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California Concealed Carry
Seeking to obtain a 'Carry a Concealed Weapons' (CCW) permit in California? Our attorneys explain who qualifies and how the application process works.
How to Get a Concealed Weapons Permit (CCW) in California
How to get a CCW in California (Former D.A. explains)
A concealed weapons permit (or CCW) is the only means by which ordinary citizens may legally carry firearms in public in California. Absent a CCW, it is a crime to carry either a loaded or an unloaded firearm in public, regardless of whether the weapon is concealed or openly carried.
State law allows for a person to be issued a concealed carry permit if:
You are of good moral character;Good cause exists for issuance of the license because you or a member of your family is in immediate danger;
You meet certain residency requirements; and
You have completed an acceptable course of firearms training.
Under the recently enacted AB 2103, the training course must be
a minimum of 8 hours and
include live-fire shooting exercises where the person demonstrates an ability to handle and shoot the gun safely.
Below, our California criminal defense attorneys1 address the following as to how to get a concealed carry permit in California:
1. How does a CCW work in California?
2. How can I get a CCW?
2.1. Requirements under Penal Code 26150 and 26155 PC
2.2. “Good cause” for obtaining a CCW permit and the Peruta case
2.3. The scope of the sheriff’s / police chief’s discretion
2.4. People restricted from obtaining a California
3. What is the application process?
4. Restrictions under a California firearms carry permit
4.1. Restrictions under a California firearms carry permit
4.2. Restrictions and conditions specific to individuals
Permits to publicly carry a firearm may be issued by:
The sheriff of a county, pursuant to Penal Code 26150, or
The chief or other head of a municipal police department, pursuant to Penal Code 26155.Penal Code 26150 and 26155 replaced former California Penal Code 12050, effective January 1, 2012. Penal Code 12050 was popularly known as California’s law against “carrying a concealed weapon”… “CCW” for short.
Technically, Penal Code 26150 and 26155 don’t actually license the carrying of concealed firearms. They cover permits to carry firearms “capable of being concealed on the person.” In other words, they deal with permits to carry handguns in public… either openly or concealed.
However, this law is still often referred to as the right to carry a “concealed firearm” or “concealed weapon.” Accordingly, in this article, we will sometimes use these terms… as well as “CCW”… simply to mean carrying a handgun in public.Are California’s CCW permit laws unconstitutional?
There was recently some doubt about the constitutionality of California concealed carry laws. In 2014, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had held—in a case called Peruta v. San Diego County—that the“good cause” requirement violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
But in June 2016, the 9th Circuit, sitting “en banc” with all judges present, overturned its earlier holding in Peruta. The full court held that in fact, the Second Amendment does not apply to concealed firearms--and thus that there are no constitutional rights implicated by California’s “good cause” requirement for concealed weapons permits.
And recently the United States Supreme Court refused to consider a challenge to California’s concealed carry law in Peruta v. California. So law-abiding gun owners still need to obtain a CCW in order to carry a concealed weapon.
“We” are Shouse Law Group. Our lawyers include former prosecutors and cops. And we understand California gun laws and California knife laws.
1. How does a CCW work in California?
A California concealed firearms permit allows you legally to carry “a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed on the person.”2
A valid license to carry a concealed firearm prevents you from being convicted of:
Penal Code 25400 PC, California’s law against carrying a concealed firearm,3
Penal Code 25850 PC, California’s law against carrying a loaded firearm in public,4 and
Penal Code 26350 PC, California’s law against openly carrying an unloaded firearm in public.5
As of January 1, 2012, California has no open-carry law. It is now illegal in California to carry either a loaded or unloaded weapon in public without a carry permit except:
when your pistol, revolver, or other firearm is in:
the trunk of the car, or
a locked container within the car (excluding the glove box), or
when you are carrying the gun directly to or from the car in a locked container;6AND
you are otherwise legally entitled to own or possess a firearm.7
2. How can I get a CCW?
2.1. Requirements under Penal Code 26150 and 26155 PC
When applying for your California permit to carry a concealed weapon, you must prove that:
you are of good moral character,
you have good cause to justify the permit,
you are a resident in the county or in a city within the county… or you spend a substantial amount of time at your place of business or employment which is located in the county or in a city within the county, and
The issuance of licenses enabling a private citizen to carry a concealed weapon (CCW) is of great concern to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
CARRY A CONCEALED WEAPON LICENSING - CCW
The issuance of licenses enabling a private citizen to carry a concealed weapon (CCW) is of great concern to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. In accordance with California Penal Code 26150 et. Seq., and subject to Department policy and procedures, any Los Angeles County resident may be issued a CCW from the Sheriff, if qualified.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does not approve or endorse any private companies that offer “Streamlining Services” to assist CCW applicants with the application process.View Terms and Conditions
LASD CCW POLICY
The applicant will thoroughly Complete Sections 1-8,INCLUDING SECTION 7 and Sign Pages 3, 8, and 11, of the Department of Justice Standard Application. The completed application can be submitted to your local Sheriff Station or mailed to:
Hall of Justice
ATTN: CCW Coordinator
211 West Temple Street 8th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012NOTE: The DOJ Application instructs the applicant to only complete Section 7, when directed to do so.The CCW Unit requires Section 7 to be complete in order to contact you.The Witness Signature, Badge Number and Date will not be signed until your interview with the CCW Investigator.
A $30 non-refundable cashier’s check or money order made payable to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) should be included with the application. We will not contact you when the application is received. When your application has been assigned to an Investigator, you will be contacted by telephone to be scheduled for an in-person interview.
