Everything You Should Know About California Gun Laws 2023

Navigating the complex world of California gun laws can be a daunting task. Did you know, for instance, that California has some of the strictest firearm regulations in the United States? This article will demystify those laws for you, providing an easy-to-understand guide to everything from ownership requirements to transportation restrictions.

Let’s dive right in and get you up to speed on all things related to California Gun Laws 2023!

Gun Laws in California 2023

california gun laws 2023

The year 2023 saw significant alterations to existing California gun laws. 

Enhanced background checks became a requisite part of all private sales and transfers, including those conducted at gun shows.

One particular change imposed a new minimum age for shotgun or rifle purchases, which moved from 18 years old, to 21 – matching the handgun buying age requirement in the state. Legislators also mandated that handguns must be safety-approved by the Department of Justice before being sold in California.

Lawmakers plan to implement unique identifiers on expended ammunition by 2028 as part of a strategy aimed at reducing gun crime. Proponents maintain that these changes are crucial steps toward ensuring public safety.

Who is Allowed to Own a Gun in California?

In California, age restrictions play a vital role in determining who can own firearms. To purchase a handgun, individuals must be at least 21 years old; those wishing to buy shotguns or rifles should be a minimum of 18. However, falling into the specified age bracket doesn’t guarantee you can legally own guns. 

Specific types of weapons are strictly off-limits for ownership. These include short-barreled shotguns/rifles and undetectable firearms.

Moreover, other than certain exceptions like law enforcement officers or military personnel on duty, carriers must possess a valid Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) license to carry a concealed firearm in public spaces within the state.

Owning a gun demands not just awareness but also compliance with all legal prerequisites and restrictions specified under California law.

The Process for Buying, Selling, and Registering Guns in California

To purchase a gun in California, you must first obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate by passing a written test on gun laws and safety regulations. Once certified, you can choose from licensed firearms dealers to purchase your desired firearm.

When selling a firearm in California, the buyer and seller must go through a transfer process with a licensed dealer, involving background checks and completing necessary paperwork.

Finally, all firearms purchased or obtained in California must be registered with the state’s Department of Justice within 60 days of acquisition.

Purchasing a Gun

To buy a gun in California, first, you need to pass a background check to ensure your eligibility for gun ownership. This includes looking into your criminal record and mental health history. 

Once cleared, you can purchase the firearm from a licensed dealer or private party. However, it’s important to note that certain types of guns are restricted or prohibited in California.

After purchasing the gun, you must register it with the Department of Justice within 30 days. It’s crucial to follow all these steps and comply with California’s strict gun laws to ensure legal ownership of firearms in the state.

Selling a Gun

Every seller must have a Federal Firearms License (FFL). The  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)  grants this license. They also need a California Firearms Dealer License from the California Department of Justice (DOJ).

If you are a private individual looking to sell or transfer a firearm in California, you only can do so through a licensed firearms dealer. The dealer will conduct the required background check and ensure you pass the legal requirements.

Registering a Gun

To legally own a gun in California, you must go through the process of registering it. This applies to rifles, shotguns, revolvers, and handguns. The California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms handles the registration.

When registering your firearm, be prepared for a state fee that varies depending on the type of gun.

Transporting, Storing, and Carrying Firearms in California

Registered assault weapons in California can only be transported between specific locations. When transporting firearms, it is crucial to do so safely and securely. Guns must be stored in compliance with California law, which means they should be unloaded when not in use.

It is generally prohibited to carry a concealed firearm in public without a valid Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) license. Additionally, carrying a loaded firearm or concealed handgun in personal vehicles and public transport is typically against the law.

When transporting registered assault weapons, it is important to remember that they can only be taken between specified locations. Safe storage requirements for firearms dictate that guns should always be stored and unloaded when not being used.

To carry a concealed firearm in public legally, individuals must obtain a valid CCW license from the appropriate authorities. Carrying loaded firearms or hidden handguns while driving or using public transportation is strictly prohibited by law.

Remember to always adhere to the laws and regulations regarding the transportation, storage, and carrying of firearms in California to ensure safety and compliance with the state’s gun laws.

Important Aspects of California Gun Laws 

Governor Newsom signed new laws in 2022 to strengthen California’s public carry regulations, ensuring that individuals who choose to carry firearms do so responsibly and safely. Additionally, the state has taken steps to regulate ghost guns, which are untraceable firearms assembled from parts kits.

By implementing these regulations, California aims to prevent unauthorized individuals from obtaining deadly weapons.

Furthermore, California is committed to reducing its gun death rate. Currently ranked as the number one state for gun safety by the Giffords Law Center, California saw a significant decrease in its gun death rate compared to other states – an impressive 43% lower rate.

Through ongoing gun safety reforms and stringent enforcement of existing laws, California continues striving towards a safer society for all residents.

By prioritizing strong legislation and emphasizing responsible ownership and usage of firearms, California sets an example for other states in promoting public safety while respecting citizens’ rights.


So there you have it – everything you need to know about California gun laws in 2023. From age restrictions for gun purchases to the process of buying, selling, and registering firearms, we’ve covered it all.

California prioritizes public safety, thus, it has some of the strongest gun regulations in the country. Stay informed and comply with these laws to ensure responsible firearm ownership.

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