State Gun Laws - California - Saul Roth

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By Saul Roth

Here is an overview of the gun laws in the state of California. Please note that gun laws can change over time, so it’s essential to consult the most recent and authoritative sources or legal professionals for up-to-date information.

1. Permits to Purchase and Possess Firearms: In California, a permit is required to purchase and possess firearms. To purchase a handgun or semiautomatic centerfire rifle, individuals must obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) and undergo a background check. Long guns, such as shotguns and rifles, generally do not require a permit to purchase. However, ammunition purchases require a background check and a valid ammunition purchase authorization.

2. Concealed Carry Permits: California operates on a “may-issue” policy for concealed carry permits. Local authorities, typically the county sheriff or police chief, have discretion in issuing permits. Applicants must demonstrate “good cause” for carrying a concealed firearm, such as a substantiated threat to personal safety. The requirements and issuance policies vary by county.

3. Open Carry: California generally prohibits the open carry of firearms in public places, both handguns and long guns. However, there are exceptions for certain individuals, such as law enforcement officers and individuals with valid hunting licenses while engaged in lawful hunting activities.

4. Firearm Sales: California has stringent regulations on firearm sales. Private sales of firearms must be conducted through a licensed dealer who performs a background check on the buyer. All firearm transfers, whether from a dealer or private party, require a background check and a transfer record.

5. Assault Weapons and Magazine Capacity: California has strict regulations on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The state prohibits the sale, transfer, and possession of specific firearms classified as assault weapons. There are also restrictions on the capacity of ammunition magazines, generally limiting them to 10 rounds.

6. Prohibited Persons: California law prohibits certain individuals from owning or possessing firearms. This includes convicted felons, individuals with domestic violence convictions, individuals subject to certain restraining orders, those with a history of mental illness, and individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol.

7. Gun Storage and Safety: California has laws regarding firearm storage and safety. Firearms must be stored in a locked container or with a locking device to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, California requires safety devices, such as a chamber load indicator or magazine disconnect mechanism, on all new semi-automatic handguns sold in the state.

It’s important to note that this is a general overview of California’s gun laws, and there may be additional provisions and nuances not covered here. Additionally, it’s crucial to consult the California state statutes, legal professionals, or relevant law enforcement agencies for the most accurate and up-to-date information on gun laws in the state.