A Quick Guide to California Gun Laws

A Quick Guide to California Gun Laws

California gun laws are among the most restrictive in the country. As of 2012, the state is one of three where citizens do not have the right to openly carry a firearm, regardless of whether or not they have a permit. Because of the state’s stringent gun control policies, it’s especially important for owners to know their rights. The following guide offers a brief overview of California’s concealed carry laws.



Citizens must be at least 21 years old to purchase a gun in the state of California. All firearms sales, including private transactions at a gun shop or show, must go through a California licensed firearms dealer.

Open Carry

With the exception of some rural counties, open carry is illegal in the state of California, even for those with permits.

Restaurant Carry 

If a restaurant posts a “No Guns” sign, it’s best to check with the manager about the specifics of the business’ policy. Some will not serve alcohol to citizens carrying a concealed weapon. However, unless the California issuing authority has placed a “no bars” restriction on an owner’s permit, that person is allowed to eat at the restaurant without penalty. 

State Park Carry

Carrying a firearm in a wildlife management area is illegal, as is taking one inside state park buildings. However, it’s perfectly legal to carry a concealed gun outdoors in a state park.

Vehicle Carry

Residents of California who have a concealed carry permit may transport a loaded gun in a vehicle so long as they store it in the glove compartment, under the passenger’s seat or inside of a locked box. When transporting a firearm to and from a vehicle, citizens must carry it inside a locked box.

Must Notify Officer

While California laws do not mandate that citizens carrying concealed firearms must inform an officer, they must keep a permit and ID on their person at all times. Some counties do require that anyone with a concealed firearm who is stopped by an officer reveal that they are in possession of a gun.

No Weapons Signs 

Even if a business or private property posts “No Weapons” signs, it is still legal to enter with a concealed weapon. Unless posted in areas which the law specifically designates as off-limits, such signs have no force of law. While it’s not illegal, it’s also not recommended to enter buildings where such signs are posted.

While California imposes strict gun control laws, firearm owners still enjoy many rights, including the freedom to hunt in designated areas and practice at indoor and outdoor gun ranges. As laws sometimes change, gun enthusiasts should stay informed to ensure their protection. The experts at River City Gun Exchange will gladly provide the best resources to our customers interested in purchasing a firearm in the Sacramento area. For more information, call 916-428-0377 or view our FAQ page online.