California Gun Laws

California gun laws that have been enacted are considered restrictive compared to other US state laws. As a “May Issue” state the issuance of a permit is left entirely up to the discretion of the local sheriff. This can range from no issue in mostly urban counties to “shall Issue” in rural counties. Restrictions can be placed on a permit limiting where it can be used. Enforcement of these laws varies with rural counties being more lenient and urban counties strictly enforcing all firearms laws. California law also requires all guns to be registered.


california state seal

California CCW Quick Facts

Carry In Vehicle SEE DETAILS
Must Notify Officer SEE DETAILS
Carry In State Parks SEE DETAILS
No Weapons Signs Enforced NO
Open Carry Permitted NO
Carry In Restaurants YES
Constitutional Carry NO
LICENSE ISSUED TO
Residents
STATE POLICY
May Issue
See Details

California Handgun Permit

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

  • Minimum age of 18
  • You are of good moral character
  • You have good cause to justify the permit
  • You are a resident of the county or your place of work is in the county
  • You have completed an approved firearms training class
  • You have not been convicted of a felony or certain types of misdemeanors
  • You are not addicted to drugs
  • You have not been diagnosed as mentally ill
  • Federal law requirements

California CCW Dashboard

Minimum
0
age required

Cost of
$0
a ccw license

years license
0
is valid

year License
2000
data updated

Active CCW
0
licenses in california

population with
0%
a ccw license

states that honor
0
a california license

state licenses
0
california honors

gun laws


State Rating
Poor

Note - The percentage of population with a permit is 0.031%, too small to register on our counter.

California Reciprocity Map

CALIFORNIA

California CCW license recognition

  • Permit honored
  • Permit not honored
  • Issuing state

California CCW Reciprocity

California Reciprocity List

0
STATES
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin
0
states
California Does Not Honor Any Other States Concealed Carry Permits
0
states
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming

How Reciprocity Works In California

California will not honor any other states concealed carry permit. There are 24 states that will accept a California permit.
california state flag
California state flag

Pointers: California Handgun Laws

Attorney 's advice on getting a permit in CA.
New court ruling on magazine ban - 2019
New laws for 2019.

California: Places Off-Limits for CCW

Places Off Limits in California

  • School grounds, colleges and universities
  • Child care facility
  • Courthouse or Court room
  • Public buildings or meetings
  • Social rehabilitation facility
  • Gun show or event if you have ammunition that fits firearm
  • State Capitol, any legislative office, any office of the Governor or other constitutional officer, or any hearing room in which any committee of the Senate or Assembly is conducting a hearing, or upon the grounds of the State Capitol, which is bounded by 10th, L, 15th, and N Streets in the City of Sacramento.
  • State wildlife management areas
  • Polling station – this includes any person, uniformed peace officer, private guard, or security personnel or any person who is wearing a uniform of a peace officer, guard, or security personnel, who is stationed in the immediate vicinity of, or posted at, a polling place without written authorization.
  • Demonstrations related to refusal to work
  • While masked to conceal your identity
  • Any place that serves alcohol for consumption
  • Cal Expo center in Sacramento
  • You may not carry a firearm if you are consuming alcohol
  • You may not display a concealed firearm
  • You cannot carry a concealed weapon not listed on the permit
  • You cannot carry a concealed weapon at times or circumstances other than those specified in the permit
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.

Places Allowed in California

  • State parks
  • State and national forests
  • Road side rest areas
  • Vehicle
  • All areas of the state not listed as Off-Limits

California Handgun Laws To Know

YES/NO – Must Inform Officer

California gun laws do not say you must inform a law enforcement officer you are carrying a concealed firearm or that you need to carry your permit. However, some counties are putting restrictions on permits that state the holder of the permit must inform if stopped by law enforcement that they have a concealed firearm. If you have such a restriction then you must inform. It’s also best practice to carry your permit and photo ID whenever you have a firearm on your person.

NO

“No Weapons” signs do not have the force of law in California. There are no legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs. They have no force of law unless they are posted in areas that are mentioned by the law as being off limits.