QUALIFICATIONSEach applicant must:
Be of good moral character.
Provide good cause.
Be a minimum of 21 years old.
Own a registered firearm in California.
Reside in Los Angeles County
As part of your background check, you will need to complete a live scan. This step is not required prior to submitting your application. You will receive instructions on how to complete a live scan at the time of your interview. To find your nearest live scan location refer to the Department of Justice website.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the live scan operator inputs all information correctly. Failure to verify the following information will result in having to complete a secondary live scan and delays the application process.
Applicant title: Concealed Weapon License
Application type: Standard CCW
LIVE SCAN APPLICATION
The following documents are required and will be submitted at the time of your interview. Any required document not provided, will result in a cancelled interview and will need to be re-scheduled.
Valid California Driver’s License, or California Identification Card
Original Birth Certificate, or Naturalization Certificate, or Valid US Passport
Proof of Los Angeles County Residency (utility bill). If you do not have a utility bill, advise your Investigator when you are contacted to discuss additional documents accepted as proof of residency.
DD-214 (if applicable)
Documents supporting good cause, if applicable (police reports, restraining orders, business license, work identification, paystubs, etc.)The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does not approve or endorse any private companies that offer “Streamlining Services” to assist CCW applicants with the application process.
Applicants must successfully complete a firearms training course, per Penal Code 26165. After a thorough background investigation, the applicant will be contacted by the CCW Coordinator to proceed with firearms training from a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department approved Training Provider.
New Applicants must complete a training course lasting at least 8 hours but not exceeding16 hours.
Renewal applicants must complete a training course lasting at least 4 hours.
The course shall include instruction on firearm safety, firearm handling, shooting technique, and laws regarding the permissible use of a firearm.
All firearms shall be inspected by the training provider to ensure that it is safe, operable, and in compliance with CA state and federal regulations.
Applicants must complete and pass a live fire course with each firearm to be listed on the license. When the applicant has completed their firearm training course, send a copy of the completed and signed Shooting Proficiency form to [email protected] .Handgun Requirements
Any handgun that the applicant intends to carry and have listed on their CCW license shall meet the bellow criteria prior to being used during their required firearms training. Failure to follow the criteria or failure to adhere to CA state and federal regulations will result in the immediate suspension and/or revocation of the license.
The handgun must be registered/DROS to the applicant.
The handgun must be concealable upon the person or reasonably sized bag or purse.
The handgun, magazines, and ammunition must be in compliance with applicable CA state and federal laws.
“AR Pistols” and similar handguns are not permitted.
How to Apply for a CCW in California (with Pictures)
In California, obtaining a Carry Concealed Weapons (CCW) license is difficult. The sheriff has broad discretion whether to grant you the license. To apply, contact your county sheriff. You'll have to fill out an application and complete a...
OUTDOOR RECREATIONGUNS AND SHOOTING
How to Apply for a CCW in CaliforniaCo-authored by wikiHow Staff
Last Updated: May 16, 2020 References Approved
In California, obtaining a Carry Concealed Weapons (CCW) license is difficult. The sheriff has broad discretion whether to grant you the license. To apply, contact your county sheriff. You’ll have to fill out an application and complete a firearms safety course. Depending on your county, you may also have to undergo psychological testing. If you already have a CCW license from another state, you must apply for a California CCW license.
Part 1 Part 1 of 3:
Completing an Application
1Check if you qualify. You aren’t entitled to a CCW license. In order to qualify, you’ll need to satisfy the following requirements, so check ahead of time:
You have good moral character.
You have good cause for the license.
You reside in the county where you are applying, or the business where you spend a substantial amount of time is in the county.
You complete an approved firearms training course.
You haven’t been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors.
You aren’t addicted to narcotics and haven't been diagnosed as mentally ill.
You haven’t lost your gun rights because of a domestic violence conviction.
You are at least 21 years of age. (Some states make exceptions for those under 21.)
2Contact your county sheriff’s office. There is no central office that awards CCW licenses. Instead, you must contact your county sheriff’s office. They should provide you with a checklist of documents or another handout that explains the application process.
If you live in an incorporated city, you can also apply with the police department for that city.
3Read the restrictions. You’ll need to provide a signed acknowledgement of restrictions as part of your application. Accordingly, read up on what California law requires of those with a CCW license. You can find this information in Section 4 of the application.
For example, you can’t consume alcohol while carrying your weapon or be in a bar with the weapon.
You also must show the license to an officer when requested.
4Gather the required documents. The sheriff’s office will request certain documents from you. Refer to your application instructions. For example, in Riverside County, you’ll need to provide the following:
birth certificate or naturalization papers
color copy of a valid driver’s license
proof that you live in the county (e.g., utility bills)
military discharge DD214 (if applicable)
two recent passport photos
employer statement and signed approval (if applying for your job)
proof of employer-employee relationship (if applying for your job)
5Obtain your character references. Your county might require reference letters from people who know you. Don’t choose family members or employers as your references. The person writing the letter should include their contact information and explain that they are aware you are applying for a CCW permit.
6Complete the California DOJ application. The California Department of Justice has a standard initial application you must complete. You can download the form and type in your information. Use additional pages if you need extra space.
Complete sections 1 through 5.
Ask whether you should complete the other sections in the presence of an official. Each county is a little bit different in what they require.
7Explain your good cause for the license. Good cause is difficult to prove unless you are applying for the license as part of a job. For example, you might want to carry a weapon for personal safety because someone has physically threatened you. Depending on your county, this might not be sufficient reason. On your application, go into as much detail as possible, including the following details: