CA Gun Law Guide

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California Gun Laws

Regulations Regarding Firearms

As of January 2019, any bump stock or burst trigger mechanism that provides semiautomatic firearms the ability to expel a rapid-fire burst is outlawed.

As of January 2019, anyone under 21 years old are not allowed to purchase shotguns and rifles or anything else deemed a long gun. Military and law enforcement are exempt from this law.

Ghost Gun

  • Starting early July 2018, any individual who wants to build or manufacture a firearm must first apply to the Department of Justice for a serial number
  • Any individual that does not currently have a unique serial number must apply for one by January 2019

Assault weapon with the bullet button feature

  • Starting January 2017, firearms with a ‘bullet button’ feature will now be classified as an assault weapon and must be registered by the end of June 2018

A new definition of an assault weapon

  • There are new classifications for assault weapons. It is now considered an assault weapon if it is a semi-automatic gun or a semiautomatic-centerfire firearm and it does not contain a fixed magazine but it contains one of the following:
    • CA Penal CODE 12276.1 (a) Notwithstanding Section 12276, “assault weapon” shall also mean any of the following:
      1. A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
        1. A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
        2. A thumbhole stock.
        3. A folding or telescoping stock.
        4. A grenade launcher or flare launcher.
        5. A flash suppressor.
        6. A forward pistol grip.
      2. A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
      3. A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.
      4. A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
        1. A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer.
        2. (B) A second handgrip.
        3. A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.
        4. The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.
      5. A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
      6. A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:
        1. A folding or telescoping stock.
        2. A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.
      7. A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
      8. Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
        1. “Assault weapon” does not include any antique firearm.
        2. The following definitions shall apply under this section:
          1. “Magazine” shall mean any ammunition feeding device.
          2. “Capacity to accept more than 10 rounds” shall mean capable of accommodating more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include a feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds.
          3. “Antique firearm” means any firearm manufactured prior to January 1, 1899.
    • Cannot be prosecuted for the following:
      • Individuals who bought their assault firearm prior to the first of January 2001 to the thirty-first of December 2017
      • Individuals who register their assault firearm to the Department of Justice before the thirtieth of June 2018

Permits

California gun laws do not honor any other state’s permits

How To Apply For A Permit In California:

Contact your local Sheriff or Chief of Police
Many now accept online applications
Terms: 2 years
Cost: Legal limit, $100

California is a may issue state, and will issue a permit if the following conditions are met:

  • You are of good moral character
  • You have a “good cause” for obtaining a permit
  • You are a resident of the county you are applying
  • You have completed the mandatory training course

Off-Limits Locations Even With A Permit

  • Events or gun shows – you shall not carry both a firearm and its compatible ammunition at the same time
  • Firearms are prohibited in the state Capitol, any Governor or constitutional officer’s office, or any legislative office
  • Polling place
  • Public and private schools, as well as, college campuses

When Carrying A Concealed Weapon You Shall Not

  • Consume any alcoholic beverages
  • Carry in any locations whose primary purpose is the distribution of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption
  • Be under the influences of drugs, prescribed or not
  • Refuse to surrender or reveal any weapons when requested by a peace officer
  • You shall not interfere with any peace officer trying to perform his/her duties
  • Carry a weapon that is not listed on your permit
  • Carry a firearm in circumstances or times not listed on permit

When A Permit Is Not Required

Anyone over the age of 18, who has not previously been prohibited from possessing a firearm, may keep and carry a loaded firearm in his/her home, place of temporary residence, campsite, or private property owned by that person.

Traveling

With a permit you may carry at:

  • State parks
  • State or National Forests
  • Road Side Rest Areas
  • In any vehicle

Handguns

California will not prevent a US citizen, over the age of 18 from transporting a firearm capable of being concealed so long as it is not loaded and in a locked container.

Rifles/Shotguns

It is not required for a non-concealable firearm to be in a locked container. However, it must be unloaded while being transported.

Registered Assault Weapons

Assault weapons that have been registered may be transported between certain locations. They must also be unloaded in a locked container during transportation.

Open Carry

Open carry is not legal in California.

Large Capacity Magazines

An injunction was issued for the portion of the law that prohibited possessing a large capacity magazine in your home, on June 30, 2017. However, the manufacturing, importation, and sale of large capacity magazines are still prohibited.

Large capacity magazines are defined as a detectable ammo feeding mechanism that has the capacity to accept more than 10 or more rounds.

What Is Considered A ‘Loaded Firearm’?

  • In California, a firearm is considered loaded when the firearm and its compatible ammunition are in the immediate possession of the same person.
  • Additionally, a firearm is considered loaded when a round is attached in any degree to the firearm, including in the chamber, magazine, or an attached, etc.

*** The The information and details listed above pertaining to California gun laws are meant solely as a reference point. California’s firearm and ammunition laws frequently change and we advise that you consult with your local law enforcement agency or attorney before making any gun or ammunition related decisions.

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