Can a Landlord Ban Guns? [Answered with Tips on Alternatives]

The topic of gun ownership has been a controversial one for many years.

In many people’s minds, the debate is theoretical. But for some renters that debate becomes real. In the case where a gunowner (or prospective gun owners) wants to have a gun in their rental residence, but the landlord has a strict no guns policy, the rubber hits the road in a big way.

So what to do? If this even legal?

In this article, I am going to answer that question.

I’ll also give some background on the legal landscape around this issue (in easy to understand terms because this can get complicated) and provide you some tips on how landlords and tenants can negotiate a reasonable outcome through all this.

If you have don’t have the time to read through it all, here’s a short answer to the question:

As a general matter, a landlord may ban guns in their rentals subject to these important exceptions: (I) state and local laws do not prohibit such a ban; and (ii) if such laws are silent on this issue, the lease agreement has an explicit ban on firearms in the rental. A landlord may not institute a new ban on guns in the middle of the lease.

Ok – let’s get into it.

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

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The Second Amendment

When anyone thinks of gun rights, they think of the second amendment. This is the constitutional right to bear arms.

It’s at the heart of the gun control debate and so you may be wondering, doesn’t the second amendment protect a tenant’s right to have firearms and thus prevent a landlord from banning guns on the rental property?

The answer is no. The Second Amendment limits the government from restricting gun ownership and possession, but it does not restrict an individual’s right to do so on their private property.

What About State Laws?

That being said, some states have weighed in on the issue of whether a private landlord may ban guns on their rental properties.

Notable examples include the following:

TennesseePermits landlords to ban guns
OhioProhibits landlords from banning guns
MinnesotaProhibits landlord from banning guns
VirginiaProhibits landlords from banning guns in public housing unit
and cannot make the ban a condition of tenancy
TexasProhibits landlords from banning guns

It is worth noting that most states have not enacted legislation on this topic (at least as of the date of this article). Of course, the landscape may evolve and more states may pick a side as time goes on.

So What Does It All Mean?

Landlords typically have the power to manage their properties and unless prohibited by applicable state and local laws, like the ones referenced above, may impose restrictions on the guns in their rentals.

However, if most cases, this type of restriction should be agreed to upfront at the time of the lease. In most cases, a landlord is not allowed to change the rules of the game mid-lease.

However, the interplay of state and local laws, lease terms and other factors make this a complicated topic, so to fully understand your rights and obligations with respect to guns in a rental property, you will need to familiarize yourself with the various laws at play (or hire a lawyer to help you navigate through it all).

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What Are Some Reasonable Alternatives to an Outright Ban on Guns in the Rental?

In many cases, a tenant will want firearms to protect themselves in the event of a home invasion or other threat to their health and safety.

While firearms can certainly provide that, there are alternative measures that can offer a certain degree of protection as well. They include the following:

  • Pepper Spray.
  • Home Alarms (with notification to law enforcement and loud sirens).
  • Stun Guns and Tasers.
  • Tactical Whips.
  • Steel Batons.
  • Baseball Bats.

Of course, if the landlord’s concern is around handheld guns that may be concealed in public and used for unlawful purposes, then agreeing to a shotgun only for self-defense may work as well.


In conclusion, there are a number of variables that can affect whether a landlord is legally permitted to prohibit guns on rental premises.

When considering enforcing a gun prohibition, landlords should be aware of applicable laws, take their tenants’ needs into account, and take practical measures to make their rules clear and enforceable.

In the end, striking the ideal compromise between property rights and gun ownership is a challenging problem that needs serious analysis.

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