Can You Carry A Gun In California?

Colin A. Borden
Colin A. Borden
Can You Carry A Gun In California

California is known for having some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, which often confuses people who are looking to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

While California has very specific rules and regulations on who can and cannot carry a gun, it is still possible to legally carry one in the state if you meet certain conditions.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of what you need to know about carrying a gun in California.

Can I openly carry a gun in California?

California’s gun laws have long been considered some of the strictest in the nation, and unfortunately, the answer to can I openly carry a gun in California is no.

Openly carrying an unloaded handgun or long gun in public is illegal in California. Furthermore, even if you do possess a valid permit to carry, it must be concealed at all times.

That said, there are exceptions for when California individuals may openly carry/display their firearms: specifically, target shooting in designated areas and traveling to/from hunting excursions.

Generally speaking, however, you should familiarize yourself with your local regulations regarding firearms before attempting to open carry; otherwise, you could face severe fines or jail time for improper display of your weapon.

How do I get a gun in California?

In order to obtain a gun in the state of California, one must first be aware of the strict regulations that are in place. Before purchasing a long gun (rifle or shotgun), an individual must obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) issued by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). This certificate is required for all firearms purchases and transfers, including private-party transactions.

To begin the process, an individual must be over 18 years old and either a resident of California or have a valid permit from another state. The applicant must also pass a written test covering topics such as safe handling, storage, laws related to firearm ownership and use, legal penalties for misuse of firearms, and hunter safety. Once the written test has been passed, the applicant will receive the FSC certificate within one to three weeks. 

After obtaining an FSC certificate, an individual wishing to purchase a long gun can do so from any federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL). This includes pawn shops, sporting goods stores, and other retailers that specialize in guns. In addition to presenting proof of identity (such as driver’s license), FFLs are responsible for completing background checks on prospective buyers before approving any transaction. 

Once the background check has been cleared and all paperwork is completed correctly, the buyer can take possession of their new long gun immediately if they are purchasing it through an FFL located within the state or they can pick up their purchase at another FFL if they are buying from out of state. It is important to note that some California city ordinances may have additional restrictions when it comes to owning or transporting firearms. 

Finally, individuals who wish to own handguns must register them with DOJ before taking possession of them. To do this, applicants will need to provide proof of identity such as driver’s license or passport; complete DOJ forms; submit fingerprints; pass a written test; and pay applicable fees – generally around $19 dollars per handgun registration application. When all paperwork is submitted correctly and approved by DOJ, applicants will receive a Handgun Safety Certificate which is necessary for handguns purchases in California.

Do you need a permit to carry a gun in California?

In California, it is necessary to obtain a permit to legally carry a gun. This regulation is outlined in the California Penal Code and applies to all individuals who wish to possess or transport a firearm. To acquire a permit, applicants must fulfill several eligibility requirements as mandated by both federal and state laws. 

At the federal level, applicants must be at least 21 years of age or older, not prohibited from possessing firearms under any applicable federal law or court order, and have passed an approved firearms safety training course. Additionally, under state law, applicants must demonstrate that they have “good cause” for carrying a firearm; this requirement differs depending on each county’s interpretation of what constitutes good cause. 

Once all of these criteria are met, individuals may submit an application form with relevant personal information (such as proof of identity) along with the fee associated with acquiring the license. The applicant then receives their permit after several weeks and can begin carrying their firearm. All guns must be registered before being carried in public places and failure to do so is punishable by fines and possible jail time depending on other factors related to the case.

What are the gun laws in California?

Gun laws in the United States can be complex, as each state has its regulations that may differ from one another. Understanding California’s gun laws are especially important because it has some of the strictest gun regulations in the country.

Background Checks and Permits 

To purchase any type of firearm in California, including shotguns, rifles, and handguns, you must first pass a background check conducted by the Bureau of Firearms through the Department of Justice (DOJ). The background check will review your criminal record as well as any mental health history that might indicate that you are unable to safely handle firearms. You must also obtain a valid Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) from the DOJ before purchasing any firearm. This certificate is issued after taking a written test that covers basic safety rules for handling firearms.  

