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Can I Legally Carry My Handgun in My Car?

Posted by Robert Lee Hamilton | Nov 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Assuming there are no State or Federal restrictions on owning a firearm registered to you and you do not have a concealed carry license – how do you move the firearm from one location to another in California?

In California a concealed firearm (for which you do not have a concealed weapons permit) can only be legally transported via a motor vehicle by carrying it:

1) while in lawful possession of the gun (i.e., with permission of the lawful owner, etc.);
2) while the gun is unloaded; and
3) while the gun is locked in the vehicle's trunk or in a separate locked container other than the utility or glove compartment. If the vehicle does not have a trunk, it must be carried in a "locked container" separate from the utility or glove compartment.

"Locked container,” means a secure container, which is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device. This includes the trunk of a motor vehicle, but does not include the utility or glove compartment. See California Penal Code section 16850.

It is legal to carry ammunition within the same motor vehicle or compartment of the vehicle in which the gun is located, so long as the gun is not loaded and the ammunition is not attached to the gun in any manner.

Important Note: It is illegal to carry a gun without a permit, even when the gun is in a locked container of your car, for general purposes such as self-defense. Citizens are only allowed to transport firearms from one specific location to another (i.e., such as to a shooting range, gun shop, hunting, taking it home, etc).

Gun Laws are complex and easy to violate. Make sure you know and understand the laws and have taken the proper safety courses before possessing a firearm. Check with the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) if you have questions. A copy of their pamphlet “Summary of California Gun Laws & Basic Safety Rules” is available at

The NRA's Website is:

About the Author

Robert Lee Hamilton

My goal is to defend or represent your rights as though they were my own. In other words, my goal is to pursue every legal process possible on your behalf and to act as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Call me for a free CONFIDENTIAL consultation and I will examine your legal situation and discuss your legal options.


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Attorney Robert Hamilton

My name is Robert Lee Hamilton and I'm a California DUI, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury and Landlord-Tenant Lawyer.