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.

Comments

  1. Hi there, Canadian novelist here and doing research for my current book. Hope it’s okay to pose this question here.

    I have a character from New York – think a modern day Sarah Connor vigilante justice type – who visits someone in an LA county jail. If she brings her Glock, usually carried under her leather jacket, and declares it, will that be fine? I say that she checks her gun in a locker for the duration of the visit and picks it up afterward. Or is carrying a gun like this illegal and will she get arrested?

    The reason I need for her to have her gun on her is she walks into a house breakin moments after that visit and I need her to chase teh bad guys with the gun.

    Does this sound plausible in LA?

  2. Does anyone know if CCW is applicable for church security? Will it be a legitimate reason for local Sheriff’s office?

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

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

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

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

  6. 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?

    1. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

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

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

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

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

    1. 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.

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

      2. 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

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

  14. 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?

    1. 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

  15. 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??

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

      1. 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?

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

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

  17. 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?

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

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

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

      1. 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, all who have high traffic, take-in lots of money and are commonly robbed.

  18. Open carry is permitted in Califotnia under Penal code providing: the county is under 200,000 population as of last official ten year census.(2010)
    The county is unincorporated

    You are a current CCW Permit holder

    1. Elaborate please and I’m now a ccw holder just wanting the info on open carry no permit required.

    2. Author

      Please supply the penal code so we can look it up. In general CA laws are so long it is difficult to find every thing so hope we have not missed this one.

      1. Check the individual county. Ventura county for example is, May issue, while La county is, No issue, that is CCW or open.

  19. If I have a semi automatic hand gun listed on my ccw permit and I buy another semi automatic hand gun do I have to have it listed on my ccw?

    1. Each individual sidearm must be listed with the serial number. You must also qualify with the sidearm. Also if your sidearm can be converted to multiple calibers you must qualify with each caliber you wish to carry. The exception is that you can load special loads in revolvers capable of magnum. Such as .38 / .357 or .44 mag & .44 special.

      1. You may add the semi by paying the extra fee to the Sheriff’s office; however, if you add a revolver you must requalify with the revolver. And vice versa. See California Penal Code.

  20. I travel to SoCal from Nevada, my resident state, to visit family on occasion and usually take a pistol along for personal protection. I follow the Cal rules and keep the ammo separate and pistol locked in a separate container, which seems a bit ridiculous, but I guess even doing that’s illegal because I’m not a Cal resident? I guess if I get stopped I just say I’m passing through?

  21. I want to buy a handgun not on the list of approved handguns in CA (Beretta Nano). Someone mentioned the list only applies to new handguns. Is this true?

    1. The list currently only applies to new handguns. Handguns that are purchased or otherwise transferred through a private party transfer or bought on consignment from a dealer are exempt from the list. Handguns older than 50 years (curios and relics) are also exempt from the list.

  22. With a Ca CCW, dropping daughter off at school, just exactly what is the current August 2018 law regards the pistol and ammunition?

    1. legally you must disarm yourself and unload the weapon before you enter school property including the parking lot. The firearm must be stored in a locked container not your glove box or center console . The ammunition must be stored separately. I just completed my CCW course and this is what was explained to us.

  23. What if I was visiting family, can I conceal carry for a limited time? (under a month).

      1. California only allows guns in counties with under 100,000 people. Sound like this violates our constitution

        1. Where did you ever get the idea that: ” California only allows guns in counties with under 100,000 people.”? That is a ridiculous statement that has no basis in reality.

  24. Traveling to California and will be carrying a pistol under LEOSA. Where may I find a source that lists restrictions for out of state retired officers.

    1. LEOSA is a federal law that trumps CA laws. You should be sure that your ammo is lawful. Most commercial rounds are, but some cities like San Francisco have outlawed carrying ammo that is “balistically identical to Black Tallon.” It’s not an all out ban on hollow points. SFPD has listed three specific brands and types of rounds that are banned. Welcome to the People’s Republic of California.

    1. How much you can afford to buy? Just be sure to not import it in from another state. They outlawed importing ammo that doesn’t go through an FFL or ammo dealer. Just additional cost and inconvenience for law-abiding residents, and extra tax income for the state.

  25. If someone has a loaded gun in the car will everyone in the car be charged with misdemeanor?

      1. Where can we find documentation that AD is exempt? If that’s the case, what is the procedure for us to get a permit?

  26. If i move from one city IN California to another city IN California do i need to re-register my hand gun and rifles. where can i find this information cause i have been looking everywhere for an answer

    1. No you will not have to re register moving within the state. If you have a CCW you have to update your address for sure.

    2. Yes. Source is ur mum. Every time i cum to her she tell me.

  27. I live in Oregon and want to do some backpacking and fishing in a few wilderness areas in Northern California. Primarily in the Red Buttes, Trinity Alps, and Marble Mtns. As a non resident, is there a process that would allow me to open carry a revolver in these type of places?

  28. Can my grandson who is a Marine in South Carolina – sell me his used Springfield Armory XD-s .45ACP which is not on the CA approved gun list, by sending it to an FFL gun dealer here in California???

