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Old March 14, 2013, 08:08 PM   #1
Join Date: July 5, 2006
Location: central Cal.
Posts: 20
Open unloaded carry

I should know this but don't, and want to get a quick answer for
a non-firearm buddy: is it legal in California to open carry an unloaded
handgun or long gun?

thanks in advance
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Old March 15, 2013, 09:29 AM   #2
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It used to be legal, but the law was changed after California lawmakers saw citizens "using a loophole" to legally carry a firearm in California.
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Old March 15, 2013, 01:07 PM   #3
Spats McGee
Join Date: July 28, 2010
Location: Arkansas
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Shipping this one off to L&CR.
I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. If you need some honest-to-goodness legal advice, go buy some.
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Old March 15, 2013, 01:12 PM   #4
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,744
In general it is not legal.

It used to be, but the law was changes a few years ago as to handguns and recently as to long guns.

For good, current information on California gun laws check the Calguns Wiki.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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Old March 15, 2013, 05:30 PM   #5
Southwest Chuck
Join Date: August 11, 2009
Location: A Calguns Interloper
Posts: 39
There are areas in CA where you can Loaded Open Carry, however. Specifically, you can LOC anywhere in unincorporated areas where the discharge of firearms is not otherwise prohibited.

See This Thread over at Calguns for more information. Even with that resource, it can still be very confusing, so know where you are and what laws apply before doing so.

Last edited by Southwest Chuck; March 15, 2013 at 05:48 PM.
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Old March 18, 2013, 05:14 PM   #6
Southwest Chuck
Join Date: August 11, 2009
Location: A Calguns Interloper
Posts: 39
I am sure. Otherwise, how could hunting be legal? Again, research it. the thread I posted gives the particulars which you might want to take a look at. What the Gov. signed was a ban on Unloaded Open Carry of long guns. The Unloaded open Carry of Hanguns was previously banned.

It is still generally legal to Open Carry (loaded or not) in unincorporated areas where the "discharge of a firearm" is NOT otherwise prohibited by law. In Most BLM, and National Forest Lands, etc. in CA it is legal to discharge a firearm and thus legal to open carry (remember I said MOST). Do your own research for specific locations and confirm any restrictions in those areas.

Also, just a FYI, It is legal to hunt coyotes and jackrabbits with a handgun in CA and the season is year round on those critters. So it is advantageous to get/have a hunting license, although it's not specifically required in most discharge zones (just to open carry). But a CA hunting license also gives you other rights and exemptions to some of the CA gun laws too. Research it. I think you might be surprised. is a good CA resource for more information for you.

From the Calguns Wikki Frank posted above:
".....There is an exception for unloaded antique firearms, and several location-specific exceptions (principally, those places where it it legal to carry loaded also permit carry unloaded)".
These are the area I'm talking about. But why one would chose to carry unloaded in these areas when one could legally carry loaded?

Edit: Wow, the post I was responding to seemed to have "disappeared" while I was typing, lol

Last edited by Southwest Chuck; March 18, 2013 at 05:37 PM.
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