Arizona Tops Gun-Rights Rankings (New York is in the Pits)


Guns & Ammo

As an Arizona resident, it does my heart good to see my state top Guns & Ammo's assessment of the very bestest states for gun owners in 2014. Across several categories Arizona scores well by simply leaving people alone and respecting their right to own, use, buy, and sell firearms for fun, hunting, and self-defense.

The ratings are based on state laws' respect for the right to carry, treatment of modern sporting rifles (that's scary assault weapons to you know who), National Firearms Act of 1934-regulated weapons such as machine guns and suppressors, and castle doctrine. There are also miscellaneous considerations, such as state firearm law preemption, registration requirements, and the like.

When it comes to Arizona, Guns & Ammo says:

1. Arizona

Right-to-Carry: 10
MSRs: 10
Class 3/NFA: 9
Castle Doctrine: 10
Miscellaneous: 10

It was a tight race for the top spot, but it came down to the intangibles. The Grand Canyon State takes the top spot again this year, and for good reason. It has the most well-established competitive shooting scene in the nation and a culture that embraces shooters and the shooting sports. Arizona is the home of Gunsite, the nation's oldest and best known private shooting school; the 1,650-acre Ben Avery shooting facilty; as well as numerous firearm manufacturers including Ruger. Concealed and open carry are legal without a permit, and the state also issues permits to residents who travel outside the state. CCW permits from all other states are recognized. Arizona does not restrict legally possessed NFA items, magazines or MSRs.

Guns are just part of the environment here, with a holstered pistol a common sight on people's hips. I attended a dinner party recently which included, at one point, attendees comparing their carry pistols, laid out on the table. Like many residents I rarely go anyplace without a gun secreted somewhere on my person.

Then again, I could say the same of my activity when I lived in Manhattan. I rarely went anywhere without a gun in my pocket, and I felt a hell of a lot safer for it, especially walking back from work at night to my apartment on 4th Street and Avenue B, which wasn't quite as upscale at the time as it is now. But, I was in fact breaking the law—New York comes in at a well-deserved 50 in the gun rights rankings (only the District of Columbia ranks lower). Says Guns & Ammo:

50. New York

Right-to-Carry: 2
MSRs: 1
Class 3/NFA: 0
Castle Doctrine: 3
Miscellaneous: 0

April 15, 2014, saw the deadline for registration of firearms deemed "assault weapons" under the 2013 "SAFE Act." One of the most restrictive gun control schemes in the nation became slightly less restrictive when a judge tossed out the ban on magazines holding more than seven rounds as "arbitrary." Ownership of MSRs is tightly regulated in N.Y., and magazine capacities are limited to 10 rounds. The purchase of a handgun requires a license, the issue of which is solely at the discretion of the issuing authority — these licenses also restrict where the purchaser can possess a handgun. Licenses to carry a concealed firearm are issued on a "may-issue" basis and are difficult to obtain, especially in New York City. Loaded rifles or shotguns cannot be transported in vehicles. NFA items are strictly forbidden.

Add in the picturesque views and the medical marijuana, and Arizona is an easy state to like. If you like being left alone.


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  1. But ‘zona sucks cause sherriff Joe’s a big meanie to criminals.

    1. The trouble with masks is they’re so slippery!

      1. Yep, who needs gun rights when you have stop-n-frisk and chokeholds.


        1. The fuck are you talking about?

          1. That NYC’s policing situation is worse than Sherriff Joe, and they violate gun rights too.

    2. Arpaio is an asshole. He runs his operation like a chain gang, has made Mraicopa county one of the least friendly counties for prison ministries, and treats his prisoners like shit with very little in the way of cost-saving thanks to his tendency to redirect the saved money on unnecessary nonsense that looks cool. He also endorsed Nappy over Salmon in the 90s, introducing the nation to another horrible politician. He has no interest in small government and has a posse of “volunteers” who do nothing but make themselves feel important and harass random citizens. Love AZ, but Sheriff Joe is not part of the reason why.

