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Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Guns in Vehicles in California.’ Guns in Public. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 28 July

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[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]

Guns in Vehicles in California

Unloaded long guns: California does not prohibit carrying an unloaded rifle or shotgun in a motor vehicle. California law does not even require unloaded long guns to be in a locked container when they are in a motor vehicle.

Concealed handguns: California prohibits a person from carrying a concealed handgun in a motor vehicle, unless the handgun is in a locked container, or the person has been issued a concealed weapons license. A "locked container" is a secure container which is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device. A locked container includes the trunk of a motor vehicle, but not the utility or glove compartment.

Loaded firearms: California prohibits carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle in most locations. This prohibition is subject to certain exceptions, including an exception for concealed weapons licensees…

Unloaded and exposed handguns: A 2011 California law prohibits any person from carrying an exposed and unloaded handgun in or on a motor vehicle on a public street, if the street is in an incorporated city or city and county, or if it is unlawful to discharge a weapon there. It is also unlawful for a driver or owner of a motor vehicle to knowingly permit another person to carry into or bring into the vehicle a firearm in violation of this prohibition.

Public transit: Under a law that California enacted in 2010, it is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess any 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. A public transit system includes the vehicles used in the system, including, but not limited to, motor vehicles, streetcars, trackless trolleys, buses, light rail systems, rapid transit systems, subways, trains, or jitneys, that transport members of the public for hire. "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 individuals licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

ID: Q7869

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