NOTE: THIS PAGE IS NOT BEING ACTIVELY MAINTAINED AND HAS NOT BEEN UPDATED IN A LONG TIME. SOME STATE LAWS HAVE CHANGED, ESPECIALLY WASHINGTON AND MASSACHUSETTS, POSSIBLY OTHERS. PLEASE VERIFY ANYTHING HERE, AS IT MAY NO LONGER BE VALID!

US state and federal gun laws for non-citizens


Notes:

The purpose of this page is to inform non-citizens in the United States of the laws which may impact their right to possess firearms.

I am not a lawyer, and this page is not legal advice. I will provide links to actual laws where possible, and I encourage you to verify for yourself the information provided here before you act on it.

I don't have the resources to keep up to date on all the laws across the country. If you know something that I don't have listed here, then please email me at guns@vrolyk.org with your information, and I will add it to this page.


Federal Issues:

In general, non-immigrant aliens are forbidden to possess any firearms or ammunition. But there is a big exception for a legal alien who:

...is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States

(See Title 18, USC Chapter 44, Section 922, part (y)(2) for details.)

Green-card holders and immigrant aliens who do not yet have their green card are both okay under federal law, although many people (including gun dealers, law enforcement officers, etc.) are not aware of the distinction or the hunting license exception, and erroneously think that either you have a green card, or you can't have guns.

Also, non-citizen cannot purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firerams dealer unless they have been a resident of their state for 90 days. So, no, tourists on short visits cannot walk into guns stores to get "protection" during their trip. Sorry. (I've been asked that multiple times.)


State laws:

Alabama:

No special restrictions found.

Alaska:

No special restrictions found.

Arizona:

Arizona only issues concealed weapon permits to non-citizens if they reside in Arizona. However, Arizona recognizes the permits issued by several other states. See ARS 13-3112.

Arkansas:

Arkansas does not issue concealed handgun licenses to non-citizens. See Arkansas Code 5-73-309 for details. However, Arkansas recognizes the permits issued by several other states. I presume they would be honored for non-citizens, but a couple points in the wording were unclear. Use caution.

California:

With a few exceptions, California forbids having a "concealable" firearm in a vehicle. One of the most signifigant exceptions, however, does not apply to non-citizens! The exception is that it's legal to have a handgun in vehicle if it's locked in the trunk or is in some other locked container. But, as I said, this exception only applies to citizens. Non-citizens can't transport their handguns in their cars unless they fall under one of the other exceptions in the law.

See the California Penal Code, section 12025 and 12026 for the law and it's exceptions.

Colorado:

Information not yet available. (Help anyone?)

Conneticutt:

No special restrictions found.

Delaware:

No special restrictions found.

Florida:

No special restrictions found.

Georgia:

No special restrictions found.

Hawaii:

Idaho:

No special restrictions found.

Illinois:

No special restrictions found.

Indiana:

No special restrictions found.

Iowa:

Information not yet available. (Help anyone?)

Kansas:

Concealed weapon permits are only issued to US citizens.

Kentucky:

Certified firearms instructers must be US citizens. No other restrictions found.

Louisiana:

An "enemy alien" is forbidden to posess any firearms or other weapons. See Title 14, Section 95. "Enemy alien" is defined elsewhere in the state Revised Statutes as being someone with citizenship in an enemy country. So conceivable, some poor refugee who fled an oppresive regime and is now in legally in the US could still be considered an "enemy alien" under this law.

The concealed weapon law seems to imply that only citizens can get permits. See the law for the details.

Maine:

No special restrictions found.

Maryland:

Information not yet available. (Help anyone?)

Massachusetts:

Non-citizens are forbidden to posess firearms without a special permit! See Chapter 140, Section 131H. An additional exception is for

...an alien that resides outside the commonwealth for purposes of firearms competition...

who can apply for a temporary license as outlined in Chapter 140, Section 131F.

