10-11-2018 – Government of California Asks NRA to Join it in Fight Against Open Carry

9-11-2018 – Judge Kavanaugh says Concealed Carry Is Not A Right – NRA Lawyer Says He’s Wrong

9-3-2018 – Professors of Law Say 9th Circuit Open Carry Decision is Now The Law – Young v. Hawaii Lawyer Says It Isn’t

8-15-2018 – Why Are Gun-Rights Lawyers Hiding From 9th Circuit Open Carry Decision?

7-30-2018 – When Will We Be Able to Openly Carry a Firearm in the 9th Circuit?

6-20-2018 – The Second Amendment is in a Coma ten years after the Heller decision

5-13-2018 – NRA Loses Fake Open Carry Lawsuit, Files Three More Concealed Carry Lawsuits

3-4-2018 – Is There a Right to Keep and Bear Arms Outside of our Home?

1-13-2018 – The Guns of February, A Story of Two Three-Judge Panels

12-13-2017 – California Open Carry Lawsuit to be Heard by 9th Circuit on February 15, 2018

11-10-2017 – The End of California Concealed Carry

10-15-2017 – Governor Brown Signs Bill Allowing Guns Inside of Gun-Free School Zones

10-12-2017 – Is There a Right to Keep and Bear Arms? 9th Circuit to Decide in 2018

9-12-2017 – NRA Open Carry Lawsuit Opposes Open Carry

9-3-2017 – Supreme Court Long Conference on September 25, 2017

8-14-2017 – A Declaration That Open Carry Is the Right

7-28-2017 – Transcript Released in NRA’s Fake Open Carry Lawsuit

7-24-2017 – 50th Anniversary of California’s Loaded Open Carry Ban

7-12-2017 – Can we Save Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

6-27-2017 – Supreme Court Decides to Wait for Another Second Amendment Case

6/15/2017 – The Evil Practice of Carrying Weapons Secretly

6/6/2017 – NRA Lawyer says Odds are Supreme Court will NOT take Concealed Carry Case

6/2/2017 – The NRA Lost Another Second Amendment Appeal Today

5/29/2017 – Lead Plaintiff in Supreme Court Concealed Carry Appeal says Courts are Corrupt

5/23/2017 – Peruta Concealed Carry Lawsuit has Waited 2,768 Days – Supreme Court says Wait Longer

5/20/2017 – Second Amendment Case Peruta vs. California May Strike-Out at Supreme Court

5/03/2017 – Did the NRA Take a Dive in its Fake Open Carry Lawsuit?

5/01/2017 – Supreme Court Again Silent on Second Amendment

04/22/2017 – Supreme Court Math and Concealed Carry in Peruta v. California

04/14/2017 – Federal Judge Upholds Nonexistent Gun Ban

04/12/2017 – Concealed Carry, Incest, Gay Marriage and the Supreme Court

04/05/2017 – Justice Neil Gorsuch and the Second Amendment

3/29/2017 – The Next Second Amendment Handgun Carry Case to Go Down in Flames

3/28/2017 – Federal Judge Tells NRA to Put Up or Shut Up in Open Carry Lawsuit

3/22/2017 – Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor Finally Recognizes the Second Amendment

3/13/2017 – Another Second Amendment Appeal Shot-Down by the 9th Circuit

3/10/2017 – US Supreme Court to Decide Concealed Carry Petition in Two Weeks

3/5/2017 – The Florida Supreme Court Just Handed The US Supreme Court a Second Amendment Case It Can’t Refuse

2/23/2017 – California Asks Supreme Court to Wait For Nichols v. Brown Open Carry Appeal

2/15/2017 – NRA Got Spanked for Valentine’s Day!

2/3/2017 – President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch

1/24/2017 -A Concealed Carry Case SCOTUS Can’t Refuse

1/23/2017 -President Trump’s Judicial Opportunity and Conundrum

1/13/2017 -NRA Tells Supreme Court Open Carry is Perverse

1/11/2017 – NRA Drops Supreme Court Concealed Carry Appeal

12/30/2016 – NRA Asks US Supreme Court To Hear Two Concealed Carry Lawsuits

12/10/2016 – National Concealed Carry Snake Oil Law Will Fail

11/29/2016 – What Lies Ahead for the Second Amendment?

