How Do California's Strict Gun Laws Differ From Federal Law?
Waiting periods, assault weapons bans -- you may have heard that California's gun laws are among the strictest in the nation. What does that mean, exactly? We break it down for you.
|WAITING PERIOD||Ten-day waiting period before a firearm can be released to a buyer or transferee.||No federal waiting period. Under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a dealer may transfer a firearm to a prospective purchaser as soon as he or she passes a background check, which can take minutes. If the FBI is unable to complete a background check within three business days, the dealer may complete the transfer by default.|
|ASSAULT WEAPONS||Banned in California. As of 2018 certain AR-15 rifles with "bullet buttons" are no longer exempt and must be modified.||Currently legal. Banned between 1994 and 2004.|
|AGE REQUIREMENTS||Same as federal: Individual must be at least 18 years old to purchase a rifle or shotgun, and at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun.||Same as California: Individual must be at least 18 years old to purchase a rifle or shotgun, and at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun.|
|PURCHASE LIMIT||Purchasing more than one handgun within any 30-day period is prohibited except in specific circumstances. There is no limit on the number of rifles or shotguns that can be purchased.||Federal law does not limit the number of guns a person may buy in any given time period.|
|PERMIT||No permit required. However, handgun buyers must pass a Firearm Safety Certificate test before the purchase.||No|
|REGISTRATION OF FIREARMS||New California residents must report their ownership of firearms to the DOJ or sell/transfer them within 60 days.||No|
|LICENSING OF OWNER||None||None|
|PERMIT TO CARRY CONCEALED WEAPONS IN PUBLIC||California requires a permit to carry a weapon, issued by a sheriff or police chief. There must be a reason -- usually self defense, and the person must be of "good moral character." Some counties, including Los Angeles, refuse to issue permits. But a permit issued in one jurisdiction allows you to carry a gun anywhere in the state.||None|
|PURCHASE AND POSSESSION OF FIREARM||California prohibits other categories of people in addition to federal law, such as:
- those convicted of violent or gun-related misdemeanors
- those deemed by the court to be a danger to oneself or others
|Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms by people who fall within certain categories, such as:
- convicted felons
- domestic abusers
- illegal drug addicts or abusers
- people with specific kinds of mental health histories
- undocumented immigrants
- dishonorably discharged service members -- people with restraining orders
|POSSESSION OF LARGE CAPACITY MAGAZINES||California bans the sale or manufacture of ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 cartridges or rounds. A ban on possessing magazines purchased prior to 2000 has been challenged in court.||Possession is no longer prohibited after the expiration of the federal Assault Weapons ban in 2004.|
|PURCHASING A FIREARM||All firearms purchases and transfers, including private party transactions and sales at gun shows, must be made through a licensed dealer under the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) process.||A transaction between unlicensed private parties in the same state does not require record-keeping. A transaction between unlicensed private parties in different states require transfer to a federal firearms licensee in the buyer's state.|
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