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California Gun Laws - An Overview



Assault Weapons Ban: California has a ban on the sale, transfer, and possession of assault weapons. Many people disagree with how an Assault Weapon is defined and believe the definition is overly broad.

Background Checks: Background checks are required for all gun sales, including private transactions. Purchases from licensed dealers involve a 10-day waiting period. The background checks make purchasing a handgun tedious. The 30 day rule bars more than one gun purchase every 30 days.

Handgun Roster: Only handguns that meet certain safety standards and are listed on the California Roster of Handguns may be sold or transferred in the state. Try buying a Sig Sauer P365, you might find one online ... or not. It has created a major purchasing bottleneck.

Ammunition Sales: Ammunition sales are subject to background checks, and buyers must obtain a permit to purchase ammunition. There are restrictions on the online purchase of ammunition.

Concealed Carry Permits: California is a "may issue" state for concealed carry permits, meaning local authorities have discretion in issuing permits.

Open Carry: Open carry of unloaded handguns is generally prohibited in California. This is a bit strange since an open carry weapon is much less of a threat than a hidden weapon if you are concerned of the improper use of the weapon.

Gun-Free School Zones: Possession of firearms is generally prohibited within 1,000 feet of a school or on school grounds, with some exceptions.

Magazine Capacity Limits: The sale, import, or transfer of large-capacity magazines is restricted. Possession of such magazines acquired before the ban is subject to certain limitations. The “10 limit” does not apply to larger capacity magazines already owned - but if you are arrested how do you prove when you came to possess the larger capacity magazine?

Prohibited Persons: Certain individuals, such as convicted felons, individuals with restraining orders, and those with certain mental health issues, are prohibited from owning firearms.

Safe Storage Requirements: Firearms must be stored in a locked container or with a locking device to prevent unauthorized access. Gun control advocates are attempting to create local laws that impose additional restrictions on gun ownership.

Here are the statutes that apply to these categories

  1. Assault Weapons Ban:                                 Penal Code section 30510-30530

  2. Background Checks:

    • Penal Code section 28220-28225
  3. Handgun Roster:

    • Penal Code section 32000-32110
  4. Ammunition Sales:

    • Penal Code section 30300-30303
  5. Concealed Carry Permits:

    • Penal Code section 26150-26225
  6. Open Carry:

    • Penal Code section 26350-26388
  7. Gun-Free School Zones:

    • Penal Code section 626.9
  8. Magazine Capacity Limits:

    • Penal Code section 32310-32390
  9. Prohibited Persons:

    • Penal Code section 29800-29875
  10. Safe Storage Requirements:

    • Penal Code section 25100-25140