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Freedom in the 50 States

Cato has released its 2018 rankings of freedom in the 50 states, compiled by William Ruger and Jason Sorens of the Free State Project.

Yep, these ranks are subjective — and Cato recognizes that by allowing users to customize their own rankings by what they consider important. (Gun rights forever! Down with civil asset forfeiture!)

And rightly so. Just glancing at the map is mindboggling. Wyoming next to and below Washington and Minnesota in freedoms? Seems unlikely — until you start playing around with the factors.

Quite interesting. You could spend hours with the interactive map and customized rankings. Thank you, LarryA for the link.


  1. progunfred
    progunfred August 23, 2018 5:18 pm

    Interestingly but probably not surprising is that it generally corresponds to firearms rights freedom except that Florida and Colorado are headed south fast. I would love to see a county level map of this. State level info can be somewhat useful but if relocating many counties and municipalities even within freer states are awful.

  2. StevefromMA
    StevefromMA August 23, 2018 8:11 pm

    Pretty accurate on MA but this is funny…

    “ It has long locked up fewer of its residents than the vast majority of other states.”

    Two of those fine citizens released just each murdered cops. I’ve seen folks in the paper with a history of a dozen violent felonies and weapons charges getting suspended sentences..I guess they’re just bad boys to the judges. It does seem like you’d be shot elsewhere for what you wouldn’t even be locked up here. Even the gun law, “don’t pass go, go directly to jail for a year” is somehow never applied. So we need more gun laws from the dumbest legislators on the US. And possibly, the most corrupt leadership.

  3. larryarnold
    larryarnold August 23, 2018 8:45 pm

    Even the (Massachusetts) gun law, “don’t pass go, go directly to jail for a year” is somehow never applied.

    Is that the Bartley-Fox Amendment against possessing a firearm without a license? (Which Mass. restrictively issues.)
    If so, the PTB don’t tell you that back in 1968 SCOTUS decided Haynes v. U.S. It held that requiring a felon to register a firearm is self-incrimination, a violation of the Fifth Amendment. So if they catch a felon with a firearm he can be tried under Federal unlawful possession, but the state can’t convict him for unlicensed possession and send him away for that year.
    So the law only gets applied to people with clean records.

    I would love to see a county level map of this.
    Actually, most states have preemption laws reserving firearm regulation to the State Legislature (or equivalent). Naturally, this isn’t popular in certain quarters:
    The NRA’s campaign succeeded: Today, 42 states have broad firearm preemption laws. Only California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey and New York generally allow local officials to pass firearms-related public safety laws. (Opposition site.)

  4. progunfred
    progunfred August 24, 2018 6:37 pm

    That’s true about state preemption but what I meant was that I wanted to see the same criteria used in the calculation for each state applied at a more local level. Some other more applicable categories would need to be added for county level as well.

    And firearms are way too small a percentage for me in this calculation. I believe you can learn all you need to know about a man by whether he thinks you ought to be free to go armed. (this is a paraphrase of something I read or heard but don’t remember from who for attribution. Maybe somebody would recognize it.)

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