Concealed Carry Laws

Carrying a concealed weapon in public is illegal without first obtaining a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit from your local sheriff or police chief. Generally speaking, CCW permits will only be granted if you can demonstrate “good cause” for needing to carry a concealable weapon in public; this means demonstrating an actual risk or threat to yourself or your family. Once approved for a CCW permit, there are certain restrictions on where and how you may carry your firearm; generally speaking, it should not be visible while in public and should only be carried when necessary for self-defense reasons.          

Gun Storage Law

California has implemented what is known as “safe storage” laws which require all firearms owners to securely store their weapons away from children and other unauthorized users whenever they are not being used directly by the owner. This typically requires storing them in locked containers or safes inside one’s home or vehicle when they are not being used directly by the owner. Failure to comply with these safe storage regulations could result in criminal penalties depending on the circumstances involved and whether any unauthorized individuals were able to gain access to them during an inspection by law enforcement officials.

Are there any gun-free zones in California?

Yes, there are gun-free zones in California. All public school campuses in the state have been designated as gun-free zones, which means that no one may possess a firearm or any other type of weapon on school grounds. Additionally, many local governments throughout California have passed ordinances prohibiting the possession of firearms in certain areas, including parks and other public gathering places. These laws are designed to ensure public safety and reduce the chance of violence occurring within these areas.

The State of California also prohibits firearms at certain government buildings, such as courthouses and hospitals. This includes any building used by a state agency or entity, such as DMV offices and state parks. While guns may not be specifically prohibited from private businesses, many employers choose to prohibit firearms from their premises for safety reasons. Furthermore, some amusement parks and places of entertainment may also restrict the presence of firearms on their premises for safety purposes.

In addition to these existing gun-free zones, California recently passed a law that prohibits carrying loaded weapons in unincorporated areas near schools and colleges. This means that individuals must either store their firearms in locked containers or unloaded them when traveling through these areas near educational institutions. Moreover, this law extends to specific types of ammunition magazine capacities as well as the storage of ammunition on school grounds; both are prohibited under this new law.

Altogether, these regulations create a web of gun-free zones across California that is meant to promote public safety and keep guns out of dangerous locations where they can be easily accessed by unauthorized individuals or used in acts of violence or destruction. People need to become aware of all gun-free zones so they understand where they should not carry firearms or other weapons when traveling around the state to ensure compliance with local laws regarding firearm possession and use.


California has some of the most rigorous gun control laws in the United States. In general, one cannot carry a concealed weapon without a special license.

Unlicensed individuals may only carry an unloaded weapon that is visible to others in order to transport it from one location to another or for use at target practice, shooting competitions, and hunting.

Taking into account public safety concerns, the gun laws are highly regulated, which are generally aimed at preventing criminal activity rather than legal gun owners.

This makes it impossible for people to just buy a firearms and start carrying it around in California.


How strict is California’s gun?

California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States. Handguns must be purchased through a licensed dealer and require a 10-day waiting period before delivery, as well as passing a written test and background check. California also has an “Assault Weapon Control Act” which limits what types of firearms can be legally owned and carried within the state, and certain features are prohibited or restricted on guns such as flash suppressors, folding stocks, etc.

Where are guns not allowed in California?

Additionally, guns are prohibited in any school zone this includes colleges, universities, and K-12 schools. This also applies to vehicles parked on school campuses during schooldays or while classes are in session at nearby schools. Guns are further restricted in federal buildings such as post offices and United States courthouses or military bases within the state of California. Other places where guns do not allowed include hospitals, amusement parks, national parks, airports and liquor stores. 

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Colin Borden wanderlust takes him to stunningly beautiful places, where he delights in discovering new cultures and cuisines. With a passion for storytelling and a vivid imagination, Colin captures his experiences through heartfelt words that bring his adventures to life.
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