    1. Not normally, but you may qualify as an inter-family transfer. Not sure if includes grandparents. For a regular PPT, he would have to do the paperwork in person at a CA FFL. ALL PRIVATE PARTY TRANSFERS of used guns must be done in person.

  29. Can anyone share facts about LEOSA CCW permit. Honorably Retired Military Police about to move to CA. Good to go or frown upon?

    1. If you qualify for LEOSA, as retired MP, then the rights are Federal and can’t be interfered with by CA laws. You will have to fill out a form for the CA DOJ notifying that you have moved to CA with the firearms.

      1. Our constitution is Federal. What give the jerks in Ca to interfere with the 2nd amendment. This BS from the politicians in Ca has to be stopped.

  30. Fuck California and all the politicians. What a joke. molon labe

  31. I am taking a road trip to California, I have a valid Texas CCW Permit. Can I bring my handgun with me, and what are the restrictions for carrying it in my vehicle.

    1. Only while traveling “through” no stopping..like going through southern half along boarder stopping back in reno

  32. All other states honor their ccw permits but they do not honor other states permits. This state is a contradiction to the United States as a whole that is why they should be treated as a foreign country!

    1. Because the constitution allows states to govern themselves.

  33. Concerning large capacity magazines, my 40 cal Glock 35 comes from the factory w/magazines capable of holding up to 16 rounds each. So presumably these are illegal as well by CA standards? I bought the automatic in AZ where I now reside but visit the state to work some gold claims (until they outlaw that).

    1. Author

      I would say they are illegal in CA. Do you have a CA CCW permit? Just wondering about the requirement to be a resident of CA and if it will affect you in any way.

  34. Traveling to CA next week. I have Tx permit. I was reading thur the site. Just making sure I can’t carry my handgun or transport in my vehicle for safety purposes.

    1. Unloaded and in the trunk. And you can’t bring mags over 10 rounds into the state.

      1. Mags must be unloaded. Or, lock the mags and the gun in separate containers. If you lock the gun in a container and lock loaded mags in the trunk, that’s OK. Don’t lock a loaded mag in the same container as the gun.

    2. What’s the use in having a handgun if it has to be locked up in the trunk I feel sorry for you Californians

  35. In Ca. Can i legally buy parts online and install them myself?
    I know this was legal

  36. If I move to California from Brazil, with a F-1 Visa (student) to do my master’s degree. I intend to live in California for the next 5 years. Can I legally purchase firearms?

    1. ONLY (green card holders) legal immigrants and US citizens can purchase firearms in California.

  37. Can I bring legal fire arms to Ca. From Texas. Can I transport firearms in my R.V. While visiting Ca.

    1. Author

      Are you referring to handguns or long guns? CA will not accept any other states CCW permit if you have a handgun. You could possibly be covered by the Federal Safe passage act while travelling with firearms but only while travelling through the state and you need to meet other conditions. We are not lawyers so please do not take this as legal advice.

  38. I am an Illinois resident planning on vacationing in San Diego later this month. Am I allowed to keep my subcompact firearm locked and unloaded in a container in the trunk? The firearm has a 3 inch barrel and at ten round magazine.

    1. Author

      you would be covered by the federal safe passage act while travelling through the state but you are not allowed to stop in the state. So I would leave your firearm in IL, they are not gun friendly in CA.

  39. Any person who moves into California with a firearm is considered a “Personal Firearm Importer” and is required by California law to do one of the following within 60 days:

    Complete and submit a New Resident Report of Firearm Ownership (BOF 4010A), pdf along with $19.00 to the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms.
    https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/ab991

  40. If I move to California, how do I leagally get my firearms into the state .

    1. Author

      We don’t have any info on that. But knowing CA it will not be easy. My guess is that you will first need to establish residency. Then try to obtain a permit. After that you will need to register your guns and only then bring them into the state. Hopefully someone who has been through the process will leave a comment here.

      1. Author

        From the State website;
        Firearms Information for New California Residents
        Home Firearms Regulations Firearms Information for New California Residents
        Pursuant to Penal Code sections 17000 and 27560, any person who moves into California with a firearm is considered a “Personal Firearm Importer” and is required by California law to do one of the following within 60 days:

        Complete and submit a New Resident Report of Firearm Ownership (BOF 4010A), pdf along with $19.00 to the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms;
        Sell or transfer the firearm to a California licensed firearms dealer or to another individual using a California licensed firearms dealer to conduct the transaction; or
        Sell or transfer the firearm to a California police or sheriff’s department. Persons choosing this option should contact the law enforcement agency for instructions prior to transporting the firearm to the agency.

      2. I have question about more than 10 rounds magazine transporting to Reno Nevada for shooting competition (USPSA) and I’ve been a California resident for 8 months now.Would that be possible?

        1. I think being a member of a shooting club and travel from shoot to shoot.

    2. Check to see if they are legal by reading the laws posted on ca.gov or at calguns.org. Assault weapons can not by brought into state unless military with commanders letter. No ordinary person can ring one into the state. 10 round Mags are Law for all guns. Otherwise, bring them all, get a safe, or pile of locks and registration is highly suggested though not mandatory like many believe. Some counties and cities will let it slide while others will prosecute you.

      1. some of us don’t choose to, but instead the Navy decides to move you there and you have no choice

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