Critical Prepper Laws in 2021: All 50 States’ Laws

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By Bryan Rucker •  33 min read

The factor that most Preppers are concerned about most is virtually always linked to government collapse, unrest with war, or other disastrous scenarios. 

Critical Laws To Know For Preppers All 50 States

Nevertheless, with as much prepping as many of us do, it’s essential to understand which laws may not lean in our favor and those that do.

This is why I’ve created an article that’s simple to understand and broken down easily. Throughout this article, I’ve listed each state which may negatively or positively impact you.

This keeps it short and sweet so you’re left with a considerable amount of knowledge to keep you out of trouble. 

Plus, you may even find a state that suits your prepping style better than the one you’re currently residing in. First, let’s cover the federal laws.

If you do not see the law you came for, please click here to view nearly all laws in the United States. Click here to learn how to get started prepping.

Top 6 Federal Laws To Know.

United States Supreme Court Pillars of Justice and Law with Retr

1: Anti-Hoarding Laws

The main idea of prepping is to store as much food, water, ammo, weaponry, first-aid, and other essential items as possible to make survival in any SHTF scenario more likely. A law that can come between this, however, is the federal anti-hoarding law.

This law means that if you have too much food, water, or other supplies stored, the government can take it from you. There is a catch, though; This law only applies if the food was obtained during a crisis.

Many people think that this law applies in all cases, but if you buy supplies outside a crisis, then it is perfectly legal and the government cannot legally take your cache. Nevertheless, if they don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist, right?

2: Explosive Laws

Explosives are sought after to possess by many preppers, as explosives are essentially the biggest middle finger to most protection materials like armor. Not to mention it’s clearing abilities. 

First and foremost, you need a license to possess explosives, I’m not talking fireworks, but the big boy explosives like tannerite. Many types of explosives are not technically explosives until they’re mixed with certain chemicals, though.

However, as soon as they’re mixed and become explosive and you do not possess a license, you can land yourself in big trouble, in any state. To avoid this, go down the list below and check out the state website.

3: Moonshine Laws

If you’re surprised that I’ve included this law, don’t be. It’s not just about the buzz, but the fuel that moonshine can provide you to power certain equipment. If I told you that it’s federally legal to make moonshine at home, you’d call me crazy, but it’s true.

There is a catch, though. Firstly, you’ll need a federal license to do this legally. Then, you have tons of restrictions. The main being that alcohol can only be used for fuel, not drinking. Although it’s the same as what the moonshine is made of; you understand…right?

There is no limit as to what size of the distillery you can have, but if it’s used for alcohol, it can only be up to one gallon. Nevertheless, it’s a great way to make your fuel at home legally, for a “couple of reasons.” Check here for tons of info.

4: OSHA Gasoline Regulations

Gasoline is needed to power most vehicles and other means of transportation or equipment, which are in many plans being made by preppers to escape town while bugging out. The gasoline can also be used for generators. 

If you are currently storing gasoline or plan to store gasoline in the future, then understanding the laws put forward by OSHA is critical. OSHA states that gasoline cannot be stored near exits, stairways, or near highly trafficked areas.

They also state that any storage area must be OSHA approved, as well as the nozzle and hose used if any. Not following these laws could land you an expensive ticket, or worse. Keep in mind, any container used to store gasoline must also be approved to store gasoline.

5: Selling & Growing Tobacco

A product, or plant, rather, that I see many preppers store for bartering, personal use, and more is tobacco. This plant, which is used in cigarettes, cigars, and snuff products is legal to grow on your personal property.

You don’t even need a license to do so, but this must only be for personal use. Now the very law that makes this legal for only personal use may not even exist if SHTF, which is something to think about if that’s when you plan to barter it.

This is great, considering all of the opportunities this brings. This way, if you own a farm, homestead, or any other area great for tobacco growing, you can do so without worry of any prosecution.

6: Martial Law

This is one of our worst nightmares: government takeover, literally. Martial law, while not enforced in everyday life, is worth knowing what it is. Martial law starts with military control of the public, in most cases. If the civil rule fails, Martial law is there to take over. 

If a SHTF scenario like nuclear war, EMP, solar flare, or mega volcanic eruption occurred, Martial law would likely be enforced. This will bypass essentially all of your rights, privately and publicly. 

Although Martial law is unlikely to happen, if it does, you should be prepared. Not only prepared by having food and water, which is important if civil unrest occurs, but prepared to give up your rights. We cannot fight our Military, so preparing is the next best option.

Top 6 Factors To Consider In All 50 States

1: Handgun Carry Laws

If you’re like most preppers, you have some sort of firearm ready to protect you and your family. Since covering all firearms would require us to omit much of the article, we will only be covering handguns, which often have the strictest laws. 

Many states require a license to either carry openly or concealed. If you’ve recently moved, or see a move in the future to another state, knowing if open or concealed carry is allowed or not could be a make it or break it deal for you. 

This is also important for novices to know because it’s easy to cover your handgun strapped to your belt with your shirt which would make it concealed and land you in trouble, depending on the state. Nevertheless, you’ll see the laws for this very topic under every state.

2: Taser Laws 

If you live in a state that prohibits concealed carry or just simply want to carry a taser instead, knowing the taser laws for your state is also critical. Tasers are not necessarily something known to pose a deadly threat, but possessing one in some states can land you in jail. 

Many states allow them, but only openly, or vice versa. These are also great for use in areas where firearms are illegal, and pack a punch if used correctly. This list will cover the taser laws in every state.

