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  • Writer's pictureBlair Goss

Why Is Open Carry Illegal in California? - Goss Law

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states that it is the right of Americans to keep and bear arms to protect themselves and the country. However, that doesn't mean people can walk on the street holding a shotgun, at least in some states.


California law is strict as to where and when people can carry firearms. Moreover, open carry is illegal in the state. That means people aren't allowed to carry firearms visibly in public.


Many people wonder why open carry is illegal in California, as it's legal in other states such as Alabama, Delaware, or Georgia.


This page has the answer to that question. Readers will also learn more about California gun laws, which will help them stay away from trouble.


Anyone with other law-related questions or concerns can contact Goss Law whenever they want. This law firm works with experienced lawyers ready to answer their client's questions or take their cases.

The only thing people need to do to hire this law firm is to schedule a free consultation.


Is It Legal to Carry a Concealed Firearm in California?

Is It Legal to Carry a Concealed Firearm in California?


Since open carry is not legal in the state, it's illegal to carry a concealed firearm in California. That means police officers will charge anyone with a loaded firearm on the public street with a misdemeanor.


The only places where Californians can openly carry loaded or unloaded handguns are at home, in their business, or on any private property they own. If they are on another person's private property and the owner allows them to carry loaded firearms, they can do it.


Regardless of that, anyone openly carrying loaded firearms on private property still needs to have a Firearm Safety Certificate. That certificate ensures that the person owning a gun is capable of handling it without that representing a danger to other Americans.


The prohibition to open carry applies to both short and long guns. This is different from other states that allow the open carry of an exposed handgun, as long as the gun owner doesn't have any long firearm on them.


Regardless of that, owning guns is still an American right, which means there are a few exceptions to California open carry laws. These exceptions are similar to the ones in other states where open carry is illegal.


Why Is Open Carry Illegal?


Although there are no official statements by the U.S. government as to why California law prohibits open carry, there could be many reasons for that.


Open carry is a dangerous policy for many people. Even if they have a safety certificate, people never know how truly dangerous someone can be.


Anyone openly carrying short or long guns can shoot people on the street, either by mistake or design. Hence, it's understandable the California government prioritizes its citizens' safety over other things.

Whether people agree with the laws or not, they still need to follow them if they don't want to get in trouble with the law. Goss Law can answer questions like, "What is legal to carry for self defense in California?"


What About Unloaded Handguns?


The prohibition to open carry in California also applies to unloaded firearms, so people can't carry any firearms on the street, even if it's an unloaded handgun.


Criminals often use firearms - loaded or not - to intimidate civilians, so they are dangerous for other people, too.


Therefore, carrying an exposed and unloaded handgun is also a crime in California, and it could make gun owners face county jail time or pay a $1,000 fine.


Are There Any Exceptions Under California Law?


As it happens to most laws, there are some exceptions to the concealed carry prohibition in California.

While openly carrying an unloaded firearm is illegal, nothing happens if the gun owner keeps the gun in a locked container.


The logic behind that is others can't see the gun, as long as it's in the locked container, so it's not a threat to anyone.


It's worth noting that the sheriff of any California country with a population of 200,000 people or less can issue Carry Concealed Weapon licenses to the residents of the county. That license allows concealed carry of a loaded or unloaded gun in California.


However, that license only applies to the county where it was issued, so they can't carry their guns in other cities.


According to California's gun laws, citizens can also carry a loaded or unloaded long gun if they are helping a law enforcement agency or are acting in self-defense.


There is also an exception for hunting and gun clubs.


What Happens If a Police Officer Catches Someone with an Unloaded Handgun?

What Happens If a Police Officer Catches Someone with an Unloaded Handgun?


Carrying loaded or unloaded firearms is a misdemeanor punishable in the California Penal Code, so police officers can and will act accordingly when they catch anyone with a visible gun in public.


Law enforcement officers are entitled to check the gun, ask for the gun store where the person bought it, and other details about it.


Even if it's just a misdemeanor in the California Penal Code, being guilty of this crime can send people to jail for up to a year, so it's not something people can get away with as if it were nothing.


Needless to say, this rule doesn't apply to people with a Concealed Carry License, as long as they are in the state where they got the license.


Bottom Line


Federal law allows all Americans to keep and bear arms to protect themselves and their families, but that doesn't give people the right to go out of their houses and shoot anyone they want.


Owning guns is a huge responsibility, and not knowing how to control them can lead to several accidents. Everyone should know what gun laws are in their state to stay away from trouble.


Open carry is illegal and a crime in the California Penal Code, so no one can carry loaded or unloaded firearms in public.


Anyone who, for example, wants to go to the shooting range with their own gun needs to put it in a locked container where others can't see it.


If anyone has any questions about the open carry laws in California or any other state, they can call Goss Law. The lawyers working for this law firm are always willing to help others, so they will be more than happy to help people follow the state law. A Sacramento gun crime attorney can help navigate the system.


These attorneys can take personal injury and other kinds of cases too. Clients should call them to schedule a free case evaluation with them as soon as they can.

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