      1. And a lot of those subject to his abuses are detainees awaiting trial, i.e. people not yet convicted of a crime.

      2. The fact that that asshole keeps getting elected makes me question the decency of a lot of the people who live there (in Maricopa county, anyway) as well.

        1. It’s a matter of motivation. Arpaio has a “volunteer posse” program that hands out badges like candy, and he’ll take his boys on ride-alongs and the like to suitably wow them. These idiots then go and help him win elections and vote for “his” candidates; they are not representative of all Maricopa voters, but they are annoying and (combined the enormous amount of money Arpaio pulls being a conservative celebrity) pretty much guarantees Arpaio’s wins in the election.

          1. Why isn’t he in jail yet?

      3. Arpaio was a total fucking asshole when I left Phoenix in 1992. That he is still the sheriff 22 years later is enraging.

      4. Crime-real crime, as opposed to the ‘crime’ of unauthorized immigration-is also up since Arpaio took charge.

      1. They surveyed reporters for that study?

        That’s just, embarrassing.

        I’m not involved in the statehouse scene here, but I have a very hard time believing that AZ is more corrupt than IL or LA, or any one of at least a dozen other states.

        The political atmosphere in AZ is kinda weird, but it doesn’t really host the kind of cronytastic big spending that really kicks the corruption up a notch.

        1. They surveyed reporters for that study?

          Well, it’s best to get expert opinion from those well “acquainted” with the phenomenon, right?

        2. I’m not involved in the statehouse scene either (Tucson guy, and I’ll be damned if I’m driving to Phoenix for politics — I have to go there enough for work). I have been involved in politics throughout the years I’ve been here, mostly on an ad hoc basis. My observation has been that AZ has a very streamlined petitions and elections process — it is very easy to qualify and understand these things in-state. Politics are very weird but not terribly corrupt; we also don’t really have political dynasties of note or that type of spending and craziness that characterizes, say, IL.

          I’m calling bullshit.

          1. Chuck Huckelberry

        3. Yeah where would you find corruption in AZ politics–something weird like mining regulation?

          I don’t know how New Mexico has managed to escape national scrutiny all these decades, the Dems there have turned it into a desert version of IL.

          1. Yeah where would you find corruption in AZ politics–something weird like mining regulation?

            Well, there’s a lot of money to be made in mining.

            Anyway, the study defined corruption in two ways

            Our main purpose is to construct perception-based indices measuring two specific forms of corruption across American states: illegal and legal. We define illegal corruption as the private gains in the form of cash or gifts by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups. It is the form of corruption that attracts a great deal of public attention. A second form of corruption, however, is becoming more and more common in the U.S.: legal corruption. We define legal corruption as the political gains in the form of campaign contributions or endorsements by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups, be it by explicit or implicit understanding.

            The first definition is called “illegal corruption”, and Arizona tops the list. The second definition is called “legal corruption”, which is basically lobbying, and Kentucky tops the list. (Though Kentucky came in 3rd for illegal corruption as well).

            1. As with RC Dean, I have no confidence in a metric which uses surveys of reporters as a main component.

              Depending on how one defines corruption, one gets strange results. For example, the Center for Public Integrity defines corruption as having less ethics laws and enforcing them less — in their ranking, Wyoming is one of the worst ranked states (the opposite of the study you link to), and IL is ranked middle of the pack. (This strikes me as similar to ranking “safest” states by how many laws on violent crime and how often they are enforced, rather than, say, crime rate). AZ is ranked noticeably lower than IL in this study as well, but is not quite at the bottom of the barrel.

              One can also measure based on wasteful spending and embezzlement. The studies which rank this way usually do not rank AZ as being very corrupt; in general Southern states and your typical high-cost liberal states fare poorly in these rankings.

              Another way to do it is by # of convicted public officials by corruption charge. Again AZ tends to do OK in this type of ranking.

              All of these rankings will vary by the time period measured and how much weight one gives to one factor or another, but frankly I would take any of these metrics over a study which surveys reporters.

