A Brief Overview of California Gun Laws

In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, calls for tighter gun control have echoed across the country. While Nevada has generally permissive gun laws (they received an “F” from gun control advocacy groups), California gun laws are among the most restrictive in the United States.

You may be surprised to learn that California is the only state in the nation that explicitly restricts the sale of “bump stocks.” As you may know, the Las Vegas shooter attached bump stocks to his arsenal of semi-automatic rifles, which enables semi-automatic weapons to shoot rapid-fire, like a machine gun.

As the political landscape of gun control continues to evolve, it is certain that California will continue to lead the country in strict gun laws. As a future or current gun owner, navigating through these complex gun regulations can be tough. Here is a primer on the state’s gun laws.

Quick Summary of California Gun Laws

  • As a buyer, a permit is required for all guns, you cannot purchase more than one handgun within 30 days and there is a 10-day waiting period. You must be 18 or older to purchase a long gun and 21 or older to buy a handgun.
  • Concealed carry is allowed with a license and a required firearm safety course. A concealed carry license is valid for 2 years.
  • Open carry is generally prohibited, but a sheriff may issue an open carry license in counties with populations lower than 200,000, although it is rare.
  • Campus carry is banned for the most part. It is illegal to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school or on a college campus. AB 424, which recently passed, removed the allowance for a school district superintendent to give permission to someone to have a firearm on campus.
  • A dealer must have licenses from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.
  • While machine guns are prohibited, certain assault weapons are legal but need to be registered with the state. Certain devices like “bullet buttons,” which help rifle owners rapidly reload, are in current legal limbo.

The California gun laws are complex and difficult to navigate on your own. Contact our Temecula criminal defense lawyers at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich for any of your gun-related matters.

Call (951) 506-6654 or contact us online.

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