CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Each year, Guns and Ammo magazine releases a report entitled “Best State for Gun Owners,” ranking the states and Washington, D.C. based on several different criteria. For the second year in a row, the magazine ranked West Virginia as the 15th best state for gun owners.
Arizona, Idaho, Alaska, Kansas and Oklahoma were ranked as the top five, while New York (51st), Massachusetts (50), New Jersey (49), Hawaii (48) and California (47) were ranked as the worst states for gun owners.
The magazine examines each state’s laws on right-to-carry, which identifies whether a state has “permitless carry,” as West Virginia does, “shall issue” permits, where as long a someone meets the state’s criteria, they get a carry permit (West Virginia also does this) or a “may issue” permits, where a permit is not guaranteed. You can find a full breakdown on West Virginia’s laws related to what it calls “constitutional carry,” as well as concealed carry permits here.
The report also looks at a category it describes as “black rifles.” In this category, writers looked at state laws that limit magazine capacity or ban or restrict guns based on their appearance.
It further looks at individual state restrictions based on the National Firearms Act (NFA). The act federally regulates the sale, transfer and ownership of machine guns, silencers/suppressors, short-barreled guns and other things. The NFA allows states to further restrict those items.
The report gave West Virginia full marks on those three categories.
It also looks at use of force laws, which are often described with the term “Castle Doctrine.” Those laws typically dictate whether someone has to try to escape a threat before using deadly force to defend himself, or if a person can to stand his ground without trying to escape.
The final category the report looks at is labeled as “miscellaneous” and examines things like the state’s gun culture, the number of places to shoot and its red flag laws, which allow law enforcement or family members to ask a court to take guns away from people they believe are a danger to themselves or others.
You can read the full report here.