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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 Purchase No Partial
Open Carry Partial Partial
Concealed Carry Yes Yes
State Preemption of Local Restrictions Yes Yes
Firearm Registration No Yes
Owner License No No

The Concealed Carry Permit

(often encompasses the open carry permit)

Official Concealed Carry page for California.

California Concealed Carry Reciprocity

California Magazine Capacity

10 rounds

California Ghost Gun law

The Ghost gun law in California states the following:

California Imitation Firearms

What is classified as an Imitation Firearm in California?

The following is a list of imitation firearms in California:

Does California have a gun buy back program?

California has a gun buy back program, but it is not ran by the state.

State established grant program to fund gun buybacks in local communities in 2022

Does California have an inheritance gun law?

Yes, California has an inheritance gun law.

California FAQ

State Source