This is a summary of California concealed carry and firearm laws. We break them down into a question and answer format to make it easier to understand for those of us that aren’t lawyers.
California Concealed Carry
States That Honor California Concealed Carry Permits
To go to another state’s concealed carry page, click on the state in the map above. To view reciprocity for all states, visit our interactive Concealed Carry Maps.
California Concealed Carry License Example
California Concealed Carry License Information
Does California issue concealed carry permits?
California is a May Issue State and currently issues licenses to carry concealed firearms to residents of California.
“When a person applies for a license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, the sheriff of a county may issue a license to that person.”
California does not issues licenses or permits to carry concealed to non-residents.
Who issues California Concealed Carry License?
“Licenses to Carry Concealed Pistol, Revolver or Other Firearm within the State of California” are issued by the sheriff of a county or the chief or other head of a municipal police department. We will refer to them as California Concealed Carry Licenses.
Are background checks required for a California Concealed Carry License?
Yes, the licensing authority should collect fingerprints when submitting an application and submit them to the California Department of Justice which initiates the background check.
Does having a California Concealed Carry License exempt you from the background check when purchasing a firearm Texas?
No, having California Concealed Carry License does not exempt you from the background check required when purchasing a firearm in California. The one exception is a California Entertainment Firearms Permit, but that doesn’t apply here.
How long is a California Concealed Carry License valid for?
A California Concealed Carry License is valid for up to two years from the date of the license.
What is the processing time for a California Concealed Carry License?
The processing time for a California Concealed Carry License is within 90 days of the initial application or 30 days after they receive the background check from the Department of Justice, whichever is later.
It has been reported that some licensing authorities don’t take fingerprints when submitting an application which delays the process since they need this to start the background check but this is unlawful.
How much does a California Concealed Carry License cost?
The cost for a California Concealed Carry License can cost anywhere from $200 to $300. There is a $44 state fee, and the licensing authority will charge a fee of up to $100 (20% collected upfront and 80% collected upon issuance). You will also need to pay for your classes, fingerprints (Live Scan), and other reported fees.
Licensing authorities can also require psychological testing and the fees for this cannot exceed $150.
What are the requirements for a California Concealed Carry License?
The licensing authority may issue a California License to Carry upon proof of the following:
- The applicant is of good moral character.
- Good cause exists for the issuance of the license.
- The applicant is a resident of the county or a city within the county, or the applicant’s principal place of employment or business is in the county or a city within the county and the applicant spends a substantial period of time in that place of employment or business.
- The applicant has completed a course of training as described in Section 26165.
What are the training requirements for obtaining a California Concealed Carry License?
For new license applicants, the course of training for the issuance of a license under Section 26150 or 26155 may be any course acceptable to the licensing authority, shall not exceed 16 hours, and shall include instruction on at least firearm safety and the law regarding the permissible use of a firearm.
The licensing authority may require a community college course certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, up to a maximum of 24 hours, but only if required uniformly of all license applicants without exception.
For license renewal applicants, the course of training may be any course acceptable to the licensing authority, shall be no less than four hours, and shall include instruction on at least firearm safety and the law regarding the permissible use of a firearm. No course of training shall be required for any person certified by the licensing authority as a trainer for purposes of this section for that person to renew a license issued pursuant to this article.
The applicant shall not be required to pay for any training courses before determining a good cause is made according to Section 26202.
Does military training exempt you from the training requirements to get a California Concealed Carry License?
Military training does not exempt you from the training requirements when applying for a California Concealed Carry License.
Which counties in California issue Concealed Carry Licenses?
We found a website that has compiled data to rate counties in California by how difficult it is to obtain a Concealed Carry License. To view the list visit Baggss.us.
Where can I find a firearm instructor that offers the required training for a California Concealed Carry License?
Once your California License to Carry application is approved, the licensing authority should contact you to give you information on taking their approved course. USA Carry also has a list of California Firearm Instructors, but you will still need to go to one approved by the licensing authority.
How do I renew my California Concealed Carry License and what is the cost?
Renewing your California Concealed Carry License with the same licensing authority that issued your original license is similar except you should not need to get fingerprinted again and there is a reduced fee that cannot exceed $25 instead of $100.
How do you change a name or address on a California Concealed Carry License?
We recommend contacting licensing authority that issued your California Concealed Carry License to find out their process of changing your name on your license.
If you change your address, you must contact the licensing authority that issued your California Concealed Carry License in writing within ten days. If you move out of the county that issued your license, it will expire in 90 days, and you will need to apply for a new license in the county of your new residence.
What do you do if your California Concealed Carry License is lost, stolen or damaged?
We recommend contacting the licensing authority that issued your California Concealed Carry License as soon as possible if your license has been lost, stolen, or damaged. We cannot find any law or information on the exact procedure to follow when your license is lost, stolen, or damaged.