This list is for regular tasers, not stun guns or other complex tasers like tools. Many states prohibit stun guns, so do not get the two confused and get yourself into trouble. Nonetheless, tasers are a great tool to have, especially if you do not have a firearm.

3: Knife Laws

I don’t know about you, but I and many other individuals carry a knife at all times of some sort. I’ll be honest, I was very surprised at the sheer amount of knife laws throughout the states. There are many different knives, all falling under different types of weapons.

Some of them are known as deadly weapons, others, known as non-deadly, some of them are even illegal if it looks too intimidating which could “scare” someone, Nevertheless, I’ve covered the general knife laws for every state.

Most notably, I found that pocket knives were legal in an overwhelming amount of states, but others like gravity or butterfly knives were legal, only if carried openly. Several types of knives exist, so please check the state website for more information if you do not see yours.

4: Rain Harvesting Laws

Water is essential to store for anyone, but this is especially the case for preppers, as this is one of the most common preps. This is not the only reason to catch rainwater, though. Rainwater is a great source of water for everyday use.

This is especially the case for those of you who live off-grid or do not have many other resources for water readily available. This law is important to know because it’s easy to set up a rain harvesting system and not think about whether or not it’s legal, because it seems so natural to do.

Something just does not sit right with me as to the government regulating mother nature’s gift. I’ve covered its legality in every state, this way you can stay out of trouble if it turns out to be illegal or regulated in your state.

5: Trapping Laws 

Many preppers live off-grid and naturally assume that trapping is perfectly fine to do, and this is true in most cases. However, some states make this act outright illegal or require you to trap during a specific time of the year, depending on the animal.

Since there is not enough room to cover each animal here, I’ve covered whether or not it’s actually legal in each state. Many states also require a permit, and some others require one to catch certain animals, so it’s best to check the states website to view the specifics.

Nevertheless, this list will cover which states allow it, just in case you’re unknowingly trapping where you shouldn’t or if you want to know this fact about other states, which may be the case if you want to move at some point and trapping is a food source for you.

6: Solar Laws

Solar panels are undoubtedly one of the most renowned, world-changing pieces of technology ever created. They’re used by collecting sun rays and turning them into energy, which can be used to power anything from homes, businesses, equipment, and more.

Many states require a permit to use solar panels, others only allow them for certain uses, and some states require you to stay connected via the grid. This kind of defeats some of the purpose that many are seeking – off-grid use.

The laws for solar panels are pretty different from state to state, which is why I’ve added them to this list. Some states also provide incentives to use solar, or if you stay connected via the grid.

6 Critical Laws To Know For Preppers: All 50 States

1: Alabama 

Alabama State Website


2: Alaska

Alaska State Website

3: Arizona

Arizona State Website 

4: Arkansas

Arkansas State Website

5: California

California State Website 

6: Colorado

Colorado State Website

7: Connecticut

Connecticut State Website

8: Delaware

Delaware State Website

9: Florida

Florida State Website

10: Georgia

Georgia State Website

11: Hawaii

Hawaii State Website

12: Idaho

Idaho State Website

13: Illinois

Illinois State Website

14: Indiana

Indiana State Website

15: Iowa

Iowa State Website

16: Kansas

Kansas State Website

17: Kentucky

Kentucky State Website

18: Louisiana

Louisiana State Website

19: Maine

Maine State Website

20: Maryland

Maryland State Website

21: Massachusetts

Massachusetts State Website

22: Michigan

Michigan State Website

23: Minnesota

Minnesota State Website 

24: Mississippi

Mississippi State Website

25: Missouri

Missouri State Website

26: Montana

Montana State Website

27: Nebraska

Nebraska State Website

28: Nevada

Nevada State Website

29: New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Website

30: New Jersey

New Jersey State Website

31: New Mexico

New Mexico State Website

32: New York

New York State Website

33: North Carolina

North Carolina State Website

34: North Dakota

North Dakota State Website

35: Ohio

Ohio State Website

36: Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Website

37: Oregon

Oregon State Website

38: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Website

39: Rhode Island

Rhode Island State Website

40: South Carolina

South Carolina State Website

41: South Dakota

South Dakota State Website

42: Tennessee

Tennessee State Website

43: Texas

Texas State Website

44: Utah

Utah State Website

45: Vermont

Vermont State Website

46: Virginia

Virginia State Website

47: Washington

Washington State Website

48: West Virginia

West Virginia State Website

49: Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Website

50: Wyoming

Wyoming State Website

Disclaimer: None of this is legal advice. Please check with your local government to ensure these laws haven’t changed and are accurate before you follow them as true; we hold no responsibility for any actions taken motivated by this article.


This article was created for those looking to learn a few laws about their state, this way you can be informed about laws, some of which you may not have known even existed. Many of them do not go into detail, which is nearly impossible, as many laws have pages worth of information. 

However, this list should give you a good idea of what to look for in each state, this way you stay out of trouble. You may even find a state that suits your prepping style better than the one you currently dwell in.

Nevertheless, if you know of an interesting law that we did not include in this list, let everyone know by commenting below. The final rule, which is essential for every prepper to understand, is to simply keep private.

Bryan Rucker

Brian Rucker has spent his entire life participating in essentially all things wildlife. His concern grew astronomically during the previous tensions between the United States and other nations. He also has grown a substantial interest in survival and sustainability due to the current shape of the world over the years. He believes that preparation triumphs all things.