California Gun Law: What are Gun Laws in the State of California?
In California, gun laws regulate the use, possession, and sale of ammunition and firearms. It is interesting to note here that California’s gun laws are among the most restrictive in America. It was the first American state, which banned assault weapons way back in 1989 post a shooting incident that occurred at an elementary school that killed five students.
The state of California likes to call itself as “May Issue” as the issuance of any firearm permit lies completely in the discretion of a local sheriff. It can vary from a position of “no issue” in a majority of its urban counties to a “shall issue” scenario in its rural counties. The law enforcement varies a there is more leniency in the state’s rural counties while the urban counties are stricter in the enforcement of firearms laws. Also, the gun law in California requires the registration of all guns.
Requirements to purchase a gun in California
- A person should be at least 18-year-old
- He/she should have an impeccable moral character
- Should be able to justify the need for a gun permit
- Undergone an approved training class on firearms successfully
- A person has to be a either a county’s resident or his/her workplace should be in the county
- Should not be charged with an act of felony or specific kinds of misdemeanors
- Should be of a sound mind
- Should not abuse or be addicted to drugs
Recent Legislation in California Gun Laws
- The age for purchasing shotguns and rifles has been raised to 21 from 18.
- Lifetime bans on owning a gun have been imposed for all those people who have been hospitalized for mental illness multiple times in one year or are charged with acts of domestic violence.
Earlier legislation in the state of California
- A state license should be procured by all ammunition and firearm dealers in California. Private sales for guns should be carried out through a licensed dealer of firearms. There is also a compulsory waiting period and a background check process. California maintains records of guns/firearms sales on a permanent basis.
- A law was signed by Government Brown in 2016 that expanded the scope of the ban on assault weapons, as well as, regulated ammunition sales. Apart from a few exceptions, the lending, sale, transfer, making, and possession of assault weapons are banned in California. However, the state may issue permits to possess assault rifles to specific approved individuals or law enforcement agencies.
- Buyers of firearms should take a clear a written exam for procuring the Firearm Safety Certificate. Further, purchases are restricted to just a single handgun on a month. The waiting period is ten days in between making the application and buying a gun and its delivery.
- A permit may be necessary for carrying a concealed firearm in public. However, permits can be denied by the local law enforcement agency. A thorough background check is done for issuing concealed firearms permits. The applicant should have a good moral character and proper justification to request the gun license as mentioned earlier also. Plus, the residency requirements should also be met.
- A red flag law was passed by the state of California in 2014. The law permits only the police or family members to request a restraining order on gun violence to prohibit a person temporarily from possessing or buying ammunition and firearm. Over a dozen other American states are also contemplating similar laws.
- The voters of the state cleared Proposition 63 in 2016. It is a detailed package, which needs a background check at the point-of-sale for purchasing ammunition. It also prohibits magazines with large-capacity.