11/10/2016 – The Second Amendment and President Trump

10/03/2016 – A Federal 9th Circuit Judge Finally Finds a Right to Bear Arms in Public

9/28/2016 – Are You Protected by the Fourth Amendment if You Carry a Firearm?

9/20/2016 – Two Concealed Carry Cases Fire Blanks in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

9/8/2016 – Another Second Amendment Appeal Crashing and Burning in 9th Circuit

8/24/2016 – Concealed Carry Snake Oil and Kool-Aid Peddlers Leave Town for DC

8/18/2016 – The NRA Files Legal Challenge To California Open Carry Bans – But Not Really

8/17/2016 – The Battle for the Second Amendment Moves to Hawaii

8/15/2016 – There is No Right to Concealed Carry – 9th Circuit Denies Full Court Petitions

8/5/2016 – Did California Lie to 11 Federal Judges in Second Amendment Lawsuits?

7/15/2016 – God Save The US From The Second Amendment Lawyers

7/8/2016 – NRA Segregation Now, Tomorrow, and Forever Position Must Fail

7/4/2016 – Try Recalling California’s Anti-Gun Politicians Before Starting Your Revolution

6/27/2016 – NRA Head Wayne LaPierre Really, Really Hates the Second Amendment

6/24/2016 – Judges Who Uphold Bans on Concealed Carry Are Not the Same as Judges Who Look the Other Way When Police Murder People in the Street

6/15/2016 – Where is the NRA’s California Open Carry Lawsuit?

6/13/2016 – What’s Next for the Right to Carry Firearms in Public?

6/8/2016 – Florida Supreme Court Justices Voice Contempt for the Second Amendment

6/5/2016 – Florida Supreme Court to Hear Second Amendment Carry Case with National Ramifications

5/17/2016 – The Second Amendment and the Concealed Carry Problem

5/11/2016 – Federal Court of Appeals Goes Berserk During Second Amendment Gun Case Hearing

5/10/2016 – California Supreme Court Shoots Itself In Foot Over Gun Case

4/25/2016 – Second Amendment Foundation Files Another Concealed Carry Lawsuit: May Backfire

4/13/2016 – Has the NRA Come to Bury the Second Amendment or to Defend It? –

4/6/2016 – Second Amendment Must Wait A Bit Longer In 9th Circuit

3/26/2016 – Concealed Carry of Concealable Firearm in a Vehicle Now a Crime of Moral Turpitude

3/21/2016 – Supreme Court decision wasn’t about stun guns – It was about the Second Amendment decision in District of Columbia v. Heller which is bad news for concealed carry

3/7/2016 – How to Stop Anti-Gun Bills in California from Becoming Law

3/3/2016 – The California Supreme Court Case Which Could Upend the Gun-Groups Concealed Carry Lawsuits

2/24/2016 – The Second Amendment – Checkmate in Four Moves?

2/10/2016 – Why California’s Waiting Period to Purchase a Firearm Will Be Upheld

2/3/2016 – Florida House of Representatives Passes Handgun Open Carry Bill

1/27/2016 – The NRA Thinks Not Getting Caught In A Lie Is The Same Thing As Telling The Truth

12/11/2015 – Why Were the San Bernardino Shooting Victims Unarmed?

11/20/2015 – Attorney Alan Gura May Have Fumbled Another Second Amendment Case

11/20/2015 – HELP WANTED: Competent Second Amendment Lawyer – Inquire Within

11/9/2015 – The Supreme Court may have Finally Found its Next Second Amendment Case

9/2/2015 – Full Derp Battle over Concealed Carry in District of Columbia

9/1/2015 – National Rifle Association Drops Lawsuit against San Francisco

8/31/2015 – The Future of the Second Amendment in California and Hawaii

8/25/2015 – Yes, America, the Second Amendment is a Universal Right!

