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.


Florida concealed carry permit info state seal

California CCW Quick Facts

Carry In Vehicle SEE DETAILS
Must Notify Officer SEE DETAILS
Carry In State Parks Allowed SEE DETAILS
No Weapons Signs Enforced NO
Open Carry Permitted NO
Carry In Liquor Establishments 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

APPLICATION

Follow these steps

  1. Contact the country Sheriffs Office to obtain information about training courses.
  2. Complete the training course. The length of course and fees will vary for each county. Most courses will be under 16 hours.
  3. Present your certificate of completion to the Sheriffs Office.
  4. You may be required by some counties to take a psychological test to assess your moral character and judgement.
  5. Obtain a CCW application form. Some parts of the form will need to be filled out in front of a witness at the Sheriffs office.
  6. You will be notified by mail within 90 days if your application has been approved or declined.

RENEWALS

Information is different for each county

FEE’S

Application ConditionsOriginalRenewal
Individual
$70-$100 varies by county$44 varies

The cost varies between counties. The legal limit is $100.

NOTE
There are also fees for fingerprint scans and firearm classes that can work out to $300 for a 2 year permit. The Licensing authority is allowed to charge an additional fee equal to the actual cost ($100) but it must not exceed $100.

California CCW Dashboard

Minimum
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age required

Cost of
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a ccw license

years license
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is valid

year License
2000
data updated

Active CCW
0
licenses in california

population with
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a ccw license

states that honor
0
a california license

state licenses
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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

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states
California Does Not Honor Any Other States Concealed Carry Permits
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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

California: Places Off-Limits for CCW

Places Off Limits in California

  • Public schools, colleges and universities
  • Law enforcement agency facilities
  • 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 sells alcohol for consumption
  • You may not carry a firearm if you are consuming alcohol
  • You may not display a concealed firearm
  • Carry a concealed weapon not listed on the permit
  • 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
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 pistol

Learn California's Gun History

  • 1917 - First gun control Act.
  • 1924 - Dealers 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 1o 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 - Any one moving to California must register their handguns. This was modified to include long guns in 2014.
  • 2000 - Second assault weapons laws enacted banning large magazines.
  • 2000 - Only allowed to purchase one firearm that can be concealed upon a person every 30 days.
  • 2011 - Open carry of an unloaded handgun is banned.
  • 2013 - Open carry of an unloaded long gun banned. Must be enclosed in a case outside a vehicle.
  • 2014 - All long guns must be registered.
  • 2015 - You now need a test and safety certificate for long gun purchases.

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.

florida 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.
Any person who brings a loaded firearm into, or possesses a loaded firearm within, the 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 shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both such imprisonment and fine, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
Any person in possession of a firearm or any 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 of the appropriate city or county elections official is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

Any person who does any of the following acts while engaged in picketing, or other informational activities in a public place relating to a concerted refusal to work, is guilty of a misdemeanor:

  1. Carries concealed upon his person or within any vehicle which is under his or her control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
  2. Carries a loaded firearm upon his or her person or within any vehicle which is under his or her control or direction.
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), subdivision (a) shall apply to any person who brings or possesses any weapon specified therein within any courtroom if he or she is a party to an action pending before the court.
A person commits criminal possession of a firearm when he or she carries a firearm in a public place or on any public street while masked so as to hide his or her identity.
A license issued pursuant to this article may include any reasonable restrictions or conditions that the issuing authority deems warranted, including restrictions as to the time, place, manner, and circumstances under which the licensee may carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. (b) Any restrictions imposed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be indicated on any license issued
  • (a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995.
  • (b) Any person who possesses a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (e), unless it is with the written permission of the school district superintendent, his or her designee, or equivalent school authority, shall be punished as specified in subdivision (f).
  • (c) Subdivision (b) does not apply to the possession of a firearm under any of the following circumstances:
    • (1) Within a place of residence or place of business or on private property, if the place of residence, place of business, or private property is not part of the school grounds and the possession of the firearm is otherwise lawful.
    • (2) When the firearm is an unloaded pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed on the person and is in a locked container or within the locked trunk of a motor vehicle. This section does not prohibit or limit the otherwise lawful transportation of any other firearm, other than a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed on the person, in accordance with state law.
    • (5) When the person holds a valid license to carry the firearm pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 26150) of Division 5 of Title 4 of Part 6, who is carrying that firearm in an area that is not in, or on the grounds of, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, but within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of the public or private school.
  • (a) Unless it is with the written permission of the school district superintendent, the superintendent’s designee, or equivalent school authority, no person shall carry ammunition or reloaded ammunition onto school grounds, except sworn law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their duties.
  • (b) This section shall not apply to any of the following:
  • (10) (A) A person carrying ammunition or reloaded ammunition onto school grounds that is in a motor vehicle at all times and is within a locked container or within the locked trunk of the vehicle.

