVE OPEN CARRY STATES
The states that come under this category have enacted full preemption of every firearm law. They don’t restrict open carry for every non-prohibited citizen and don’t inquire a license or a permit for openly carrying a firearm. Open carry is permitted on a motor vehicle and on foot. It should be kept in mind that whilst open carrying might be permitted in these jurisdictions per se, the individuals who openly carry might be apprehended and booked by police officials for disrupting the peace or for disorderly conduct in specific circumstances and locations where open carry may create public alarm.
LICENSED OPEN CARRY STATES
The states that come under this category have enacted full preemption of every firearm law. They allow open carry of handguns for all non-prohibited citizens when they have been granted a license or permit. The openly carrying of handguns is permitted on a motor vehicle and on foot. However, in practice, a few of these states that have ‘may issue’ licensing laws might be regarded as non-permissive when it comes to openly carrying as the authorities rarely issue permits or licenses to ordinary citizens.
ANOMALOUS OPEN CARRY STATES
Legality of open carry varies in these states as per their local policies. Certain local jurisdictions might allow open carry while others might enact different levels of restrictions or entirely prohibit open carry.
NON-PERMISSIVE OPEN CARRY STATES
The states that come under this category have outlawed open carrying of handguns for the most part, or permit it under limited circumstances. These limited circumstances might include while hunting, when traveling to and from hunting sites, while on property controlled by the individual carrying or for lawful self-defense. Furthermore, certain states with ‘may-issue’ licensing laws are non-permissive when the issuing authorities are extremely restrictive in issuing licensing for open carry.
RURAL OPEN CARRY STATES
In such states, open carry is typically prohibited, expect in unincorporated county areas in which population density is below the statutorily defined threshold and the local authorities have passed legislation for not prohibiting open carry in such jurisdiction. These states can also be regarded as anomalous open carry states.