Individuals who illegally carry a gun face criminal penalties
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a legal alert reminding California’s district attorneys, law enforcement, and the legal community that license requirements to carry firearms in public remain constitutional and in effect in California, and are enforceable under the law. In June, the Supreme Court issued its decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that New York’s equivalent to California’s “good cause” requirement to obtain a public carry license was unconstitutional and unenforceable. However, the Court also stated that it is constitutional for states to require a license to carry a firearm in public. Aside from the good cause requirement, all other requirements to obtain a carry license remain constitutional and enforceable.
“California is committed to safeguarding our citizens, our children, and our future through commonsense gun laws,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Carrying a gun in public without a valid license is against the law. We will take any and all legal action necessary to protect Californians from the threat of gun violence — including prosecuting those who violate our laws governing where people may carry firearms in public.”
It is generally against the law to carry a firearm in public without a license. Individuals attempting to carry a weapon without first obtaining a license face criminal penalties. The Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen does not provide a basis for dismissing charges against individuals who have been prosecuted for illegally carrying weapons in public. The legal alert issued today reminds law enforcement and district attorneys that charges may be filed should an individual violate California’s laws governing where people may carry firearms in public.
Individuals may obtain a license through a sheriff or chief of police after: a successful background check, the completion of a firearms safety course, and proof of residency, employment, or business in the county or city within the county, and a showing that they are of “good moral character.” These requirements were adopted with the unique needs of Californians in mind, and remain constitutional under Bruen.
Gun violence remains a growing threat to public safety throughout the nation. On average, there are over 110 gun deaths each day and nearly 41,000 each year in the U.S. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and adolescents; with U.S. children being more likely to die from gun violence than in any other comparable country.
California continues its efforts to advance laws and policies that save lives and prevent gun deaths. In 2021, California saw a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average. According to the CDC, California’s gun death rate was the 44th lowest in the nation, with 8.5 gun deaths per 100,000 people – compared to 13.7 deaths per 100,000 nationally, 28.6 in Mississippi, 20.7 in Oklahoma, and 14.2 in Texas. California’s gun death rate for children is also lower than other states, and is 58% lower than the national average.
Attorney General Bonta stands with partners throughout the state to continue preventing gun violence strategically and aggressively by:
The legal alert can be found here.