8/14/2015 – Will this be the Supreme Court’s Next Second Amendment Case?

7/3/2015 – The Future of Open Carry in California Looks Bright

6/16/2015 – State of California Concedes Second Amendment Extends Outside the Home

6/8/2015 – The Second Amendment is Now in the Hands of these Eleven Judges

6/8/2015 – Supreme Court Won’t Hear Second Amendment Cases Until there is a Circuit Split

5/29/2015 – NRA Opposes Open Carry – NRA Now Takes Credit for New Texas Handgun Open Carry Law

5/26/2015 – Four Years Ago Today: Is Open Carry The Right Guaranteed By The Second Amendment

5/18/2015 – Why the Second Amendment Keeps Losing in Court

5/2/2015 – Black Panther Party Invades California Capitol – 48 Years Ago Today

5/1/2015 – The NRA Rearranges Deck Chairs on the Titanic

4/22/2015 – Chief Judge of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Grants Motion of Lone Voice Defending the Second Amendment Open Carry Right

4/11/2015 – An Open Letter to the Orange County Register’s Editorial on Concealed Carry

4/03/2015 – Another Shoe Drops on the California Concealed Carry Lawsuits

2/27/2015 – Federal Judge Says No Second Amendment Right To Own Firearms

12/6/2014 – The First Shoe Drops On California Concealed Carry Lawsuits

11/30/2014 – Open Carry Gunfight At The California Corral: Start Of Year Four

11/30/2014 – California Open Carry Gunfight Begins Its Fourth Year

11/12/2014 – California Concealed Carry Permits – The Fat Lady Still Hasn’t Sung in Peruta v. San Diego

10/17/2014 – It may be Legal to Carry a Handgun in the Nation’s Capitol by Christmas

10/3/2014 – Another California Concealed Carry Lawsuit Loses before a Federal Judge

8/18/2014 – District of Columbia asks Court for More Time to Enact New Handgun Carry Ban

8/13/2014 – California Concealed Carry Case Peruta v. San Diego – Poised to Move or Stuck in the Mud?

7/30/2014 – Federal Judge Reluctantly Stays his Ruling in DC Handgun Ban

7/28/2014 – The DC Handgun Carry Decision – Throwing Victory into the Jaws of Defeat

7/26/2014 – Ban on Carrying Firearms in Public is Unconstitutional says DC Judge

7/21/2014 – The non-repeal of D.C., Gun-Control

7/2/2014 – US Supreme Court Still Silent On Second Amendment

6/28/2014 – Federal Judge Says Minorities Barred From Bringing Civil Rights Lawsuits

6/7/2014 – The NRA Supports Open Carry Except When The NRA Opposes Open Carry

6/2/2014 – NRA Lawyer Says California Concealed Carry Decision Likely To Be Overturned

6/1/2014 – NRA leadership Comes Out Of The Closet In Its Opposition To Open Carry

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California Open Carry


NOTICE! – This is not legal advice and the information here is several years old.  California has passed many additional anti-gun laws since this page was written.

Caveat – Just because doing something is not illegal it does not mean that you cannot be arrested, prosecuted, fined and imprisoned for not breaking the law.  In two separate cases the US Supreme Court has held that actual innocence is insufficient reason to release one from prison or to prevent his execution.

In July of 1967, in response to racial minorities arming themselves during the Civil Rights Movement, the California Legislature enacted a ban on the Unloaded Open Carry of firearms.  Dubbed the Black Panther Open Carry Ban by the press, this was not the first gun ban enacted during the Civil Rights Movement.  Illinois had enacted a ban in 1962 to which California patterned its 1967 ban.  New York, New Jersey and Oklahoma enacted similar bans in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Effective January 1, 2012 & January 1, 2013 a ban on the Open Carry of modern, unloaded handguns and long guns, respectively, went into effect in California.

