Thursday, October 16, 2014

California State Laws: Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons

Dear Readers,

A few have written to say they find California's Concealed Carry laws confusing.

Below I have posted California's state laws regarding Concealed Carry and laws pertaining to Loaded Firearms directly from the law itself to help clear up any misconceptions about what the law says or doesn't say.

I really hope this helps folks.

This is per the State of California website:

Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons

A license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person may be granted to qualified residents of a county by the sheriff or to qualified residents of a city by the chief or other head of the municipal police department of that city.

Such licenses are issued only after a finding that the applicant is of good moral character, that good cause exists for such a license, and the applicant is not prohibited from possessing firearms. Unless otherwise restricted, such a license is valid throughout the state.

Such a license may be valid for any amount of time not to exceed two years from the date of issuance, unless issued to a judge or magistrate (valid for up to three years) or specified custodial employees or reserve peace officers (valid for up to four years). (Penal Code § 12050.)

A license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person may be granted by the sheriff of a county to an applicant who spends a substantial amount of time employed within that county.

Such a license is valid only in the county issued and is valid for any period of time not to exceed 90 days from the date of issuance. (Penal Code § 12050.)

Where the population of the county is less than 200,000 persons, the licensing authority may issue a license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, loaded and exposed. (Penal Code § 12050.)

If a California licensee has a need to travel armed in another state, he or she should contact authorities in the other state prior to leaving to determine if the license will be honored.


Loaded Firearms in a Public Place

It is unlawful to carry a loaded firearm on one’s person or in a vehicle while in any public place, on any public street, or in any place where it is unlawful to discharge a firearm. (Penal Code § 12031(a)(1).)

A firearm is deemed loaded when there is a live cartridge or shell in, or attached in any manner to, the firearm, including, but not limited to, the firing chamber, magazine, or clip thereof attached to the firearm. A muzzle-loading firearm is deemed loaded when it is capped or primed and has a powder charge and ball or shot in the barrel or cylinder. (Penal Code § 12031(g).)

For the purposes of Penal Code section 12023 (commission or attempted commission of a felony while armed with a loaded firearm), a firearm is deemed loaded when both the firearm and the unexpended ammunition capable of being discharged from the firearm are in the immediate possession of the same person.

It is unlawful for the driver of any motor vehicle, or the owner of any motor vehicle irrespective of whether the owner is occupying the vehicle, to knowingly permit any person to carry a loaded firearm in the vehicle in violation of Penal Code section 12031, or Fish and Game Code section 2006. (Penal Code § 12034.) Also, see “Other Prohibited Acts,” page 49.

In order to determine whether a firearm is loaded, peace officers are authorized to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place, on any public street, or in any prohibited area of an unincorporated territory. Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to these provisions is, in itself, grounds for arrest. (Penal Code § 12031(e).)


The prohibition against possessing loaded firearms in a public place does not apply to:

• Any person hunting in an area where firearm possession and hunting is otherwise lawful. (Penal Code § 12031(i).)

• Any person who carries a loaded firearm while engaged in the act of making or attempting to make a lawful arrest, provided such possession is otherwise lawful. (Penal Code § 12031(k).)

• Any person carrying a loaded firearm, if otherwise lawful, when he or she reasonably believes his or her person or property is in immediate, grave danger and that the carrying of the loaded firearm is necessary for preservation of the person or property during the time interval following notification of the local law enforcement agency when reasonably possible, and prior to the arrival of its assistance. (Penal Code § 12031)(j)(1).)

• Any of the following persons, provided they meet all criteria for such exemption,such as possession of special occupational licenses or completion of the required firearms training provided for in Penal Code sections 12031(b), (c), and (d):

- Active or honorably retired peace officers.

- Members of the military forces of this state or the United States engaged in the performance of their duties.

- Target shooters at target ranges and shooting club members while hunting on the club premises, provided possession and use of the firearm is otherwise lawful.

- Holders of licenses to carry concealed handguns.

- Armored vehicle guards.

- Animal control officers or zookeepers.

- Guards or messengers of common carriers, banks, and other financial institutions.

- Guards of contract carriers operating armored vehicles.

- Private investigators, private patrol operators, and alarm company operators.

- Uniformed security guards or night watchpersons employed by any public agency.

- Uniformed security guards and uniformed alarm agents of an alarm company operator.

- Uniformed employees of private patrol operators.

NOTE: Peace officers and honorably retired peace officers having properly endorsed
identification certificates may carry a concealed weapon at any time. Otherwise, these exemptions apply only when the firearm is carried within the scope of the exempted conduct, such as hunting or target shooting, or within the course and scope of assigned duties, such as an armored vehicle guard transporting money for his employer. A person who carries a loaded firearm outside the limits of the applicable exemption is in violation of the law, notwithstanding his or her possession of an occupational license or firearms training certificate. (Penal Code § 12031(b).)

Firearms in the Home or Business

Any person over the age of 18 who is not prohibited from possessing firearms, and if otherwise lawful, may keep and carry a firearm or have a firearm loaded at his or her place of residence, temporary residence, campsite, or on private property owned or lawfully possessed by the person. (Penal Code §§ 12026, 12031(h) and (l).)

Any person engaged in any lawful business (including nonprofit organizations) or any officer, employee, or agent authorized for lawful purposes connected with the business may possess a loaded firearm within the place of business if that person is over 18 years of age and not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms. (Penal Code §§ 12026, 12031(h).)

NOTE: A person’s place of business, residence, temporary residence, campsite, or private property may be located in areas where possession of handguns or other firearms, whether loaded or unloaded, is otherwise prohibited. Such areas include, but are not limited to, state, federal, or private game reserves or refuges, federal and state parks, and other public lands. Questions regarding the applicability of such laws should be directed to your sheriff or chief of police, federal or state fish and game officers, or federal or state park rangers.

Carrying Unregistered Loaded Handguns

Any person who commits the crime of carrying a concealed handgun and ammunition for that handgun on his/her person or in his/her vehicle may be subject to a felony enhancement if the handgun is not on file (registered) in the Department of Justice’s Automated Firearm s System. (Penal Code § 12025.)

Any person who commits the crime of carrying a loaded (not necessarily concealed) handgun on his/her person in a prohibited place may be guilty of a felony if the handgun is not on file (registered) in the Department of Justice’s Automated Firearms System. (Penal Code § 12031.)

NOTE: Handgun dealer record of sale transactions occurring before 1980 generally are not
registered in the Department’s Automated Firearms System. However, these records are on file with the Department of Justice. Upon individual request, the Attorney General shall place records of pre-1980 transfers of handguns into the Automated Firearms System. (Penal Code § 11106.)


It is unlawful for any person to carry a loaded firearm upon his or her person or within any vehicle under his or her control or direction while engaged in picketing activity. (Penal Code § 12590(a)(2).)

Picketing activity means any informational activities conducted in a public place relating to a concerted refusal to work.

General Exceptions Are Not Applicable

The exceptions regarding loaded firearms provided for peace officers, bank guards, armored vehicle guards, licensed hunters or fishermen, private investigators, and other persons in Section 5.

Loaded Firearms of this publication, do not apply if such individuals are engaged in picketing activities as described above. (Penal Code § 12590(c).)

Editor's Note:

The above information is unedited as found in California Firearms Laws 2007 website

Tom Correa

1 comment:

  1. You have to be very careful in California when it comes to guns from what I hear. There are places where you can carry a gun as well as places where you CAN'T carry a gun. And if you're gonna have it in the car make sure that you separate the ammo from the gun. Put the ammo in one case and the gun itself in the other. That way you won't get in trouble. That's how we do it here in Florida. Should work no matter where you live.


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