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

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.

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.

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

Important

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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PalBSRunsMichael PerineNoelGonzalez Recent comment authors
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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.

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??

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?

Janes Van Auken
Guest
Janes Van Auken

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

Tatted
Guest
Tatted

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

Hisierraman
Guest
Hisierraman

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?

S jenkins
Guest
S jenkins

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.

James Van Auken
Guest
James Van Auken

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.

Tatted
Guest
Tatted

Only if you plan on carrying the new one

CaliforniaGunner
Guest
CaliforniaGunner

One item you should correct: Recently, there was a law passed that removed the authority of the superintendents to grant approval for authorized people to carry concealed in school zones. I dont recall the specifics but a quick internet search should provide more details. It basically made it so no one other than police may carry firearms legally on school grounds. So now if there is a school shooting it is guaranteed no one will be able to defend themselves and there will be a higher number of unnecessarily casualties. Gun free school zone? I guess the gunman didn’t get… Read more »

Achill
Guest
Achill

Heath Flora is trying to fight that. I agree with you its terrible and its not just school zones. If a church has a school it would be illegal to carry in the church as well. Funny how states with open carry dont seem to have as many problems as we do……..

D W
Guest
D W

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?

Joel Potter
Guest
Joel Potter

Let me know how that pans out.

John Doe
Guest
John Doe

And to think we have a NATIONAL CONSTITUTION aka the United States of America Constitution.. The second amendment “these rights shall not be infringed upon”. Wow… So CA and all the other states that make these laws that restrict gun ownership to a select class of ppl think they are better and have more power than the U.S Constitution? Society as a whole needs to take a stand and fight back. Everyone needs to arm themselves. If those bent on committing a crime know that everyone is armed, and that they could get shot.. maybe they would think twice. And… Read more »

Noel
Guest
Noel

How can we stop the continued violation of the constitution? What is the federal government do, except look the other way? If I wrote a letter to my congressman or my senator it would never be read or seen by the public. So, why waist my time? Here in Oklahoma we just had an election, but the elected officials prior held a tax law in the preliminary elections on tobacco, gasoline and diesel. The people voted against the law and the people’s representatives failed to vote with the people of Oklahoma. Eleven billion dollars just from taxing casinos with gaming… Read more »

Richard S.
Guest
Richard S.

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?

That Guy
Guest
That Guy

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.

CCW
Guest
CCW

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

farmerguy31
Guest
farmerguy31

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.

Brad
Guest
Brad

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

Mike
Guest
Mike

No, California does not recognize any other states CCW for reciprocity.

Noel
Guest
Noel

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

Rick Barfield
Guest
Rick Barfield

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.

S jenkins
Guest
S jenkins

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.

John doe
Guest
John doe

How much ammo can I legally posses in California

F#@$ CALIFORNIA
Guest
F#@$ CALIFORNIA

how the f#$* can i go to a gun show, buy a gun and ammo legaly but the second i take possesion them both, im a criminal? thats the dumbest thing ive ever heard.
i cant carry a concealed gun, cant open carry unloaded or loaded. they say it has to be unloaded locked in a box in the trunk but isn’t that concealed? F#@$ING idiots!
92000 active ccw’s? but 0% of those belong to the population? does anyone else see a problem here?

CA Resident
Guest
CA Resident

Addressing your points below. I am not saying that I disagree that CA gun laws can sometimes be idiotic but knowledge of something should be a prerequisite before casting judgement: a) CA has a 10 day waiting period on all firearm purchases, including gun shows. This means that you will never be able to take possession of the firearm at the show. b) These are the regulations for transporting your firearm from Point A to Point B only. Example would be going to a range as the government does acknowledge that this is a necessity. You are not allowed to… Read more »

ted
Guest
ted

Yes you have to get a locked box with a window in it

mary
Guest
mary

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

Jap
Guest
Jap

does California waive the training for active duty?

SMcL
Guest
SMcL

Yes, AD and retired are exempt from the training course.

timothy thorn
Guest
timothy thorn

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

S McL
Guest
S McL

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.

S Jenkins
Guest
S Jenkins

No you do not. Only when you bring firearms INTO California from another state.

Greg
Guest
Greg

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?

Franklin Cain
Guest
Franklin Cain

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???

Whity Smith
Guest
Whity Smith

Yes no mags should bes included

S jenkins
Guest
S jenkins

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.

CJ T
Guest
CJ T

When was this article published?

Lui
Guest
Lui

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

S Jenkins
Guest
S Jenkins

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.

Dale Tone
Guest
Dale Tone

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.

earl
Guest
earl

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

Patrick M
Guest
Patrick M

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.

Ian
Guest
Ian

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

Steven
Guest
Steven

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!

Mark Tillman
Guest
Mark Tillman

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).

Michael Robicheaux
Guest
Michael Robicheaux

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.

S jenkins
Guest
S jenkins

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

Michael Perine
Guest
Michael Perine

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.

Ed Dallara
Guest
Ed Dallara

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

Adonis Paidusis
Guest
Adonis Paidusis

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?

Ford
Guest
Ford

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

Rich b
Guest
Rich b

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

Eric
Guest
Eric

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.

David
Guest
David

Where in Humboldt can I get the class?

Gary
Guest
Gary

Pacific Outfitters in Eureka

Madi Jones
Guest
Madi Jones

Hi, I would like to know where you are getting info that you can not carry in: “Law enforcement agency facilities”. Here is the law. Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 26150) of Division 5 of Title 4 of Part 6 Note 171b.(b) PENAL CODE – PEN PART 1. OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS [25 – 680] ( Part 1 enacted 1872. ) TITLE 7. OF CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC JUSTICE [92 – 186.34] ( Title 7 enacted 1872. ) CHAPTER 7. Other Offenses Against Public Justice [142 – 181] ( Chapter 7 enacted 1872. ) 171b. (a) Any person who brings or… Read more »

Deb
Guest
Deb

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

Eddie Zeigler
Guest
Eddie Zeigler

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

Wilson
Guest
Wilson

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.

rambo
Guest
rambo

why the hell would you want to move here?

Eddie
Guest
Eddie

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