Let’s be honest California is not a gun owner’s best friend. It’s one of the few states in the union where owning a firearm is not a constitutional right. It’s politicians even boast about the strictness of its gun control laws. That’s why you may be confused about your rights and have questions if you are a gun owner in The Golden State.
“California has always been a leader on the issue of gun safety,” “New York has stepped up and stepped forward. California needs to answer the call.”
-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
California Penal Code 26350 PC makes it illegal to carry a handgun openly, even if it is unloaded. However, this law was recently struck down by the 9th Circut federal court of appeals.
The court ruled that California residents do have a 2nd amendment right to carry a firearm in public. The case was appealed but the Supreme Court declined to hear it, therefore, leaving the 9th circuit’s ruling to stand. This means that yes you may carry a handgun openly in the State of California.
Can You Carry a Handgun While Hiking in California?
Yes and no, but mostly not. Let me explain. The state parks system bans guns except in limited areas. National parks also have limitations on firearms. So if you’re hiking in any of those places you’re limited. However, any other public land you would be protected by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that open carry is a constitutional right.
(a) No person shall carry, possess or discharge across, in or into any portion of any unit any weapon, firearm, spear, bow and arrow, trap, net, or device capable of injuring, or killing any person or animal, or capturing any animal, or damaging any public or private property, except in underwater parks or designated archery ranges where the Department of Parks and Recreation finds that it is in its best interests.
(b) Nothing herein contained shall be construed in derogation of the use of weapons permitted by law or regulation and to be used for hunting in any unit, or portion thereof, open to hunting.
(c) Firearms not having a cartridge in any portion of the mechanism, other unloaded weapons or devices such as traps, nets, and bows and arrows may be possessed within temporary lodging or mechanical mode of conveyance when such implements are rendered temporarily inoperable or are packed, cased, or stored in a manner that will prevent their ready use.
Unless authorized, the use or discharge of a firearm within a park area is prohibited. 36 CFR 2.4(b) and 13.30(c). In parks where hunting is specifically mandated or authorized by federal statute, firearms may be used to hunt in accordance with NPS regulations and state laws. 36 CFR 2.2.
Can I Carry a Gun on My Property in California?
Yes, you can. Anyone who is 18 years old or older and not a convicted felon may have a gun on his or her own property–loaded or unloaded.
Unless otherwise unlawful, any person over the age of 18 who is not prohibited
from possessing firearms may have a loaded or unloaded firearm at his or her
place of residence, temporary residence, campsite or on private property owned
or lawfully possessed by the person . Any person engaged in lawful business
(including nonprofit organizations) or any officer, employee or agent authorized
for lawful purposes connected with the business may have a loaded firearm
within the place of business if that person is over 18 years of age and not otherwise
prohibited from possessing firearms .
Can You Conceal Carry in California?
Yes, and no but mostly no. A concealed carry permit is notoriously difficult to get in California. California is a ‘may-issue’ state meaning you have to kiss a lot of rings in order to be able to get a concealed carry permit in California. San Francisco county only has ten (10) active concealed carry permits as of 2014.
How Do You get a CCW Permit in California?
On paper the requirements are simple:
- You are of good moral character;
- Good cause exists for issuance of the license because you or a member of your family is in immediate danger;
- You meet certain residency requirements; and
- You have completed an acceptable course in firearms training.
However, anyone that has tried to go through California’s process of obtaining a concealed carry permit knows that it’s much more arduous than that and that’s by design!
The main way they stop people from getting concealed carry permits is through the ‘good cause’ requirement. This means you have to prove that you have ‘good cause’ to get a concealed carry permit. Simply fearing for your safety doesn’t cut it either. You must show that an eminent and credibly threat exists. This is quite ironic given the government’s stance that cops are not legally required to protect you.
Richard was also planning on getting a California CCW permit, “which might cost upward of $400 and requires range qualification for each weapon you want to carry, up to four.” Requirements vary by county and are determined by either the sheriff or the chief of police. “Luckily, I’m in Woodside, under the direct purview of the sheriff’s office.” Most police chiefs, he said, weren’t in the business of issuing permits at all.
That’s not an exaggeration either. According to the same article only 10 people had concealed carry permits in 2014 in San Francisco County!
Does California Recognize Concealed Weapons Permits From Other States?
No, it doesn’t. California does not honor CCW permits that were issued in other states.
Can I Bring My Gun to California?
If you are legally allowed to own a gun i.e. not a convicted felon then yes, you may bring your handgun to California–with conditions.
- It must be in a locked container or
- In the vehicle’s trunk
- It must be unloaded
Pursuant to California Penal Code section 16850, the term “locked container” means a secure container that is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device. This includes the trunk of a motor vehicle, but does not include the utility or glove compartment.
It’s important to note that California does not accept concealed carry permits from other states and as stated before is notoriously difficult to obtain one. There are no specific rules on transporting a rifle or shotgun to California.
If you are planning on keeping the gun in California there are many more regulations to follow.
You have to ship it to a licensed dealer who will ensure you meet the requirements to have a gun.
- Criminal background check
- A 10-day waiting period
- and a firearm safety certificate.
There are exceptions to this requirement; namely if:
- Your gun is registered in the state you want to bring it from
- If you got the gun before 2015
- You’re a licensed collector or importer
- You inherited the gun (you still need a safety certificate)