Concealed carry has been totally licensed since 1923. California was a "may issue" state where police chiefs or sheriffs may choose to issue a license to carry a concealed firearm (LTC, or license to carry). The policy on issuance varied widely from county to county and city to city. Some jurisdictions did not issue licenses at all. Issuance was at the sheriff's or chief's total discretion. Subjective standards of "good cause" and "good moral character" were applied in an arbitrary fashion. Those who would be well-qualified in one county or in another state might have been unable to receive a license in another. All of this has changed since the NSRPA v. Bruen Supreme Court ruling that effectively rendered the nation "shall issue." Expect California to resist the ruling any and every way possible until they are shut down in court. At this time the state statutes remain as written.
Those who are issued licenses must obey strict terms and conditions; issuing authorities may place their own conditions on the permit such as time, place, and activity restrictions (i.e. only while taking a deposit to the bank). Licenses are valid up to two years, however, issuing agencies can specify a shorter expiration period. Each firearm desired to be carried must be qualified with and listed on the license.
Most of the exemptions for carrying a concealed firearm in public are to allow someone to transport a cased firearm from home to a shooting activity, gun store, etc. It is illegal to carry a concealed firearm around, even unloaded and locked up, just in case. Unlicensed concealed carry is usually a misdemeanor, unless the gun is not registered to you, in which case it can be a felony. A misdemeanor will cause a five year loss of firearm rights.
What does the NSRPA v. Bruen Second Amendment Supreme Court Opinion mean immediately in California?
The major change is that counties can no longer deny permits for "good cause." Self-defense and "because I want to" is good enough. It will take time for the changes to trickle down and sort themselves out.
At the local level, there will probably be extreme delays due to pent-up demand for permits and small numbers of staff devoted to the permit details. In many jurisdictions this will be deliberate. Expect counties like San Francisco to do this on purpose. Morality qualifications, like too many police contacts or calling 911 on your neighbors too often, may be used to disqualify people, and this may need to be fought in court.
At the state level, expect legislation to complicate and frustrate the CCW process, including higher fees and other "requirements." Expansion of gun free zones will probably expand. All of this will have to be dismantled in court, however the opinion will probably result in those laws being thrown out.
Note that nothing changes in the immediate term for out-of-state residents. There is no recognition for your out-of-state permit and no real way to get a California permit. This will probably all shake out and change in time.
California does not recognize ANY state's carry permit and does not issue licenses to carry to non-residents.
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Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West