Carrying concealed firearm in California is a misdemeanor or felony offense.[i] A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm if s/he carries or causes to be carried concealed upon his or her person or within any vehicle which is under his or her control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. Firearms carried openly in belt holsters are not concealed within the meaning of this section.
”Lawful possession of the firearm” means that “the person who has possession or custody of the firearm either lawfully owns the firearm or has the permission of the lawful owner or a person who otherwise has apparent authority to possess or have custody of the firearm.”[ii] However, a person who takes a firearm without the permission of the lawful owner or custodian of the firearm does not have lawful possession of the firearm. However, violation of this provision is justifiable when a person who possesses a firearm reasonably believes that he or she is in grave danger.[iii] This section may not apply when the circumstances involve a mutual restraining order issued pursuant to Division 10 of the Family Code absent a factual finding of a specific threat to the person’s life or safety.
California law permits people to carry firearms either openly or concealed without license at place of residence, business, or lawfully possessed private property.[iv] As such, no permit is required to any U.S. citizen or legal resident over the age of 18 years who resides or is temporarily within the state of California, and who is not a convicted felon or other convict who carries, either openly or concealed, anywhere within the citizen’s or legal resident’s place of residence, place of business, or on private property any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person. However, this exception applies only to carrying firearms in one’s private property and a person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory[v].
Police Chiefs and County Sheriffs are the issuing authority for license to carry firearms. A license to carry concealed firearm will be issued upon proof of good moral character and good cause. The applicant must be a resident of the county or city to which they are applying or the applicant’s place of employment is within the city or county. The applicant must also complete a course of training (16-24 hours) prior to applying for a permit.
As part of the right to carry firearms on the basis of reciprocity and recognition, a permit issued by the state of California is recognized by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. California recognizes permits issued by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
[i] Cal Pen Code § 12025
[ii] Cal Pen Code § 12025
[iii] Cal Pen Code § 12025.5
[iv] Cal Pen Code § 12026
[v] Cal Pen Code § 12031