Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Location Restrictions in California.’ Guns in Public. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2 March
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]
Other Location Restrictions in California
A U.S. citizen or legal resident over age 18 may carry a handgun upon the person anywhere within his or her place of residence, place of business, or on private property owned or lawfully possessed by the citizen or legal resident. A permit or license is not required for a person to carry within these locations.
California law prohibits any person from carrying a loaded firearm (open or concealed) on his or her person or in a motor vehicle in the following locations:
- On any public street in an incorporated city, or
- In any public place or on any public street in unincorporated territory if it is unlawful to discharge a weapon in that place or on that street.
This prohibition is subject to certain exceptions, including those for:
- A concealed weapons licensee who is carrying a loaded handgun;
- A person who has been granted a license to carry a loaded and exposed handgun if he or she is in the county that granted the license…; or
- A person who reasonably believes that his or her person or property or the person or property of another is in immediate, grave danger and that the carrying of the weapon is necessary for the preservation of that person or property.
A firearm is considered "loaded" in this context if it has a cartridge or shell in a chamber, clip or magazines that is in or attached to the firearm.
A 2011 California law prohibits any person from carrying an exposed and unloaded handgun in a public place, if the place is in an incorporated city or city and county, or if it is unlawful to discharge a weapon there…
The state prohibits any person, even a concealed weapons licensee, from carrying a concealed handgun or a loaded firearm, upon his or her person or within any vehicle, while engaged in picketing or other informational activities in a public place relating to a concerted refusal to work.
California generally prohibits carrying or possession of a firearm in the following locations, although concealed weapons licensees are exempt from these prohibitions:
- In any state or local public building or at any public meeting.
- In the California State Parks system.
Under a law that California enacted in 2010, it is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess a firearm within the sterile area of a public transit facility, if the sterile area is posted with a statement providing reasonable notice of the prohibition. "Sterile area" means any portion of a public transit facility that is generally controlled in a manner consistent with the public transit authority's security plan. This prohibition does not apply to persons licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
California also generally prohibits carrying or possession of a firearm in the following locations:
- In the State Capitol, any legislative office, any office of the Governor or other constitutional officer, or any hearing room in which any committee of the Senate or Assembly is conducting a hearing, or upon the grounds of the State Capitol, which is bounded by 10th, L, 15th, and N Streets in the City of Sacramento, if the firearm is loaded, or the area is posted with a statement providing reasonable notice that prosecution may result from possession of a firearm.
- In any office of the Governor or other constitutional officer, if the firearm is loaded.
- In or on the grounds of the Governor's Mansion or any other residence of the Governor, the residence of any other constitutional officer, or the residence of any Member of the Legislature, if the firearm is loaded.
California also prohibits any person, including a concealed weapons licensee, from possessing a firearm at a polling place,or in the buildings or on the grounds of the "Cal Expo" center in Sacramento.
California administrative regulations may require additional locations to be firearms-free.
Finally, a concealed carry license may include any reasonable restrictions or conditions which the issuing authority deems warranted, including restrictions as to the place where the person may carry a firearm.