Overview Of California Gun Laws

Overview of California Firearm Laws*

 Illegal Gun Possession, Gun Trafficking and Gun Crimes

  • Background checks are required for all gun sales/transfers, including private party
  • People buying firearms must wait ten days before taking
  • The California Department of Justice (CalDOJ) maintains records of gun
  • It is illegal to sell or transfer to persons under age 21 any type of firearm, with certain exceptions, for example transfers among family
  • Ammunition sellers must register and obtain a license. After July 1, 2019, they will conduct background checks on ammunition buyers and transmit information on the sales to
  • Persons with certain mental health determinations, felons, and persons guilty of certain violent misdemeanors are prohibited from purchasing or possessing
  • People convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms for ten
  • Law enforcement must provide CalDOJ with data for tracing illegal or crime
  • Gun shows are regulated. For example, background checks and waiting periods are required for all firearm sales. CalDOJ monitors the compliance of gun shows and
  • Handgun purchases are limited to one per 30-day period in order to reduce gun
  • CalDOJ checks to see if “prohibited persons,” such as those who have become felons, previously purchased a handgun. Guns illegally owned can be
  • Local law enforcement has discretion in issuing permits to carry concealed
  • Law enforcement or immediate family members can seek a court order to temporarily prohibit a person who is a risk to him/herself or others from buying or possessing a firearm. (https://speakforsafety.org/)
  • Persons who self-manufacture or assemble a firearm must apply to CalDOJ for a unique serial number that must be permanently engraved or affixed on the firearm, and they must pass a background


Domestic Violence and Firearms

  • Persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence involving assault are prohibited for life from possessing
  • Police may temporarily seize guns at the scene of domestic violence
  • Courts may prohibit firearms possession due to domestic violence, harassment or

Unsafe Firearms

  • Handguns sold must pass a state safety test. CalDOJ maintains a roster of approved
  • New pistol models must have chamber load indicators and magazine disconnect
  • Purchase or transfer of rifles with military-style features that do not have fixed magazines is prohibited. Grandfathered assault weapons are strictly regulated and owners of “bullet button” guns must register them with
  • Possession of large capacity magazines is


Gun Manufacturers and Dealers

  • Gun manufacturers must have a state license, tight security on premises and must conduct background checks on
  • All gun sales must go through a federally licensed firearms dealer who conducts a background check on the
  • Gun dealers and manufacturers who sell/ship firearms must check the receiver’s federal and state firearms license with CalDOJ to prevent illegal transfers from out of
  • Gun dealers must post warnings about the risks of firearms and information about state gun laws. The information must be affixed to firearms packaging. Safety Certificate test takers must acknowledge their obligation to sell/transfer firearms through a
  • It is illegal to sell ammunition to persons prohibited from possessing


Children, Families, and Public Safety

  • Gun buyers must first pass a written safety test, obtain a firearm safety certificate, and perform a safe handling demonstration. Proof of residency and thumbprint are
  • Firearm owners can be held criminally liable for leaving a firearm where a child could gain access, regardless of whether the child gets the gun or causes harm with
  • All firearms sold by dealers must include CalDOJ-approved locking devices designed to prevent children and unauthorized users from firing

See the Full report ……

Data compiled and summarized by Griffin Dix, Ph.D. (Oakland/Alameda County Brady Campaign Chapter) and Loren Lieb,

M.P.H. (San Fernando Valley Brady Campaign Chapter), 12/26/18, final rev. 2/18/19