California Gun Laws 2024 – Firearms & Handgun Laws

Gibbons & Gibbons a law Corporations

DisclaimerThank you for visiting our blog. Please note that Gibbons & Gibbons is a criminal defense law firm based in Los Angeles, California. While we provide valuable information on California gun laws, we do not assist with obtaining licenses to carry firearms. Our expertise lies in criminal defense representation. If you require assistance in matters related to criminal charges, legal defense, or your rights, we are here to help. For inquiries regarding firearm licenses, we recommend consulting with a qualified firearms licensing professional.

Guns and firearms are controversial. However, regardless of your personal opinions, it is important to be informed about the current laws and regulations surrounding these weapons. This information can help keep you safe and ensure that you do not inadvertently break any laws.

Gun laws are constantly changing, and California has new rules and regulations for 2023.

Buying a Gun in California

California’s laws are unique in many ways. One of them is that there are different age restrictions depending on the firearm that you buy. Those who wish to buy a rifle or shotgun must be at least 18 years old to do so. Individuals who wish to buy handguns must be at least 21 years old. If a parent gives consent, a child under 18 may own a BB gun.

Regardless of age, everyone who purchases a gun of any kind must pass a background check. The state refers to this as the “Dealer’s Record of Sale,” or DROS. The state of California also requires that all firearm owners have a valid Firearm Safety Certificate, which requires a written test. This test is taken through the California Department of Justice.

Certain people are not permitted to purchase or possess firearms of any kind. In California, these groups generally are not permitted to have guns:

  • Convicted felons
  • People who are addicted to narcotics
  • Individuals with two or more convictions for brandishing a weapon
  • Those who have been convicted of certain misdemeanors, including some domestic violence charges
  • Those who suffer from mental illnesses

If you are not legally permitted to own a gun for any reason, it is also illegal for you to purchase ammunition.

Carrying a Gun in California

After you legally acquire a firearm, it is important to be careful about how you carry it, as there are restrictions for this as well. In most situations, it is illegal to openly carry a gun, regardless of how you obtained it. This applies to weapons that are loaded and unloaded alike.

You also cannot carry a concealed weapon or firearm without a concealed carry permit from the state. If you get the permit, you will also learn the proper way to carry your weapon to adhere to concealed carry laws.

If you carry your gun in a locked container, you may bring it from one place to another.

Location Restrictions

Even if you legally purchase your firearm and follow all concealed carry laws, there are certain places where you may never bring your firearm. These places include:

  • Schools
  • Government buildings or property, including the Governor’s mansion
  • Passenger terminals and airports
  • Public transportation facilities
  • Public buildings
  • Meetings that are open to the public

When you purchase a gun, it is extremely important to understand where you may not bring your firearm. If you violate the law, it may prevent you from being permitted to own firearms indefinitely.

If you can legally own a gun, you may legally keep the gun in your home.

Red Flag Law

California has a red flag law that helps keep firearms away from dangerous individuals who would pass a standard background check.

Under the red flag law, close relatives may file a restraining order against a firearm owner who they believe to be potentially dangerous. Those who may file a restraining order include:

  • Family member
  • Coworker
  • Roommate
  • Neighbor
  • Teacher

It is entirely possible for a dangerous individual to appear safe on paper and pass the state’s standard background check. The red flag law helps to mitigate the damage that these people can do.

FAQs About California Gun Laws

Can You Legally Carry a Gun in California Now?

Yes, there are many ways to legally carry a gun in California. However, you must meet certain requirements that the state has in place. People with certain medical conditions, criminal histories, or those who are under the age of 18 are not permitted to carry a gun under any circumstances. You may not openly carry the gun, but to conceal carry, you must have a permit. You may carry a gun, but you must follow the safety protocol.

Can You Own a Gun in California Without a CCW?

Yes, you can technically own a gun in California without having a concealed carry permit. However, you may not legally bring your gun off your property without it. Carrying a gun out in the open is illegal in all scenarios. Concealed carry is the only option for bringing your gun off your property. If you do participate in concealed carry, you must have a permit. Otherwise, you can be heavily penalized or lose your gun privileges.

Are High-Capacity Magazines Legal in California in 2023?

Technically, high-capacity magazines are legal in California. However, as of January 2023, the restrictions on them have tightened, so legal ownership is rare. The new law states that no one may manufacture, import, lend, buy, keep for sale, offer, or expose for sale, give, or receive a large capacity magazine. This makes it nearly impossible to legally own one, so for all intents and purposes, they are illegal.

What Are the Rules for California-Compliant Handguns?

Handguns must be safety-approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ) before they can be sold in California. This is true for all handguns, regardless of where they were manufactured, purchased, or obtained. Any handgun that is within the limits of California state lines must pass the DOJ safety tests without exception. You must be 21 years of age or older to have a handgun in California.

Contact Gibbons & Gibbons Today

California’s firearm laws are some of the most thorough in the nation. Because of this, it is easy to make a mistake that can result in a legal case. If you are accused of any type of firearm crime, you need a criminal defense attorney to fight your case.

Our team at Gibbons & Gibbons has over 60 years of combined experience in this area. We are confident that our experience can provide a foundation for your defense claim.

For more information, please contact Gibbons & Gibbons.