GunsToCarry recommends that you do not enter a property displaying a “No Weapons” sign whether the law is for or against signage. If asked to leave a property and you refuse to do so then you are breaking the law and put yourself at risk of being charged.

YES – Without a permit
You can carry a handgun in a vehicle provided you are 18 or older, you reside in California and the firearm is unloaded and stored in a locked container other than the utility or glove compartment. When the handgun is being carried to or from the vehicle it must be in a locked container.

If you have a concealed carry permit then you can carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

The Law
Penal Code 16850

NO – with or Without a permit
Open carry is not legal even with a permit.

YES

In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol
“Yes” or “No” states if you can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Some restaurants may be posted with “NO GUN” signs. Check with the staff if this means just the bar area. If we have indicated a “Yes” then it should be legal to have a meal without drinking alcohol.

The California issuing authority can put a restriction on your permit stating No Bars, if that is the case you cannot enter any place that serves alcohol.

YES

You can carry in a state park but buildings are off limits. Any building in a state park is government property and it is illegal to take a weapon inside. Carrying a firearm in a WMA (wildlife management area) is illegal.

State Parks:    YES
State/National Forests:    YES
State Game Management Units:    NO – Fish & Game code 10500
Road Side Rest Areas:   YES

More Details

We also have a table that gives a quick overview of the firearm laws in California.

History Of California Gun Laws

antique pistol
Antique handgun

Learn California's Gun History

1917

First gun control Act.

1924

Dealers are required to report all sales to the state.

1924

All concealed weapons become illegal without a permit.

1967

All guns that are loaded are banned in public.

1969

State preemption law enacted banning local authorities from regulating firearms.

1990

First assault weapons laws enacted after school shooting in Stockton.

1991

All private sales of firearms must now be processed through a licensed dealer.

1997

Waiting period to purchase firearms modified to 10 days. Originally set in 1923 at 1 day was then increased in 1955 to 3 days, then 5 days in 1965, 15 days in 1975 and then back down to 10 days in 1997 which is still the current law.

1998

Anyone moving to California must register their handguns within 60 days. This was modified to include the recording of long guns sales and serial numbers in 2014.

2000

Second assault weapons laws enacted banning large magazines.

2000

Law enacted that limits purchases of concealed firearms to one every 30 days per person.

2011

Open carry of an unloaded handgun is banned.

2013

Open carry of an unloaded long gun banned.

2014

All long guns must now be registered.

2015

You now need a test and safety certificate for long gun purchases.

2019

Law enacted that now requires persons to be at least 21 years old to purchase any type of firearm - handgun, long gun and shotguns.

California Gun Sales & Preemption

Private Gun Sales

All private gun sales in California must be processed through a licensed dealer. All sales of firearms whether private or from a shop are recorded by the state and the purchaser must wait 10 days before obtaining the firearm.

Preemption

Local government authorities are prohibited under California law from enacting regulations to control firearms. As they cannot directly regulate firearms a number of local authorities have regulated ammunition, such as Los Angeles who regulate that a magazine for rifles or handguns not hold more than 10 rounds. Other local authorities have banned the discharge of firearms and setup zoning restrictions on gun shops and firing ranges.

California Gun Statutes

California does not have a provision in their constitution to protect the right to own and bear firearms.

california state capitol building
California State Capitol Building

California Statutes on CCW

Off-Limits Statutes

No person at a gun show or event, other than security personnel or sworn peace officers, shall possess at the same time both a firearm and ammunition that is designed to be fired in the firearm. Vendors having those items at the show for sale or exhibition are exempt from this prohibition.

Other CCW Statutes

California CCW FAQ's

Concealed carry permits are issued by the county Sheriff or Chief of Police in your county of residence.

California CCW Contact

California Bureau of Firearms

Hours


Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed


Contact


Address 4949 Broadway

CitySacramento, CA 95820

Phone (916) 227-7527

Updates & Data Sources

Disclaimer

The information contained on this page is not legal advice but is merely a starting point for your own research. It is up to you to decide what the best course of action is for your circumstances. We are not lawyers, if you'd like individualized legal advice, we'd be happy to refer you to some law practices with known firearm specializations. It is crucial that you understand the law before you carry a firearm. Also, remember that just because a statute may clearly say one thing or another, that doesn't mean all members of law enforcement know it. That also goes for lawyers and even judges too.

