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 CCW Quick Facts
LICENSE ISSUED TO
California Handgun Permit
- California CCW Handgun Permit Requirements
- California CCW Handgun Permit Application
- California CCW Handgun Permit Renewal
- California CCW Handgun Permit Fee's
- 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
California Reciprocity Map
California CCW license recognition
California CCW Reciprocity
California Reciprocity List
How Reciprocity Works In California
Pointers: California Handgun Laws
California CCW Handgun Forms
Download Your Forms
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
- 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 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 permitYou 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.
Penal Code 16850
NO – with or Without a permitOpen carry is not legal even with a permit.
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.
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
History Of California Gun Laws
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 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 - 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
California Gun Statutes
California does not have a provision in their constitution to protect the right to own and bear firearms.
California Statutes on CCW
Other CCW Statutes
California CCW FAQ's
California CCW Contact
California Bureau of Firearms
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm
Address 4949 Broadway
CitySacramento, CA 95820
Phone (916) 227-7527