The following is printed on the application form

While exercising the privileges granted to the licensee under the terms of this license, the licensee shall not, when carrying a concealed weapon:

  •  Consume any alcoholic beverage.
  •  Be in a place having a primary purpose of dispensing alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption.
  •  Be under the influence of any medication or drug, whether prescribed or not.
  •  Refuse to show the license or surrender the concealed weapon to any peace officer upon demand.
  •  Impede any peace officer in the performance of his/her duties.
  •  Present himself/herself as a peace officer to any person unless he/she is, in fact, a peace officer as defined by California law.
  •  Unjustifiably display a concealed weapon.
  •  Carry a concealed weapon not listed on the permit
  •  Carry a concealed weapon at times or circumstances other than those specified in the permit.

Other CCW Statutes

It is the intention of the Legislature to occupy the whole field of regulation of the registration or licensing of commercially manufactured firearms as encompassed by the provisions of the Penal Code, and such provisions shall be exclusive of all local regulations, relating to registration or licensing of commercially manufactured firearms, by any political subdivision as defined in Section 1721 of the Labor Code.

“Large capacity magazine” means any detachable ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include any of the following:

  1. A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds:
  2. A .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device; or
  3. A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.

(c) Prohibition on Possession of Large Capacity Magazines.

  1. No person, corporation, or other entity in the City may possess a large capacity magazine, weather assembled or disassembled.
  2. Any person who, prior to the effective date of this chapter, was legally in possession of a large capacity magazine shall have 90 days from such effective date to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution:
  • (A) Remove the large capacity magazine from the city;
  • (B) Surrender the large capacity magazine to the Police Department for destruction; or
  • (C) Sell or transfer the large capacity magazine lawfully in accordance with Penal Code 12020.

(a) Except as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 32400) of this chapter and in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, any person in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, buys, or receives any large-capacity magazine is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

(b) Except as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 32400) of this chapter and in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, commencing July 1, 2017, any person in this state who possesses any large-capacity magazine, regardless of the date the magazine was acquired, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) upon the first offense, by a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) upon the second offense, and by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) upon the third or subsequent offense.

(c) A person who, prior to July 1, 2017, legally possesses a large-capacity magazine shall dispose of that magazine by any of the following means:

  1. Remove the large-capacity magazine from the state.
  2. Prior to July 1, 2017, sell the large-capacity magazine to a licensed firearms dealer.
  3. Destroy the large-capacity magazine.
  4. Surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction

California CCW FAQ's

Concealed carry permits are issued by the county Sheriff or Chief of Police in your county of residence.
90 Days
The application for a concealed carry permit must be processed within 90 days of the application being received.
You can request a check of state and Federal records to see if you are eligible to own or purchase a firearm. The request is made to the Department of Justice and there is a fee of $20.
You will need to complete a course that teaches firearm safety and the law on firearms. The course is not allowed to exceed 16 hours.
No, California does not issue carry permits to non-residents.
No, permits from other states cannot be transferred to California. A new permit application will need to be made.
You cannot carry a firearm in California while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication, whether prescribed or not.

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

DATEDETAILS
12/9/17Updated Texas page
12/6/17Updated California and Hawaii page, Hawaii page only partially completed.
12/1/17Ohio page finished
11/24/17Updated Washington DC to Shall Issue
11/8/17Update Illinois page
11/1/17Updated Florida and Alabama pages
10/12/17Updated Ohio page, added new sections to statistics page
10/5/17Added video section to Florida page
10/3/17Updated Nevada page
10/2/17Updated Georgia page
9/30/17Updated Texas page
9/30/17Entered new figures for latest 2017 NICS checks on Statistics page
9/29/17Updated Pennsylvania page
9/26/17Updated Florida page, added new links, forms and sections
7/22/17updated permit numbers to latest figures
6/29/17Updated permit numbers to 14,917,279
6/17/17updated interface, added new travel info and other sections.
Crime Prevention Research Center
California Penal Code sections 26185, 26190, and 26220

More detailed information can be found on the Statistics page.

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