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 Allowed SEE DETAILS
No Weapons Signs Enforced NO
Open Carry Permitted NO
Carry In Liquor Establishments YES
Constitutional Carry NO
May Issue
See Details

California Handgun Permit


  • 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

age required

Cost of
a ccw license

years license
is valid

year License
data updated

Active CCW
licenses in california

population with
a ccw license

states that honor
a california license

state licenses
california honors

gun laws

State Rating

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

California Reciprocity Map


California CCW license recognition

  • Permit honored
  • Permit not honored
  • Issuing state

California CCW Reciprocity

California Reciprocity List

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

California Does Not Honor Any Other States Concealed Carry Permits
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 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.


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

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.


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


Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed


Address 4949 Broadway

CitySacramento, CA 95820

Phone (916) 227-7527

Updates & Data Sources

Leave a Reply

17 Comments on "California Gun Laws"

newest oldest most voted
Eddie Zeigler

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


Check to see if they are legal by reading the laws posted on or at 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.


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.

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 »

Where in Humboldt can I get the class?


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.

Rich b

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

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?


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

Ed Dallara

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

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.