              1. You present some possible alternative methods of measuring corruption. However, you haven’t shown why surveying reporters is invalid or less robust than the other methods other than your and RCD’s dislike of journalists. It is reasonable to assume that reporters on the state house beat have expert, insider, and often “off-the-record” knowledge of the politics of a state that the average person does not. Secondly, your 2nd and 3rd methods would have flaws as metrics in corrupt states as the data would be corrupted. You don’t know the amount of money embezzled in a corrupt state until the embezzlers are caught. The act of catch those embezzlers would, by definition, lower the state’s corruption to begin with. Likewise, if you’re convicting public officials of corruption, the state is already doing something about corruption; whereas from the outside, a truly corrupt state, might seem hunky-dory because the average person has no clue as to what’s going on.

                1. Nevertheless, you do bring up a point about qualitative vs. quantitative metrics. The Harvard study shows that local reporters, for whatever reasons, perceive AZ has having the most illegal corruption. This suggests that future researchers design some sort of quantitative study to determine if that perception is backed by numerical data. Your first method has the flaws that you point out; whereas, I’ve already addressed possible criticisms of the second and third methods.

                  But again, one can’t just wave away the study just because one doesn’t like the population surveyed. To do that, you’d have to show that reporters, as a whole, are untrustworthy participants.

                  1. The Harvard study shows that local reporters, for whatever reasons, perceive AZ has having the most illegal corruption.

                    Well, gee I guess if a Harvard study shows that local reports perceive something that it’s undoubtedly true.

                    Because Harvard is a hack factory dedicated to confirmation bias and reporters aren’t statist asshats; or anything.

            2. I strongly protest! IL shall sit on the Throne of Corruption, as rightful King o’ Sleazy Politics!

              We have the revolving prison doors for Governors, we have Cook County and the City of Chicago to stuff the prisons with everything from aldermen to Congressional reps.
              Our legislature has been in the iron claw of one man since 1983, with only a short, two year break. His daughter sits as the AG making sure no pesky investigations or prosecutions take place!
              The last state in the Union to be dragged kicking and screaming into even admitting there is a 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.
              We are home to a perpetual Judicial Hellhole in Madison County, and one man bought 14 of the 16 judges in the next county over from there.

              WE WILL NOT BE DENIED!

              ILLINOIS, Land of Lincoln Will the Defendant Please Rise.

            3. For all those screaming about how bad AZ, and Maricopa Co., are why is it that people are moving into the state, and not fleeing it?
              Just because your panties are in a wad doesn’t mean that your analysis is spot-on.

    3. You know, a state can have both good and bad qualities. Hard to believe, I know.

    4. criminals brown foreigners.

      This isn’t Breitbart. Your racism and fascist tendencies won’t go far here.

  2. And that last sentence is, in a nutshell, what is wrong with New York (and so many other places); a self-selected elite that lives in terrible fear that somewhere, somehow, a citizen may exist who gets through a whole day without feeling the State looking over his shoulder.

  3. Vermont is 17?? I get what they’re saying about the influx of out-of-state gun fraidy cats, but still.

    1. And NH is 25? Weird.

      1. The top of the list is pretty densely packed. Anything in the top half is very good.

        NH and VT also seem to lose some points because they are surrounded by states with pretty bad gun laws.

        1. NH should lose at least 5 points from the fact that NH gun owners have yet to storm the Governor’s Mansion and run Maggie Hassan out on a rail.

    2. VT was #2 last year, did they pass a bunch of laws?

      1. Not that I know of, as far as guns go (the VT state constitution is very clear about guns). Though the summary in Guns & Ammo seems to indicate they’ve put some new restrictions on firing ranges that could make them go the way of the dodo.

  4. Also, Jeb just posted his intention to run for president on his face book page.


  5. AZ is awesome — great gun culture, lots of nature to take in, good laws for the most part. The political culture is pure poison and the people themselves are not perfect, but it is for the most part a good place to be (despite the best efforts of the absolutely awful Republican and Democrat party establishments running the place).

