It is generally a crime for a person to openly carry a firearm in California. This applies to the open carry of both:
- loaded guns, and
- unloaded guns.
Note, however, there is one exception involving the open carry of loaded guns. Under California law, the sheriff of any county with a population under 200,000 people may issue licenses for people to carry a loaded, exposed handgun.
California Penal Code 26150 and 26155 PC.
Note too that the laws regarding the open carry of firearms may change. In 2018, a court ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees the open carry of a gun. This decision, however, was appealed and the court will be rehearing the case later.
Carrying an unloaded handgun in public is a misdemeanor. Most violations are punishable by:
- up to one year in county jail, or
- a fine of up to $1,000.
Carrying a loaded firearm in public is a misdemeanor. The penalties include:
- custody in county jail for up to one year, and/or
- a maximum fine of $1,000.68
Note, though, that aggravating factors can make the crime a wobbler offense. This means a prosecutor can charge the offense as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
A felony conviction can result in imprisonment in county jail for up to three years.
M., D. (2022, March 27). California gun laws 2022 – your top 12 questions answered. Shouse Law Group. Retrieved May 6, 2022, from https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/defense/gun-laws/