(a) (1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when
he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a
vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an
incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a
prohibited area of unincorporated territory.
(2) Carrying a loaded firearm in violation of this section is
punishable, as follows:
(A) Where the person previously has been convicted of any felony,
or of any crime made punishable by this chapter, as a felony.
(B) Where the firearm is stolen and the person knew or had
reasonable cause to believe that it was stolen, as a felony.
(C) Where the person is an active participant in a criminal street
gang, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 186.22, under the
Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (Chapter 11
(commencing with Section 186.20) of Title 7 of Part 1), as a felony.
(D) Where the person is not in lawful possession of the firearm,
as defined in this section, or is within a class of persons
prohibited from possessing or acquiring a firearm pursuant to Section
12021 or 12021.1 of this code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare
and Institutions Code, as a felony.
(E) Where the person has been convicted of a crime against a
person or property, or of a narcotics or dangerous drug violation, by
imprisonment in the state prison, or by imprisonment in a county
jail not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed one thousand
dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
(F) Where the person is not listed with the Department of Justice
pursuant to Section 11106, as the registered owner of the pistol,
revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the
person, by imprisonment in the state prison, or by imprisonment in a
county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine not to exceed one
thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that fine and imprisonment.
(G) In all cases other than those specified in subparagraphs (A)
to (F), inclusive, as a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a
county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed one
thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
(3) For purposes of this section, "lawful possession of the
firearm" means that the person who has possession or custody of the
firearm either lawfully acquired and lawfully owns the firearm or has
the permission of the lawful owner or person who otherwise has
apparent authority to possess or have custody of the firearm. A
person who takes a firearm without the permission of the lawful owner
or without the permission of a person who has lawful custody of the
firearm does not have lawful possession of the firearm.
(4) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under
Sections 12021 and 12021.1 of this code, Section 8100 or 8103 of the
Welfare and Institutions Code, or any other law with a greater
penalty than this section.
(5) (A) Notwithstanding paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (a)
of Section 836, a peace officer may make an arrest without a warrant:
(i) When the person arrested has violated this section, although
not in the officer's presence.
(ii) Whenever the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the
person to be arrested has violated this section, whether or not this
section has, in fact, been violated.
(B) A peace officer may arrest a person for a violation of
subparagraph (F) of paragraph (2), if the peace officer has probable
cause to believe that the person is carrying a loaded pistol,
revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person
in violation of this section and that person is not listed with the
Department of Justice pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of
Section 11106 as the registered owner of that pistol, revolver, or
other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
(6) (A) Every person convicted under this section who has
previously been convicted of an offense enumerated in Section
12001.6, or of any crime made punishable under this chapter, shall
serve a term of at least three months in a county jail, or, if
granted probation or if the execution or imposition of sentence is
suspended, it shall be a condition thereof that he or she be
imprisoned for a period of at least three months.
(B) The court shall apply the three-month minimum sentence except
in unusual cases where the interests of justice would best be served
by granting probation or suspending the imposition or execution of
sentence without the minimum imprisonment required in this
subdivision or by granting probation or suspending the imposition or
execution of sentence with conditions other than those set forth in
this subdivision, in which case, the court shall specify on the
record and shall enter on the minutes the circumstances indicating
that the interests of justice would best be served by that
(7) A violation of this section which is punished by imprisonment
in a county jail not exceeding one year shall not constitute a
conviction of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding
one year for the purposes of determining federal firearms
eligibility under Section 922(g)(1) of Title 18 of the United States
(b) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to any of the following:
(1) Peace officers listed in Section 830.1 or 830.2, or
subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, whether active or honorably
retired, other duly appointed peace officers, honorably retired peace
officers listed in subdivision (c) of Section 830.5, other honorably
retired peace officers who during the course and scope of their
employment as peace officers were authorized to, and did, carry
firearms, full-time paid peace officers of other states and the
federal government who are carrying out official duties while in
California, or any person summoned by any of those officers to assist
in making arrests or preserving the peace while the person is
actually engaged in assisting that officer. Any peace officer
described in this paragraph who has been honorably retired shall be
issued an identification certificate by the law enforcement agency
from which the officer has retired. The issuing agency may charge a
fee necessary to cover any reasonable expenses incurred by the agency
in issuing certificates pursuant to this paragraph and paragraph
Any officer, except an officer listed in Section 830.1 or 830.2,
subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, or subdivision (c) of Section
830.5 who retired prior to January 1, 1981, shall have an endorsement
on the identification certificate stating that the issuing agency
approves the officer's carrying of a loaded firearm.
