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Gun laws in California regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of California in the United States.The gun laws of California are some of the most restrictive in the United States. A 5-year Firearm Safety Certificate, obtained by paying a $25 fee, submission of applicant data to the state, and passing a written test proctored by a DOJ Certified Instructor, is required for the sale, delivery, loan, or transfer of any firearm. Handguns sold by dealers must be "California legal" by being listed on the state's Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale. This roster, which requires handgun manufacturers to pay a fee and submit specific models for safety testing, has become progressively more stringent over time and is currently the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit on the basis that it is a de facto ban on new handgun models. Private sales of firearms must be done through a licensed dealer. All firearm sales are recorded by the state, and have a ten-day waiting period. Unlike most other states, California has no provision in its state constitution that explicitly guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. The California Supreme Court has maintained that most of California's restrictive gun laws are constitutional, because the state's constitution does not explicitly guarantee private citizens the right to purchase, possess, or carry firearms. However, U.S. Supreme Court decisions of Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) established that the Second Amendment applies to all states within the Union, and many of California's gun laws are now being challenged in the federal courts.California Penal Code §25850 defines what constitutes a loaded weapon.
Semi-automatic firearms that the state has classified as assault weapons; .50 BMG caliber rifles; and large-capacity magazines (magazines that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition) may not be sold in California. The ban on large-capacity magazines was ruled unconstitutional March 29, 2019 but the ruling is on hold while the case is under appeal. Possession of automatic firearms, and of short-barreled shotguns and rifles, is prohibited without a Dangerous Weapons Permit, that is received from the California Department of Justice pending a good reason for their possession such as: manufacture, repair, collecting in limited cases (pre-1990), movie prop guns or dealing to police/military.
California is a "may issue" state for permits to carry concealed guns. The willingness of issuing authorities in California ranges from No Issue in most urban areas to Shall Issue in rural counties. Additionally, the issuing authority can also impose restrictions on the CCW permit-holder, such as limiting concealed carry only to the purposes listed on the approved CCW permit application. However, concealed carry permits are valid statewide, regardless of where they were issued. This creates a situation where residents in presumptively No Issue locations such as Los Angeles and San Francisco cannot lawfully carry a concealed firearm, but residents from other counties with more permissive CCW issuance policies can lawfully carry within these same jurisdictions. California does not recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states, and non-residents are generally forbidden from obtaining a California concealed carry permit. Those eligible to carry a rifle, shotgun, or handgun under the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act are not subject to some California laws.
California has state preemption for many, but not all, firearms laws. Actual enforcement of California's firearms laws also varies widely across the state. Urban areas, such as the San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas strictly enforce firearms laws, and some communities within these areas have passed local ordinances that make legally owning a firearm difficult. Meanwhile, some rural jurisdictions narrowly enforce the same firearms laws by prosecuting only those who demonstrate malicious intent, or not enforcing portions of the state's firearms laws at all. State law enforcement agencies, such as the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Justice, and the California Department of Fish and Game strictly enforce state firearms law everywhere in California.