If I get arrested or convicted, do I have to notify the California Department of Justice about the arrest or conviction?
We cannot find anything in the law that states that you must notify the licensing authority that issued your California Concealed Carry License if you get arrested or convicted of a crime.
Do you have to notify the Sheriff that issued your California Concealed Carry License if you get arrested or convicted of a crime?
We cannot find anything in the law that states that you must notify the licensing authority that issued your California License to Carry if you get arrested or convicted of a crime.
If I move my permanent residence to another state, is my California Concealed Carry License still valid?
If you move out of the county that issued your California Concealed Carry License, it will expire in 90 days. You will need to apply for a new license in the state of your new residence.
Can I transfer another state’s concealed carry permit or license to California?
No. You cannot transfer a permit or license from another state to California. You must apply for a new California Concealed Carry License.
Does California accept any other state's concealed carry permits or licenses?
No, California does not recognize any other state’s permits or licenses or have any reciprocity agreements with any other states.
To see the most up-to-date reciprocity information, please view our concealed carry reciprocity maps.
Do any other states recognize California Concealed Carry Licenses?
Yes, 24 recognize and honor your California License to Carry.
To see the most up-to-date reciprocity information, please view our concealed carry reciprocity maps.
When carrying in another state, you must obey the laws concerning concealed carry of that state.
Do I need to inform Law Enforcement that I am carrying a concealed weapon?
No California law states that you have a duty to inform Law Enforcement that you are carrying a concealed weapon but it has been reported that some issuing authorities are the requirement of informing Law Enforcement that you are carrying concealed. If you have this requirement from your issuing authority, then you do have a duty to inform.
Does California issue California Concealed Carry License to resident aliens with a green card?
Yes, you are not required to be a citizen to get a California Concealed Carry License, and we have found numerous reports of people with green cards that were able to obtain a license.
What are the laws for carrying a firearm in an automobile in California?
If you do not have a California License to Carry, handguns must be stored unloaded in the trunk, vehicle storage compartment, or a locked gun case. Long guns must be unloaded.
What places are off-limits when carrying a concealed weapon in California?
The following places are off-limits while carrying concealed in California:
- At a gun show or event unless you are security personnel or sworn peace officer. You cannot possess a firearm or ammo designed to be fired from that firearm at the same time (vendors exempt).
- 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.
- At or in the vicinity of a polling place
- While engaged in picketing or other informational activities in a public place relating to a concerted refusal to work
- Any public place or street while masked
- Establishments where the primary purpose is dispensing alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption
- All Public and Private K-12 Schools and College University Campuses
- Any county property in San Francisco
- Issuing authorities can include any reasonable restrictions or conditions to your California License to Carry
Does California have a Stand Your Ground Law AKA Castle Doctrine Law?
California is a state with castle law.
“Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.”
What are the laws involving alcohol and carrying a concealed weapon in California?
You cannot consume any alcoholic beverage or be in a place having a primary purpose of dispensing alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption while carrying concealed in California. You also cannot be under the influence of any medication or drug, whether prescribed or not, while carrying concealed in California.
USA Carry always recommends never to carry a firearm while drinking alcohol or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Does California have laws for No Gun signs?
No. “No Guns or Firearms” signs do not have the force of law in California unless it is a place that is already off-limits to carry, as stated in the California State Law. But if the owner or management asks you to leave, you must comply, or you can be arrested for trespassing.
Does my military training exempt me from the eight-hour training course for a California Concealed Carry License?
Yes, you can be exempt from the training requirements for a Texas Concealed Handgun License if you are currently servicing in or are honorably discharged from the:
- Air Force
- Coast Guard
- Marine Corps of the United States
- Auxiliary Service or a reserve unit of one of the branches listed above.
- Texas military forces
Are you allowed to carry concealed in California State Parks, State & National Forests, Wildlife Management Areas, and/or Roadside Rest Areas?
- State Parks: Yes
- State Forests: Yes
- National Forests: Yes
- WMA’s: No
- Road Side Rest Areas: Yes
What are the California Open Carry Laws
Please visit our California Open Carry page for more information.
Go To Another State's Concealed Carry Page
To view a state’s concealed carry permit information click on the state below. The state’s color represents whether a state is Shall Issue, May Issue, Constitutional Carry, or Right Denied (We explain each state’s status here).
Shall Issue to Residents Only:
Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Guam, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Wyoming
Shall Issue to Residents and Non-Residents:
Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
Constitutional Carry and Does Not Issue Permits:
We try to keep the information on this page as up-to-date as possible, but it is your responsibility to verify all information due to changing laws. The information on this page is for informational purposes only and not to provide legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice concerning any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Website, emails, or any links within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between i156 LLC and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the views of i156 LLC.