Is It Legal To Keep A Gun In My Car In California?

Is It Legal To Keep A Gun In My Car In California?

by Jan 14, 2020

If you want to keep a gun in your car in California, there are several laws that you must follow to avoid being arrested and charged with a crime. While keeping a loaded firearm in your home is perfectly legal, the laws are different for your vehicle. It also depends on what type of firearm you want to keep in your car, as the laws are different for rifles and handguns.

Keeping A Handgun Or Pistol In Your Car

California has stringent laws against carrying a concealed firearm. To legally keep a handgun in your car, the gun must:

  1. Be unloaded
  2. Be carried in the locked trunk of your car, or a locked case or container within your vehicle

Both of those conditions must be met to avoid being charged with carrying a concealed weapon in California. You cannot, for example, keep a loaded handgun in the glove compartment of your car or under the seat.

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Keeping Rifles And Shotguns In Your Car

Rifles and shotguns are classified as non-concealable firearms in California. This means they are not subject to the same requirements as handguns.

Rifles and shotguns do not need to be kept or transported in a locked container in your vehicle. However, they must be unloaded whenever they are in your car.

Penalties For Carrying Concealed Firearms In California

If you are an otherwise upstanding citizen with no previous criminal record, carrying a concealed firearm is a misdemeanor in California. The penalties if you’re convicted are up to a year in county jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

However, you will be charged with felony concealed firearm possession if:

  • You have a prior felony conviction in California
  • The firearm is stolen and you knew or suspected it was stolen
  • You do not lawfully possess the firearm
  • You are actively involved in a criminal gang

Felony concealed firearm possession is punishable by up to three years in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

When To Call An Attorney

If you are arrested for keeping a gun in your car, you should contact an attorney immediately. The laws concerning police searches of vehicles are complex, and a good attorney can help defend you against unlawful searches and seizures.

At Quinnan Law, we are passionate defenders of the second amendment, and we’ve successfully defended many clients whose second amendment rights were violated. To learn how we can help you, please contact our office today for a free consultation.


At Quinnan Law, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 540-2356.

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