Criminal Defense

Firearms Rights in California: What You Need to Know

As a firearm owner in California, it's important to understand your rights and responsibilities under state law. Here's an overview of the key laws and regulations that affect firearms ownership in California.

Gun Permits

In California, you must have a permit to carry a concealed firearm in public. The permit process involves completing a training course, passing a background check, and demonstrating "good cause" for carrying a concealed weapon. The requirements for obtaining a permit vary by county, so it's important to check with your local law enforcement agency.

Assault Weapons

California has strict regulations on "assault weapons," which are defined as firearms with certain features such as detachable magazines, pistol grips, and flash suppressors. If you own an assault weapon that was legally acquired before the state's assault weapons ban in 1989, you may be able to register it with the California Department of Justice. However, if you own an assault weapon that was acquired after the ban, it is illegal to possess it in California.

Background Checks

All firearms sales in California, including private sales, must go through a licensed dealer who is required to conduct a background check on the buyer. The background check includes a review of criminal records and a mental health check. If the buyer has a criminal record or has been diagnosed with certain mental health conditions, they may be prohibited from purchasing a firearm.

Storage and Transportation

California law requires that firearms be stored in a locked container or equipped with a locking device when not in use. Additionally, if you transport a firearm in a vehicle, it must be unloaded and in a locked container or locked trunk. Violating these storage and transportation requirements can result in criminal charges.

Firearm Prohibitions

California law prohibits certain individuals from owning firearms, including those convicted of certain crimes, those with restraining orders, and those who have been committed to a mental institution. Additionally, federal law prohibits firearm ownership for anyone convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, as well as for those who are in the country illegally.


California has strict penalties for violating firearms laws, including fines and imprisonment. If you are facing criminal charges related to firearms ownership, it's important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can help defend your rights.

Contact Us

At the Law Office of Mark W. Coleman, we understand the importance of protecting your firearms rights. If you have questions about firearms ownership in California, or if you are facing criminal charges related to firearms, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Mark Coleman can provide the guidance and representation you need to protect your rights and defend your freedom.

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