California, one of the country's strictest states when it comes to gun control laws, offers assurances for nonresidents bringing firearms across state lines under the federal Firearm Owners Protection Act.
Gun owners must follow certain guidelines. The traveler must legally own the weapon under federal law and the laws of his home state, as well as the state of destination. The traveler should take the shortest route across the state and make the fewest number of stops.
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Travelers can bring weapons anywhere they wish, but must follow the laws regarding how to transport them. California's laws are enforced by the state-regulated Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms, which also enforces laws regarding the manufacture, sales, ownership, training and transfer of firearms throughout the state.
Laws vary depending on mode of transportation and destination. A person over the age of 18 can transport a pistol, revolver, or other firearm in a motor vehicle as long as it is unloaded and in a locked container. Ammunition must also be in a separate container and both must be stored in a part of the vehicle that isn't readily accessible, such as the trunk.
Larger weapons, such as a shotgun, don't have to be in a locked container, but must not be loaded while in transit.
By law, a locked container is defined as "any container that is fully enclosed and locked with a padlock, key lock or combination lock." A car trunk is considered a locked container, while a glove compartment doesn't qualify.
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For those flying, guns and ammo must be packed in checked luggage, and may not be carried onboard. Passengers must declare unloaded firearms — separate from the ammunition — at check-in, in a locked container, and must supply a key or combination to the container upon request and must stay while the firearm is being checked.
California's gun laws apply to everyone within the state's borders, including nonresidents, but concealed-weapon permits from different states are not valid in in California. Anyone carrying a concealed gun in California without a state-sanctioned permit can face a large fine and prosecution under a likely felony charge.
Only those with a CCW (California Concealed Weapon) can carry a concealed gun in public, according to the California Department of Justice. Permits are issued by a county sheriff to county residents or by the head of police to city residents.
This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws of your state and destination before travel.
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