California gun law policy is a strict one. This is why people refer to it as a May-issue state. 

The gun laws are at best slightly confusing, and at worst, intentionally misleading. You can only get a permit from either your local police station or the sheriff’s office.

These offices have the power to issue California concealed carry weapon licenses at their own free will. 

When you purchase a firearm in California, you will undergo a compulsory state Department of Justice check, and it carries a fee of $1. The Department of Justice will keep every necessary detail and information about you.  

Nobody below the age of 21 can sell or purchase a gun in the state.

California Gun Laws

Concealed carry California is only allowed if you have CCWL. The state’s minimum age to conceal carry is 21.

California concealed carry permit is not the same for everyone. The permits contain various restrictions on where, how, and what type of weapon the holder should carry.

California Gun laws also have a concealed carry requirement of at least eight hours of training about CCW laws.

This training must include the teaching of California gun laws, live wire sessions in ranges, and safe handling of guns.

The training can be a concealed carry class or virtual training, that is, concealed carry online California.

California CCW Reciprocity

California is one of the states in the United States of America with strict gun policies. 

The state does not have any reciprocity deal with other states. Therefore it does not honor permits from other states. 

You should also know that California concealed carry permit is strictly for residents only.

So, if you want a CCWL from the state, you must reside in the state.

States That Honors California’s CCW

With California CCWL, you can conceal carry in 11 states. However, you must handle the firearm in accordance with the laws of these states.

What Are The Requirements For California CCW Permit?

To get a California concealed carry permit, you are going to need a government-issued ID with the address of where you live.

After that, you can go through these five steps.

Get A Registered Firearm 

The first and most crucial step obviously, is to purchase your registered firearm.

You should get something you are comfortable carrying every day without getting tired. Also, check if you can get one based on your geography in California.

Determining Your Good Cause 

You need to have enough good cause to get California concealed carry permit. 

A lot of people simply state their good cause as self-defense. This may or may not be accepted, depending on the issuing agency.

So make sure you have a valid reason for conceal carry California before requesting CCWL.

Getting The Paperwork 

You can get the paperwork for concealed carry applications from any local law enforcement agency.

From there, they will collect a fee for fingerprints and start an FBI background check on you.

If they see anything that they don’t like or, if something doesn’t add up, they may decline your permit. If they give approval, you move to the last stage.

Take A Test From Certified CCW Instructor And Qualify 

Most Concealed carry classes California do a two-day course to fulfill this requirement.

You can also undergo concealed carry online California. 

Area prices for these courses vary and can get expensive in some cases.

After you have successfully passed your test and shot with a passing score, you can pick up your concealed carry permit and pay any remaining balances. 

If you plan on using your permit for work, make sure that the agency knows that it will be for both work and personal use.

Also, some agencies do require a psychological test 

People Who Cannot Conceal Carry In California

As a general rule, concealed carry requirements in California does not allow you to have a firearm in public unless it’s unloaded and in a locked container in the trunk of your car. 

But beyond that, certain categories of people are prohibited from owning, possessing, acquiring, or using a firearm. 

They include:

Convicted Felons

The first category is convicted felons. If you are convicted of a felony in any jurisdiction, it doesn’t necessarily have to be California, then you’re prohibited. 

Convicted felons have a lifetime prohibition from having a firearm and CCW permit in California.

Drug Abusers

People who are addicted to narcotics may not have firearms. 

Multiple Convictions

California’s law forbids people who have two or more convictions from brandishing a weapon.


People who are convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses cannot conceal carry in California.

Mentally Deranged

People who suffer a mental illness cannot conceal carry.

The Minors

This includes anyone that is under 18 years of age. 

New California Concealed Carry Laws 2020

Starting this year, four new concealed carry California regulations were signed into law.

Semi-Automatic Rifle Law

Californians aged 21 or older will be able to buy semi-automatic rifles. This removes the exemption for 18 to 20-year-olds who are previously allowed to purchase centerfire semi-automatic rifles.

For hunting, from 2021, all Californians will be limited to buying a maximum of one semi-automatic rifle per month.

Firearms Ban From Other States

A person who is under a firearm ban in another state outside of California can no longer legally possess a firearm in the state of California. This was made law under assembly bill 164.

The law is in response to recent news stories involving violent individuals who were under a temporary restraining order in another state and came to California to commit violent acts with weapons.

Dispossessing A Dangerous Person

The assembly bill fine-tunes the red flag statute. This is the process by which a judge can take away the firearms of an individual, that is deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others.

If the judge agrees, the previous maximum of a one-year gun seizure can be extended annually, for up to five years.