Although exempt from the unloaded open carry bans, it is still illegal to openly carry unloaded “antiques” in the same places it was illegal to openly carry unloaded modern firearms before the bans went into effect except as otherwise permitted by law.  For example, antique handguns within 1,000 feet of a K-12 school must be unloaded an in a fully enclosed locked container and antique long guns must be unloaded.  It is generally illegal to possess a firearm, regardless of whether or not it is unloaded or in a locked container, in a school or on the grounds of a school without permission from the school.  The same is true of most state and local government buildings.  Note well that if you have a California CCW, the automatic exemption for school grounds no longer exists.  You can still carry a handgun within 1,000 feet of a school if you have a California CCW but not on the grounds of the school (including its parking lots) without prior permission from the school.

Exempted from the Unloaded Open Carry bans were Unloaded “antique” firearms which includes modern, firing reproductions as defined below:

California Penal Code section 16520(d)(5) & (6):

Section 16520(d) – As used in the following provisions, “firearm” does not include an unloaded antique firearm:
(5) Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 26350) of Division 5 of Title 4.
(6) Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 26400) of Division 5 of Title 4.

PC 26350 is the Unloaded Handgun Open Carry ban.
PC 26400 is the Unloaded Long Gun Open Carry ban.

PC 16170(b) As used in Section 16520…”antique firearm” has the same
meaning as in Section 921(a)(16) of Title 18 of the United States Code.

921(a)(16) of Title 18 of the United States Code:

(16) The term “antique firearm” means—
(A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or
(B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica—
(i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or
(ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or
(C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.


Definition of “Loaded”

Caveat – Simply having ammunition in your immediate possession along with a firearm can be a crime.

PC 16840.

(a) As used in Section 25800, a firearm shall be deemed to
be “loaded” whenever both the firearm and the unexpended ammunition
capable of being discharged from the firearm are in the immediate
possession of the same person.
(b) As used in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 25100) of
Division 4 of Title 4, in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (6) of
subdivision (c) of Section 25400, and in Sections 25850 to 26055,
(1) A firearm shall be deemed to be “loaded” when there is an
unexpended cartridge or shell, consisting of a case that holds a
charge of powder and a bullet or shot, in, or attached in any manner
to, the firearm, including, but not limited to, in the firing
chamber, magazine, or clip thereof attached to the firearm.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a muzzle-loader firearm shall
be deemed to be loaded when it is capped or primed and has a powder
charge and ball or shot in the barrel or cylinder.


PC 17295.  
(a) For purposes of Chapter 6 (commencing with Section
26350) of Division 5 of Title 4, a handgun shall be deemed "unloaded"
if it is not "loaded" within the meaning of subdivision (b) of
Section 16840.
   (b) For purposes of Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 26400) of
Division 5 of Title 4, a firearm that is not a handgun shall be
deemed "unloaded" if it is not "loaded" within the meaning of
subdivision (b) of Section 16840.


Definition of Locked Container 

16850. As used in Sections 17740, 23925, 25105, 25205, 25135, and
25610, in Article 3 (commencing with Section 25505) of Chapter 2 of
Division 5 of Title 4, in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 26350)
of Division 5 of Title 4, and in Chapter 7 (commencing with Section
26400) of Division 5 of Title 4, “locked container” means a secure
container that is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, keylock,
combination lock, or similar locking device. The term “locked
container” does not include the utility or glove compartment of a
motor vehicle.

The Full Text of the Unloaded Open Carry Bans

Here is a link to AB 144, the ban on openly carrying modern unloaded handguns.

Here is a link to AB 1527, the ban on openly carrying modern unloaded firearms that are not handguns.  Since short barreled rifles and shotguns require special permits issued by the state to possess and transport, for all intents and purposes AB 1527 is a “Long Gun Open Carry Ban.”


The California Code Online

Here is a searchable link to all of the California Code sections.

Here is a searchable link to a database of legal decisions so you can find out how the various California Code sections have been interpreted by the courts.

The answer to any question regarding the possession, transportation and/or carrying of firearms in California should always begin with “Depends” and the question should be limited to a specific, narrowly defined place and set of circumstances.