You mentioned that you don’t feel qualified to comment on much less to rank the eastern states. I can start the ball rolling, re: the Urban Northeast (the UNE). The disadvantages of the UNE are: cold winters, overpopulation, generally bad gun laws, socialistic politicians, and high Sheeple Ratio (SR). However, tens of millions of people live there, so:
1. I live in Philadelphia, for which the natural bugout area is the Catskills, Lehigh Valley, etc.
PA gun laws are surprisingly good; an oasis of sanity in the UNE: Shall Issue CCW (and you can carry virtually anywhere — no annoying patchwork of carry-proscribed areas); no AW laws; no waiting periods. Long guns can be sold privately without a paper trail, but sadly all handguns must go through FFL. This latter is disconcerting because, in open defiance of state law, the PA State Police are keeping a firearm registry. That’s why creating a cache of off-paper rifles is all-important.
PA taxes vary: state income taxes are mild but City of Philadelphia taxes are savagely draconian.
2. New York City: you’re screwed. Politics; gun laws; taxes; population; SR are all hopeless for the foreseeable future. There is no sane bugout area around. New York state gun laws are only marginally better than NYC. NJ is hopeless too. Your best bet might be CT.
3. Boston area. Look north. I can’t comment on Maine, but both NH and VT are excellent choices, especially with regard to gun laws. I’ll try to have my NH friend contribute more info.
JWR Replies: Okay, you other easterners, chime in! Here is you chance to jump up on the virtual soap box and extol the virtues (or non-virtues) of the eastern states and particular counties within them!