Overview for California

California arguably has the strictest gun laws in the United States, outside of Washington D.C. Some of these laws can vary in different areas of the state.

California is considered to have the strictest gun laws by the Brady Campaign scoring a total of 81 points in 2011. Click here for the official Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence website. California’s state constitution does not guarantee its citizens the right to purchase, bare, or own firearms. In 2008 and 2010 the Supreme Court established that the second amendment in the U.S. constitution applies to all states after Washington D.C. and Chicago were sued for not allowing their citizens to own certain firearms. After this decision many of California’s laws are being challenged.

California is a “may issue” state in law. In practice that applies mainly to more urban areas. Most rural areas function on a more “shall issue” basis. It’s a good idea to check if there are any local restriction in your area.

Permit to PurchaseDetails
Open CarryDetails
Concealed CarryDetails
State Preemption of Local RestrictionsDetails
Firearm RegistrationDetails
Owner LicenseDetails
Law Long-guns Handguns
Permit to PurchaseNoPartial
Open CarryPartialPartial
Concealed CarryYesYes
State Preemption of Local RestrictionsYesYes
Firearm RegistrationNoYes
Owner LicenseNoNo

The Concealed Carry Permit

(often encompasses the open carry permit)

Offical Concealed Carry page for California.

California honors the permits of

California does not honor any other state's permits.

California's permits are honored by

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin

California FAQ

State Source