Restraining Order

The final law allows employers, co-workers, and teachers to directly ask a judge for gun violence restraining orders against one of their students, employees, or co-workers. 

This changes the previous law, which only allowed family members and law enforcement agencies to make such a request.

With the sheer volume of California gun laws and regulations, the government enacts new bills every year. It is crucial that gun owners in California know their rights.

Concealed carry California owners should also know what is not allowed in the state.

Location Restrictions For California Concealed Carry

Concealed carry California makes it a crime to bring weapons into public buildings such as the following:

  • Courthouse 
  • Government building 
  • A meeting that is open to the public, e.g, town hall 
  • School grounds

The law identifies explicitly six types of weapons that fall into this category. They are:

  • A firearm 
  • Any deadly weapon 
  • A knife with a blade of four inches or more
  • A teargas weapon 
  • A taser or stun gun and 
  • An instrument that fires a metal projectile such as a pellet gun 

The law will treat concealed carry California violations as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

As a misdemeanor, it carries a penalty of up to one year in jail. As a felony, it carries up to three years in jail or prison. Therefore, you should treat this law very seriously. 

A lot of innocent people get accused of this charge. There are many scenarios for this.

You may have had a weapon in a backpack, purse, or a pocket and honestly forget that it was there. So you need to be very careful.

If the government charges you with public use weapon, reach out to your lawyer immediately. 

Loaded Weapons In California 

For concealed carry California, it is a crime to carry a loaded weapon in public. This is a misdemeanor, and it is punishable by up to a year in county jail.

Keep in mind that it is also illegal to carry an unloaded weapon in public. Now, it’s illegal to have either a loaded or an unloaded weapon in public. 

The exception is that you can transport a weapon if you have it in a locked container, and it is unloaded. 

There are certain categories of people who are exempt from this law, or who basically are allowed to have a loaded weapon in public. 

This category includes the following:

  • Peace officers
  • Security guards
  • Active duty military personnel
  • Hunters and people at shooting ranges
  • People who have a concealed weapons permit, and 
  • Business owners. 

California law allows owners of a business to keep a loaded weapon in their place of business for protection.

Implication Of Getting Charged With Possession Of Loaded Weapon

If you get arrested and charged, then you want to do everything you can to avoid conviction and keep it off your record. 

If you’re convicted, it may lead to probation and up to a year in county jail. This will result in you getting a permanent criminal record. 

This means when prospective employers do a background check, they are most likely able to see it. 

This sort of offense is a real red flag because when they see that, they wonder if you are a dangerous person and why you have a loaded weapon.

What Do I Do?

For most in this situation, sometimes the gun does not belong to them. Sometimes they don’t realize it was there. A lot of times, it was discovered as part of an illegal search and seizure by the police. 

If you are in this situation, hire a lawyer with an excellent record of success in defending clients with similar charges. 

You will most likely get your charges reduced or dismissed.

Castle Doctrine Gun Law In California 

California gun law recognizes the castle doctrine. But what does this really mean?

The term castle doctrine comes from the old maxim that a person’s home is his/her castle. 

Therefore, you have special rights to use force, even deadly force, to defend against a home invader.

In California, the castle doctrine follows two basic principles:

Fight The Intruder

First of all, you do not have a duty to retreat if somebody invades your home. Even if you have an opportunity to escape and go call the police, you don’t have to.

You have a right to stand your ground and fight off the intruder.

Protect Yourself And/Or Your Family

Secondly, if you use force against an intruder, there is a presumption that you did so because you reasonably believed it was necessary to protect yourself and your family.

In effect, the castle doctrine makes it harder for the state to prosecute you when you use force against somebody who unlawfully enters your home.

That said, the castle doctrine does not give people an absolute license to use any amount of force they wish against an intruder. 

The force still must be reasonable under the circumstances, and the use of force, especially deadly force, should always be done only when it is absolutely necessary.

California Concealed Carry FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about CCW California.

How Will I Pay For California Concealed Carry Permit Application?

Depending on what part of California you stay in, the price for CCWL ranges from $70-$100

How Long Is A CCWL Valid For?

California concealed carry permit is only valid for 2 years.

How Long Will It Take Me To Complete California Concealed Carry Permit Application?

You must complete the application within ninety days.

Can I Get A Non-Resident CCWL In California?

The state of California only gives permits to residents of the state, people who work in the state, and members of the United States Armed Forces that have a primary assignment in the state.

How Can I Renew My CCWL?

Renewal of your permit should be done three months before the expiry date. You are also obligated to complete a renewal class of four hours.

Additional Resources

California Gun Laws
California Open Carry Laws
California Gun Permit Laws

Get Your
Concealed Carry Weapons Permit 
Online In Minutes

About the Author

Follow me

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}