    1. And you’ve got the Cardinals!

    2. Arizona scores well by simply leaving people alone and respecting their right to own, use, buy, and sell firearms for fun, hunting, and self-defense.

      They leave all people alone or just the “real” (white) people?

  6. AK is number 2, I can live with that.

  7. My main problem with Arizona is the climate. Too hot and too much sun. I much prefer what I get in New York. Today at 37 degrees F and overcast, it was near perfect out. A little rain would have boosted my spirits.

    That said, I’m sick of the asinine abuse NYC heaps on us in the form of laws and politicians.

    1. A man after my own heart. Give me some real weather.

      1. From now on I’m assuming both of you are vampires or gingers, but I repeat myself.

        1. What do you have against vampires?

    2. 8n the mountains to the northeast of Phoenix, the climate is wonderful.

  8. Massachusetts!!!! Third worst state in the union!!!!!

    Keeping scary black people disarmed since the 1800’s!!!!

    1. “Massachusetts!!!! Third worst state in the union!!!!!”

      That should really be on ya’ll’s license plates.

    2. So it comes in at number 54?

    3. Now, now…that isn’t fair. They didn’t get around to that until 1866.

  9. That has to be the shittiest slide show thing ever.

    1. Yeah. Why in the holy mother of fuck would you not provide a list?

      1. Or at least the ability to tell which slide you are selecting. The thumbnails are all the same. I wanted to compare some states to see where they lost points, but I can’t be bothered now.

    2. Agreed. Just put the information in text below the video, jerks.

    3. And no trigger warning on the link – isn’t that a violation of the N(micro-)AP that libertarians love so much?

  10. Montana: #8

    /adjusts monocle

    Damn straight.

  11. North Carolina #19. Fuck pistol permits.

    1. Hey, the real Carolina is 15 and has better beaches.

      1. I agree. I used to live in CHS. I still go back for diving during the summer.

        1. Our one drawback is politically we’re essentially a one party state. But everything else is great.

  12. Exams over with, thinking of going to see InterStellar, but I see it’s almost three hours long. That’s quite a commitment! Anyone here seen it? Thumbs up?

    1. Nope, intend to rent it eventually though. Why would you see a movie in a theater anymore?

    2. Thumbs down. It is worth watching, but only once.

    3. It’s a flawed masterpiece. Worth seeing. Hard to keep up so be alert.

  13. I looked at the paycheck which had said $7434 , I didn’t believe that my mom in-law realy bringing in money in their spare time at their computer. . there brothers friend has been doing this for only 16 months and just paid for the morgage on there place and bought a top of the range Aston Martin DB5 .
    You can join just easy ——-

  14. A bit off topic, but some individuals in law enforcement need bullet-proof vehicles to protect them from gun owners and Constitutionalists:…..ionalists/

    The deputy’s words say it all, but I don’t recommend the latter part of the video – it’s mostly an Alex Jones rant.

  15. Of course, the question is, how long will that last?

    The more immigrants from Mexico, the more they will carry their politics with them, which includes banning guns.

    1. Eh, doubt that one. I work with a bunch of Mexicans and pretty much all of them love their guns and hunting.

    2. That is a load of shit. The ‘blue by Mexicans’ fairy tale is a favorite of bordertards. They WANT it to happen.

  16. Vermonter here: we got screwed in these rankings. We don’t just have an “absence of gun laws”, we have state preemption of local regulations on everything but place of discharge, to make sure that everyone is free. This is should be about a 15/10 out of on the freedom-to-carry rankings. Docking us points for bad neighbors (NY/MA) isn’t entirely fair either.

  17. My friends in AZ always ask me when I’m going to leave the PRK (Peoples Republik of Kalifornia) and move to “Real America”.

    Besides gun-rights, AZ doesn’t have front license plates.

  18. So long as Arpaio’s in office, I think I prefer Texas.

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