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California Gun Laws 2023 – CA Firearms Laws Explained

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The United States has a long history of gun ownership. Many Americans consider gun ownership to be a fundamental right. However, there has been increasing concern about violence, and some states have taken steps to enact stricter gun laws. California is one such state, with some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. These laws are designed to promote public safety and reduce gun violence. It is vital that gun owners in California be familiar with these laws. Complying with them can allow you to avoid legal trouble.

Background Checks

California requires background checks for all firearm purchases, no matter who conducts the sale. In addition to a criminal background check, the state also requires a mental health check. The background check process can take up to 10 days, which is longer than in most other states.

Assault Weapons Ban

California’s assault weapons ban prohibits the manufacture, sale, and transfer of certain types of firearms that are defined as assault weapons. These include semiautomatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns with specific features such as a detachable magazine, pistol grip, and telescoping stock. California also has a list of specific firearms that are prohibited under state law.

Large-Capacity Magazine Ban

California has a ban on the sale and possession of large-capacity magazines. These are defined as magazines with the capacity to hold 10 or more rounds of ammunition. This ban applies to both detachable and fixed magazines. There are some exceptions for law enforcement, military personnel, and individuals who owned these magazines before the ban went into effect.

Safe Storage Requirements

Under California law, gun owners must store their firearms in a safe or a locked container when not in use. The safe or container must be secure enough to prevent unauthorized access. This requirement applies to all firearms, including those kept at home, in a vehicle, or carried on a person. Failure to comply with safe storage requirements can result in criminal charges.

Age Requirements

In California, you must be at least 21 years old to legally purchase a handgun and at least 18 years old to legally purchase a long gun. In addition, individuals under the age of 18 are generally prohibited from possessing firearms. However, there are some exceptions for hunting, sporting events, and other specific purposes. Minors who violate these laws can face criminal charges.

Red Flag Law

California’s Red Flag Law is also known as the Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO). This allows family members, law enforcement, and other individuals to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from a person who may harm themselves or others. This law is intended to prevent gun violence involving people who are experiencing a mental health crisis or who are otherwise deemed a risk. The order can be issued for up to one year and can be renewed if necessary.

Penalties for Violating California Gun Laws

Violating California’s gun laws can result in serious penalties, including fines, jail time, and the loss of your right to possess firearms. For example, possessing an assault weapon or a large-capacity magazine can result in felony charges. Violating the safe storage requirements can result in misdemeanor charges. Understanding and complying with California’s gun laws is critical to avoiding legal trouble.


Q: Can I carry my gun in California now?

A: Yes, you can legally carry a firearm in California if you have a valid concealed weapons permit. You may also do so if you are engaging in certain specified activities, such as hunting or target shooting. However, note that California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. You must comply with these laws to avoid legal trouble. For example, you must store your firearm securely when it is not in use. You also cannot carry a firearm in certain locations, such as schools and government buildings.

Q: What is SB 2 California 2023?

A: SB 2 California 2023 is a law that requires the California Department of Justice to develop a centralized database of firearms in the state. The law is designed to help law enforcement track firearms that are lost, stolen, or used in crimes. Beginning in 2024, licensed firearms dealers will be required to report sales and transfers of firearms to the database. The law is part of California’s broader efforts to reduce gun violence and promote public safety.

Q: What’s the gun law in California?

A: California has some of the least forgiving gun laws in the United States. These laws include:

  • Requirements for background checks on all firearm purchases
  • Bans on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines
  • Age restrictions for firearm purchases
  • Safe storage requirements

California also has a “Red Flag Law” that empowers family members, law enforcement, and other individuals to take preventive action. It allows them to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from a person who is a danger to themselves or others. Violating California’s gun laws can result in serious penalties, including fines, jail time, and losing your right to possess firearms.

Q: What should I do if I’m stopped by police while carrying a gun?

A: If you are stopped by police while carrying a firearm, it is recommended that you remain calm and comply with the officer’s instructions. It is also helpful to be aware of your rights and be prepared to answer any questions the officer may have about the firearm. If the officer does not ask about the firearm, you should inform them that you are carrying it and follow their instructions. It is also a good idea to check with local law enforcement before carrying a firearm in public. This can ensure that you comply with all applicable laws.

Contact Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, Today

If you have been charged with a gun-related crime, or are facing any other legal issue in California, the experienced attorneys at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, can help. Our lawyers are dedicated to protecting your rights and fighting for a favorable outcome in your case. We have carefully studied California’s gun laws. Our firm can provide you with the aggressive representation you need to ensure your freedom and rights are defended. Contact us today for a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

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