No endorsement or renewal endorsement issued pursuant to paragraph
(2) shall be effective unless it is in the format set forth in
subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section
12027, except that any peace officer listed in subdivision (f) of
Section 830.2 or in subdivision (c) of Section 830.5, who is retired
between January 2, 1981, and on or before December 31, 1988, and who
is authorized to carry a loaded firearm pursuant to this section,
shall not be required to have an endorsement in the format set forth
in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section
12027 until the time of the issuance, on or after January 1, 1989, of
a renewal endorsement pursuant to paragraph (2).
(2) A retired peace officer, except an officer listed in Section
830.1 or 830.2, subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, or subdivision (c)
of Section 830.5 who retired prior to January 1, 1981, shall
petition the issuing agency for renewal of his or her privilege to
carry a loaded firearm every five years. An honorably retired peace
officer listed in Section 830.1 or 830.2, subdivision (a) of Section
830.33, or subdivision (c) of Section 830.5 who retired prior to
January 1, 1981, shall not be required to obtain an endorsement from
the issuing agency to carry a loaded firearm. The agency from which
a peace officer is honorably retired may, upon initial retirement of
the peace officer, or at any time subsequent thereto, deny or revoke
for good cause the retired officer's privilege to carry a loaded
firearm. A peace officer who is listed in Section 830.1 or 830.2,
subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, or subdivision (c) of Section
830.5 who is retired prior to January 1, 1981, shall have his or her
privilege to carry a loaded firearm denied or revoked by having the
agency from which the officer retired stamp on the officer's
identification certificate "No CCW privilege."
(3) An honorably retired peace officer who is listed in
subdivision (c) of Section 830.5 and authorized to carry loaded
firearms by this subdivision shall meet the training requirements of
Section 832 and shall qualify with the firearm at least annually.
The individual retired peace officer shall be responsible for
maintaining his or her eligibility to carry a loaded firearm. The
Department of Justice shall provide subsequent arrest notification
pursuant to Section 11105.2 regarding honorably retired peace
officers listed in subdivision (c) of Section 830.5 to the agency
from which the officer has retired.
(4) Members of the military forces of this state or of the United
States engaged in the performance of their duties.
(5) Persons who are using target ranges for the purpose of
practice shooting with a firearm or who are members of shooting clubs
while hunting on the premises of those clubs.
(6) The carrying of pistols, revolvers, or other firearms capable
of being concealed upon the person by persons who are authorized to
carry those weapons pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section
12050) of Chapter 1 of Title 2 of Part 4.
(7) Armored vehicle guards, as defined in Section 7521 of the
Business and Professions Code, (A) if hired prior to January 1, 1977,
or (B) if hired on or after that date, if they have received a
firearms qualification card from the Department of Consumer Affairs,
in each case while acting within the course and scope of their
(8) Upon approval of the sheriff of the county in which they
reside, honorably retired federal officers or agents of federal law
enforcement agencies, including, but not limited to, the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the United States
Customs Service, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and
Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the Drug Enforcement
Administration, the United States Border Patrol, and officers or
agents of the Internal Revenue Service who were authorized to carry
weapons while on duty, who were assigned to duty within the state for
a period of not less than one year, or who retired from active
service in the state.
Retired federal officers or agents shall provide the sheriff with
certification from the agency from which they retired certifying
their service in the state, the nature of their retirement, and
indicating the agency's concurrence that the retired federal officer
or agent should be accorded the privilege of carrying a loaded
Upon approval, the sheriff shall issue a permit to the retired
federal officer or agent indicating that he or she may carry a loaded
firearm in accordance with this paragraph. The permit shall be
valid for a period not exceeding five years, shall be carried by the
retiree while carrying a loaded firearm, and may be revoked for good
The sheriff of the county in which the retired federal officer or
agent resides may require recertification prior to a permit renewal,
and may suspend the privilege for cause. The sheriff may charge a
fee necessary to cover any reasonable expenses incurred by the
(c) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to any of the following who
have completed a regular course in firearms training approved by the
Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training:
(1) Patrol special police officers appointed by the police
commission of any city, county, or city and county under the express
terms of its charter who also, under the express terms of the
charter, (A) are subject to suspension or dismissal after a hearing
on charges duly filed with the commission after a fair and impartial
trial, (B) are not less than 18 years of age or more than 40 years of
age, (C) possess physical qualifications prescribed by the
commission, and (D) are designated by the police commission as the
owners of a certain beat or territory as may be fixed from time to
time by the police commission.
(2) The carrying of weapons by animal control officers or
zookeepers, regularly compensated as such by a governmental agency
when acting in the course and scope of their employment and when
designated by a local ordinance or, if the governmental agency is not
authorized to act by ordinance, by a resolution, either individually
or by class, to carry the weapons, or by persons who are authorized
to carry the weapons pursuant to Section 14502 of the Corporations
Code, while actually engaged in the performance of their duties
pursuant to that section.