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Natalee WoodsDonald J TrumpJackOfficer Jay SantosAJWine Recent comment authors
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Natalee Woods
Guest
Natalee Woods

only obama and eric holder can run guns through california and get americans killed.

Donald J Trump
Guest
Donald J Trump

I cant wait to see Communist California sink into the Ocean!

Jack
Guest
Jack

Do you have to register guns inherited from parents in CA?

jason
Guest
jason

if i get a ccw permit issed in one county is it valid all through california or only in the county issued?

Pete Mitchell
Guest
Pete Mitchell

yes. It is issued by the Sheriff and valid for the entire state.

Edward
Guest
Edward

Where can I get a list of handguns that are California compliant ?

Officer Jay Santos
Guest
Officer Jay Santos
Leonard Liedel
Guest
Leonard Liedel

If I have a valid CC permit in the State of Tn. Can I drive with the weapon in the State of California while on vacation?

mazdaboi
Guest
mazdaboi

yes, weapon must be locked up in a hard case container. not loaded. mags can be loaded in the same container just not in the gun to be safe. if your driving across country, i get it, or want to target shoot while on vacation, thats one thing. but just having it here to have it….its a legal hassle.

Barry
Guest
Barry

I recently sold a black powder pistol REPLICA online. The buyer lives in California.
Now I’m thinking of canceling the sale because of the Cal gun laws – very confusing.
Is it legal for me to ship to him and for him to possess ? This pistol is not an antique ( pre-1898).
It’s a functioning replica.
Thanks.

Beeezbee229
Guest
Beeezbee229

Hello, I am a CA resident with a CCW, I have had my CCW for more than one year. I understand there are states that offer non residents CCW, Utah for example, which allow reciprocity with more states than a CA CCW alone. Which state is the best state to apply for non resident CCW? I frequently travel to Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Illinois.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Utah and Michigan have the Brest ccw permits.

mazdaboi
Guest
mazdaboi

va! non-resident is great

Moe
Guest
Moe

Hi i just did my ceritfation from US Concealed online but i live in CA can i still use that to buy handgun in cali.

John MURPHY JR
Guest
John MURPHY JR

I am traveling to CA in a few weeks in our RV I have a CCW from CO. I dont want to conceal carry while in CA, but want to bring my weappons (both handguns and rifles) with me. NM and AZ (thruogh whicjh we will be traveling) both recognize my CCW. I know CA wont but I still want my guns along. Can I bring them, and just keep them locked up.

Thank you

Kid
Guest
Kid

I have a friend who visited me here in Mississippi and I bought a handgun and 2 rifles from him while he was here. Now he is afraid the state of CA will somehow come after him because he is no longer in possession of the firearms that are registered in CA. What gives?

John Powell
Guest
John Powell

I am getting stationed in California on camp pendelton and am completely lost. Im 18 and from Mississippi. I aint required to have a ccw to conceal carry and since camp pendelton is federal can i still carry my pistol under the constitution or what do i have to do or even can i do it

Will
Guest
Will

You MAY conceal carry on base with approval by PMO and/or Base CO but you have to be 21 in order to do so and the firearm has to be registered on base. State CCW permits have no application on any military base. California law applies once you step off base.

Juan Lago
Guest
Juan Lago

Some bases require you keep your personal firearms in the armory if you live in barracks. You should check with your command about it’s policies. You don’t want to end up on the wrong side of an Article 15.

Teresa Oborny
Guest
Teresa Oborny

What are the reasons that CCW permit holders are not allowed to conceal carry in wildlife management areas? Hunting is allowed in many wildlife management areas and some have firearms ranges. Simce it’s legal to conceal carry in State and National parks I’m curious why not the state wildlife management areas? I believe people who intend to do harm make no distinction between a wildlife area or a state or national park.