Michigan:

Michigan law is a bit of a mess! It says:

a person shall not purchase, carry, or transport a pistol in this state without first having obtained a license for the pistol as prescribed in this section

One of the requirements for getting such a license is:

The person is a citizen of the United States and is a legal resident of this state

However, that requirement was struck down as unconstitutional (on equal protection grounds) by the Michigan Court of Appeals. (See Chan v City of Troy, 220 Mich App 376.) However, it hasn't formally been repealed by the legislature yet.

You don't need that license, though, if you get a concealed-carry license:

An individual who is licensed under section 5b to carry a concealed pistol is not required to obtain a license under section 2 to purchase, carry, or transport a pistol.

However, such a license is only issued to a Michigan resident who is a citizen or:

a resident legal alien as defined in section 11 of title 18 of the United States Code

The confusing thing is that section 11 of title 18 has nothing at all to do with defining resident legal aliens! It's not clear to me whether this is supposed to be referring only to legal permanent resident aliens or all legal resident aliens.

For out-of-staters, things are confusing, too! The requirement for a pistol license does not apply to:

A United States citizen holding a license to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person issued by another state.

That gives non-Michigan-resident non-citizens no relief. However, we also have:

The requirements of this act for obtaining a license to carry a concealed pistol do not apply to any of the following:
...
A resident of another state who is licensed by that state to carry a concealed pistol.

Wow. The long and short of it is that I can't figure out what is and isn't legal or required or whatever for non-citizens when in Michigan. Read the firearms laws (Act 372 of 1927) yourself and consult a lawyer, and use extreme caution!

Minnesota

Mississippi:

Information not yet available. (Help anyone?)

Missouri:

Montana:

Concealed weapon permits are only issued to US citizens. See: Montana Code Annotated 45-8-321

However, concealed weapon permits from many other states are recognized, with no restriction on Montana residency or citizenship. See: Montana Code Annotated 45-8-329

Nebraska:

Concealed weapon permits are only issued to US citizens.

Nevada:

No special restrictions found.

New Hampshire:

No special restrictions found.

New Jersey:

Not yet researched!

New Mexico:

Only citizens may get concealed-carry permits in New Mexico. See the CONCEALED HANDGUN CARRY ACT.

The server that hosts the New Mexico statutes has been down, so I have been unable to search them. So additional information is not yet available. (Help anyone?)

New York:

Not yet researched!

North Carolina:

North Carolina only issues concealed weapon permits to citizens. See NCGS 14-415.12.

However, North Carolina recognizes the permits issued by several other states. See: NCGS 14-415.24.

North Dakota:

No special restrictions on purchase, possession, or carry.

However, North Dakota has one odd exception for non-citizens: discharging fireams within city limits is illegal, except for legal defense of persons or property by citizens. It's in 62.1-02-06, which says:

Ohio:

Not yet researched!

Oklahoma:

Not yet researched!

Oregon:

Oregon will only issue a concealed handgun permit to a non-citizen if he or she:

See section 291 of Oregon law, Chapter 166.

A major exception to the concealed-firearm prohibition in Oregon law is that a person may possess a concealed fiream in their own residence (including an RV) or place of business, without a license. However this exception applies only to citizens! A non-citizen may only posess a concealed firearm with a license, which is only issued subject to the restriction above. See section 250 of Oregon law, Chapter 166.

Pennsylvania:

No special restrictions found. I have been informed that PA will issue concealed-carry permits to any legal alien.

However, not all of PA's laws are online. The official state law web site only contains a part of the laws, and that part doesn't include the gun laws. A third-party site covers some of the missing areas, but isn't necessarily accurate and up-to-date. Use caution.

Rhode Island:

South Carolina:

Not yet researched!

South Dakota:

Not yet researched!

Tennesee:

Not yet researched!

Texas:

No special restrictions found.

Utah:

No special restrictions found.

Vermont:

No special restrictions found.

Virginia:

Washinton:

West Virginia:

No special restrictions found.

Wisconsin:

No special restrictions found.

Wyoming:

No special restrictions found.


This page maintained by John Paul Vrolyk, guns@vrolyk.org