(3) Harbor police officers designated pursuant to Section 663.5 of
the Harbors and Navigation Code.
(d) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to any of the following who
have been issued a certificate pursuant to Section 12033. The
certificate shall not be required of any person who is a peace
officer, who has completed all training required by law for the
exercise of his or her power as a peace officer, and who is employed
while not on duty as a peace officer.
(1) Guards or messengers of common carriers, banks, and other
financial institutions while actually employed in and about the
shipment, transportation, or delivery of any money, treasure,
bullion, bonds, or other thing of value within this state.
(2) Guards of contract carriers operating armored vehicles
pursuant to California Highway Patrol and Public Utilities Commission
authority (A) if hired prior to January 1, 1977, or (B) if hired on
or after January 1, 1977, if they have completed a course in the
carrying and use of firearms which meets the standards prescribed by
the Department of Consumer Affairs.
(3) Private investigators and private patrol operators who are
licensed pursuant to Chapter 11.5 (commencing with Section 7512) of,
and alarm company operators who are licensed pursuant to Chapter 11.6
(commencing with Section 7590) of, Division 3 of the Business and
Professions Code, while acting within the course and scope of their
(4) Uniformed security guards or night watch persons employed by
any public agency, while acting within the scope and course of their
(5) Uniformed security guards, regularly employed and compensated
in that capacity by persons engaged in any lawful business, and
uniformed alarm agents employed by an alarm company operator, while
actually engaged in protecting and preserving the property of their
employers or on duty or en route to or from their residences or their
places of employment, and security guards and alarm agents en route
to or from their residences or employer-required range training.
Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prohibit cities and
counties from enacting ordinances requiring alarm agents to register
(6) Uniformed employees of private patrol operators and private
investigators licensed pursuant to Chapter 11.5 (commencing with
Section 7512) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code,
while acting within the course and scope of their employment.
(e) In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for
the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized
to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a
vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an
incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory.
Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to
this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of
(f) As used in this section, "prohibited area" means any place
where it is unlawful to discharge a weapon.
(g) A firearm shall be deemed to be loaded for the purposes of
this section 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; except that 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.
(h) Nothing in this section shall prevent any person engaged in
any lawful business, including a nonprofit organization, or any
officer, employee, or agent authorized by that person for lawful
purposes connected with that business, from having a loaded firearm
within the person's place of business, or any person in lawful
possession of private property from having a loaded firearm on that
(i) Nothing in this section shall prevent any person from carrying
a loaded firearm in an area within an incorporated city while
engaged in hunting, provided that the hunting at that place and time
is not prohibited by the city council.
(j) (1) Nothing in this section is intended to preclude the
carrying of any loaded firearm, under circumstances where it would
otherwise be lawful, by a person who reasonably believes that the
person or property of himself or herself or of another is in
immediate, grave danger and that the carrying of the weapon is
necessary for the preservation of that person or property. As used
in this subdivision, "immediate" means the brief interval before and
after the local law enforcement agency, when reasonably possible, has
been notified of the danger and before the arrival of its
(2) A violation of this section is justifiable when a person who
possesses a firearm reasonably believes that he or she is in grave
danger because of circumstances forming the basis of a current
restraining order issued by a court against another person or persons
who has or have been found to pose a threat to his or her life or
safety. This paragraph may not apply when the circumstances involve
a mutual restraining order issued pursuant to Division 10 (commencing
with Section 6200) of the Family Code absent a factual finding of a
specific threat to the person's life or safety. It is not the intent
of the Legislature to limit, restrict, or narrow the application of
current statutory or judicial authority to apply this or other
justifications to defendants charged with violating Section 12025 or
of committing other similar offenses.
Upon trial for violating this section, the trier of fact shall
determine whether the defendant was acting out of a reasonable belief
that he or she was in grave danger.
(k) Nothing in this section is intended to preclude the carrying
of a loaded firearm by any person while engaged in the act of making
or attempting to make a lawful arrest.
(l) Nothing in this section shall prevent any person from having a
loaded weapon, if it is otherwise lawful, at his or her place of
residence, including any temporary residence or campsite.
(m) (1) The district attorney of each county shall submit annually
a report on or before June 30, to the Attorney General consisting of
profiles by race, age, gender, and ethnicity of any person charged
with a felony or a misdemeanor under this section and any other
offense charged in the same complaint, indictment, or information.
(2) The Attorney General shall submit annually, a report on or
before December 31, to the Legislature compiling all of the reports
submitted pursuant to paragraph (1).
(3) This subdivision shall remain operative only until January 1,