Juan Lago
Guest
Juan Lago

There is no actual reason other than the anti-gunners don’t want you to own or carry weapons.

Randy
Guest
Randy

Hello: Stepfather gifted handgun, what is the requirement from the State of California?

jsl55
Guest
Juan Lago
Guest
Juan Lago

Give him the gun and don’t say anything about to the State. The law is unconstitutional.

Spencer Chan
Guest
Spencer Chan

California really does suck ass.

Gary j welch
Guest
Gary j welch

You got that right

Tom W
Guest
Tom W

Can I simply bring an unloaded pistol in my car or suitcase during a trip to California?

Juan Lago
Guest
Juan Lago

It has to be in a locked container and stored in vehicle in the trunk or cargo area. It cannot be in your glove compartment or center console whether it is in a locked container or not. The point i that it has to be out of reach unless you have a carry permit. Only California Citizens can obtain a California Carry Permit.

Ricky
Guest
Ricky

What if its a glock and has 15 rounds or more. Would it still be legal locked up.

Adriana
Guest
Adriana

Has to be 10 round only

Phil
Guest
Phil

Was curious so i can have my firearm in a locked box but can I have full magazine in the same box as well !? And obviously not in the gun or does the loaded mags have to be separate from the firearm box in a separate box

Bev Crawford
Guest
Bev Crawford

Thank you for providing this important information Mr Lago. I was thoroughly confused. But got it now.

BSRuns
Guest
BSRuns

Question. Just recently stationed in California. Home state is MS. I’m completely lost on everything I would need in order to purchase a handgun in CA. I’m active duty Marines in Camp Pendleton. I’m completely lost on the documents I would need, so could someone give me a quick rundown for dummies on what I would need to purchase in CA?

Pal
Guest
Pal

Since they sell firearms at the MCX on base, ask them! Too easy. Take care Marine.

Jdog
Guest
Jdog

you only need your orders and your CAC with drivers license

Paul H. Humphreys
Guest
Paul H. Humphreys

You go to the Gun dealer at the Base Shopping Mall,…. Yes it’s still Federal on base,…. It is NOT California on Camp Pendleton

Gonzalez
Guest
Gonzalez

Question if someone one can help. So I’m a hunter and I have my license to buy rifles and hand guns buh I dont have my permit to conceal, so my question is can I open carry only while I’m hunting without my ccw??

Juan Lago
Guest
Juan Lago

Currently, yes. You may not carry a firearm while bow hunting in California. Even if you are hunting bears or wild boars.

Herbert
Guest
Herbert

Juan, so you are saying you cannot carry a centerfire sidearm and a bow at same time? If deer bow season and pigs (legal pistol calibre for pigs) seasons overlap why could I not carry both bow and pistol. Also no law against sidearm carry and just shooting a bow for practice. Do you have a reference?

Tatted
Guest
Tatted

Question, in ca what are all the laws regarding open carry of low caliber weapons

Tatted
Guest
Tatted

Talking with a San Joaquin sheriff I was a bit confused about what he was implying towards openly carrying in low population areas.

Randy
Guest
Randy

I can not find in either the state of national “off limits” registry where it mentions concealed carry in banks. What are current Ca. laws regarding this?

jsl55
Guest
jsl55

Since some criminals like to make unauthorized withdrawals, I always carry in a bank. There is no specific law banning it.

Juan Lago
Guest
Juan Lago

It’s up to the Bank itself if they want customers armed on their private property.

Geoffrey
Guest
Geoffrey

Banks are on the federal list of off limits. This is also a very logical restriction.

AJWine
Guest
AJWine

How is that “a very logical restrictoon”? Licensed ccw permit holders are highly vetted and aren’t the ones any bank needs to worry about. Most banks don’t have security and in some areas, even nice areas like where I live here in Sonoma, bank robberies do happen. We’ve had a dozen or so in our little town over the years. So please enlighten us on how a good, highly vetted ccw permit holding citizen shouldn’t carry in a bank, because if that’s the case, then no one should be able to carry in stores or restaurants or at gas stations,… Read more »