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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 Handgun Permit

California CCW Dashboard




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California CCW Reciprocity

Permit Honored
Permit not honored
Issuing state

California CCW Reciprocity

California Reciprocity List

States that honor a California ccw permit

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 honors these state ccw permits

California Does Not Honor Any Other States Concealed Carry Permits

States that will not accept a California permit

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

California Reciprocity List

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 CCW Handgun Forms


  • CFCL Enrollment Application
  • Certificate of Eligibilty
  • Dangerous Weapons Permit Application
  • Concealed Weapon License Renewal
  • New Serial Number Application
  • State CCW Pamphlet

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

History Of California Gun Laws

Antique handgun

Learn California’s Gun History


First gun control Act.


Dealers are required to report all sales to the state.


All concealed weapons become illegal without a permit.


All guns that are loaded are banned in public.


State preemption law enacted banning local authorities from regulating firearms.


First assault weapons laws enacted after school shooting in Stockton.


All private sales of firearms must now be processed through a licensed dealer.


Waiting period to purchase firearms modified to 10 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.


Anyone moving to California must register their handguns within 60 days. This was modified to include the recording of long guns sales and serial numbers in 2014.


Second assault weapons laws enacted banning large magazines.


Law enacted that limits purchases of concealed firearms to one every 30 days per person.


Open carry of an unloaded handgun is banned.


Open carry of an unloaded long gun banned.


All long guns must now be registered.


You now need a test and safety certificate for long gun purchases.


Law enacted that now requires persons to be at least 21 years old to purchase any type of firearm – handgun, long gun and shotguns.

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 Handgun Permit

California does not have a provision in their constitution to protect the right to own and bear firearms.

California State Capitol Building

California Statutes on CCW

Off-Limits Statutes

Other CCW Statutes

It is the intention of the Legislature to occupy the whole field of regulation of the registration or licensing of commercially manufactured firearms as encompassed by the provisions of the Penal Code, and such provisions shall be exclusive of all local regulations, relating to registration or licensing of commercially manufactured firearms, by any political subdivision as defined in Section 1721 of the Labor Code.

“Large capacity magazine” means any detachable ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include any of the following:

  1. A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds:
  2. A .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device; or
  3. A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.

(c) Prohibition on Possession of Large Capacity Magazines.

  1. No person, corporation, or other entity in the City may possess a large capacity magazine, weather assembled or disassembled.
  2. Any person who, prior to the effective date of this chapter, was legally in possession of a large capacity magazine shall have 90 days from such effective date to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution:
  • (A) Remove the large capacity magazine from the city;
  • (B) Surrender the large capacity magazine to the Police Department for destruction; or
  • (C) Sell or transfer the large capacity magazine lawfully in accordance with Penal Code 12020.

(a) Except as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 32400) of this chapter and in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, any person in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, buys, or receives any large-capacity magazine is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

(b) Except as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 32400) of this chapter and in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, commencing July 1, 2017, any person in this state who possesses any large-capacity magazine, regardless of the date the magazine was acquired, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) upon the first offense, by a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) upon the second offense, and by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) upon the third or subsequent offense.

(c) A person who, prior to July 1, 2017, legally possesses a large-capacity magazine shall dispose of that magazine by any of the following means:

  1. Remove the large-capacity magazine from the state.
  2. Prior to July 1, 2017, sell the large-capacity magazine to a licensed firearms dealer.
  3. Destroy the large-capacity magazine.
  4. Surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction

California CCW FAQ's

Concealed carry permits are issued by the county Sheriff or Chief of Police in your county of residence.

90 Days The application for a concealed carry permit must be processed within 90 days of the application being received.

You can request a check of state and Federal records to see if you are eligible to own or purchase a firearm. The request is made to the Department of Justice and there is a fee of $20.

You will need to complete a course that teaches firearm safety and the law on firearms. The course is not allowed to exceed 16 hours.

No, California does not issue carry permits to non-residents.

No, permits from other states cannot be transferred to California. A new permit application will need to be made.

You cannot carry a firearm in California while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication, whether prescribed or not.

California CCW Contact

California Bureau of Firearms


Monday – Friday         9am – 5pm

Saturday                       Closed

Sunday                         Closed


Address           4949 Broadway

City                   Sacramento, CA 95820

Phone              (916) 227-7527

  1. California CCW Quick Facts
  2. California CCW Reciprocity
  3. California Concealed Carry Permit
  4. California Handgun Permit Forms
  5. California: Places Off-Limits for CCW
  6. Pointers: California Concealed Carry
  7. Open Carry in California
  8. California gun Sales, Preemption…
  9. History Of California Gun Laws
  10. California Concealed Carry Laws
  11. California CCW FAQ’s
  12. California CCW Contacts
  13. Updates & Data Sources