California Gun Laws

Gun Control Laws in California

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. In addition to the standard background check anyone wanting to purchase a firearm in California must also pass a test and obtain a 5-year Firearm Safety Certificate before they can buy, loan, transfer or sell a gun. You must also pay a $25 fee when applying. Only certified handgun dealers can sell guns, and the products they offer must be contained on the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale. You cannot sell a handgun privately; all sales must be registered and recorded through the state via a licensed dealer. California does not honor the 2nd Amendment that guarantees citizens rights to bear arms. The waiting period in California to purchase a handgun is ten days. California does not allow the sale or purchase of semi-automatic weapons, and you can only buy automatic weapons with a special permit for specific purposes.

State CCW Quick Facts

  • May Issue State gun policy
  • No Open Carry Permitted
  • No Constitutional Carry
  • Yes Carry In Restaurants
  • Yes Carry In Vehicle
  • Residents License issued to
  • 92,000 Number of Active CCW Permits
  • 24 # of states that honor California license
  • 0 # of state licenses that California honors
  • 2 Years license is valid
  • 100 $ cost of the license
  • 21 Minimum age for license permit

California’s policy is May Issue in practice and its license is issued to residents. You can carry a handgun in: state parks, state and national forests, road side rest areas, vehicle, all areas of the state not listed as forbidden.

California CCW Reciprocity Map

Gun laws across America vary from state to state, and some states allow reciprocity, meaning you can carry your gun across state lines. Other states disallow reciprocity. The states that offer reciprocity with California are 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, and Wisconsin. California does not honor CCW permits from any other states.

  • Permit honored
  • Permit not honored
  • Issuing state

California Concealed Carry Permit and Laws

The California concealed carry laws are quite involved. First, you do have to have a permit, and you cannot obtain one unless you are of good moral character, have a valid safety reason for needing one, have had firearms training and meet other requirements. Granting a permit is up to local law enforcement so even if you do qualify, you may still be denied for some other reason. To obtain a license, you must visit your local county sheriff’s office. In some areas of California, you have to notify an officer that you are carrying if they ask. In other areas, you do not have to disclose. Regarding following no weapon signs, unless it is a federally mandated “no gun” zone, like schools, federal buildings or the post office, then you can generally carry wherever you like. With state parks, only concealed carry is allowed with a permit. California does not honor CCWs from other states. If carrying in your vehicle, the gun must be in the trunk in a locked box. The state allows carrying in restaurants and bars as well.

CCW Eligibility: Qualify or Pre-Qualify?

To qualify for a concealed carry weapon permit in the state of California, you must meet all the requirements. First, you must be of good and moral character. You must also have a good cause for needing to carry a loaded weapon. You must also reside in the county you obtain the permit from or spend the majority of your time there. You could have your business or a second home there to qualify. Finally, you must complete a thorough firearms training course to obtain your permit. You must prove all of these items to the county sheriff’s office or police chief. They have complete authority to grant or deny your application.

California Gun Background Check

Before you can purchase a firearm in the state of California, you must undergo a thorough background check. Using your license or photo ID, gun dealerships run your information through the FBI’s NICS database along with 20 other sources including mental health facilities and the DMV. The NICS reports about 250k background checks per month in California and almost 2 million per year. Dozens of protective buyers are denied each day due to the results that come back from their background check.

  • Permits
  • Handguns
  • Long Guns
  • Total

CA CCW and Pistol Permit Information

State Concealed Carry Requirements

  • Minimum age of 18
  • You are of good moral character
  • You have good cause to justify the permit
  • You are a resident of the county or your place of work is in the county
  • You have completed an approved firearms training class
  • You have not been convicted of a felony or certain types of misdemeanors
  • You are not addicted to drugs
  • You have not been diagnosed as mentally ill
  • Federal law requirements

Gun CCW Permit Application

  1. Contact the country Sheriffs Office to obtain information about training courses.
  2. Complete the training course. The length of course and fees will vary for each county. Most courses will be under 16 hours.
  3. Present your certificate of completion to the Sheriffs Office.
  4. You may be required by some counties to take a psychological test to assess your moral character and judgement.
  5. Obtain a CCW application form. Some parts of the form will need to be filled out in front of a witness at the Sheriffs office.
  6. You will be notified by mail within 90 days if your application has been approved or declined.

CCW Renewal

  • Information is different for each county

CA Concealed Carry License Fee information

Permit typeFees when getting a new permitRenewalCurrent license amendmentFingerprint scan feeFee for firearm classesAdditional state fees
Handgun safety certificate (required before purchase)$25.00$25.00$150 to $250There are also fees for fingerprint scans and firearm classes that can work out to $300 for a 2 year permit. The Licensing authority is allowed to charge an additional fee equal to the actual cost ($100) but it must not exceed $100.
License to carry concealed weapons (handguns)$70-$100 (varies by county)

The cost varies between counties. The legal limit is $100.
$44 (varies by county)$150 to $250There are also fees for fingerprint scans and firearm classes that can work out to $300 for a 2 year permit. The Licensing authority is allowed to charge an additional fee equal to the actual cost ($100) but it must not exceed $100.

Places Where You Can & Can’t Carry a Gun in California

State parksSchool grounds
State and national forestscolleges and universities
Road side rest areasChild care facility
VehicleCourthouse or Court room
All areas of the state not listed as ForbiddenPublic buildings or meetings
Social rehabilitation facility
Gun show or event if you have ammunition that fits firearm
State Capitol
any legislative office
State wildlife management areas
Polling station
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

California CCW Contact

California Bureau of Firearms


Monday – Friday:9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Address:California Bureau of Firearms4949 Broadway
City:Sacramento, CA 95820
Phone:(916) 227-7527

CCW Licensing Offices in California

Bureau of Firearms

Office Address
4949 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95820

(916) 227-7527

Show on Map

Alameda County Sheriff Office

Office Address
1401 Lakeside Drive, 12th Floor Oakland, CA 94612

(510) 272-6878

Show on Map

Alpine County Sheriff Office (Bear Valley Substation Location)

Office Address
88 Bear Valley Road P.O. Box 5103 Bear Valley, CA 95223

(530) 694-2231

Show on Map

Alpine County Sheriff Office (Markleeville Department Location)

Office Address
99 Water Street P.O. Box 278 Markleeville, CA 96120

(530) 694-2231

Show on Map

Amador County Sheriff Office

Office Address
700 Court Street Jackson, CA 95642

(209) 223-6500

Show on Map

Butte County Sheriff Office

Office Address
5 Gillick Way Oroville, CA 95965

(530) 538-7321

Show on Map

Calaveras County Sheriff Office

Office Address
1045 Jeff Tuttle Drive San Andreas, CA 95249

(209) 754-6500

Show on Map

Colusa County Sheriff Office

Office Address
929 Bridge Street Colusa, CA 95932

(530) 458-0200

Show on Map

Show More

Reference Links

Counties in California