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California generally prohibits the open or concealed carriage of a handgun,
whether loaded or unloaded, in public locations.1 See Cal. Penal Code § 25400
(prohibiting concealed carry of a firearm); id. § 25850 (prohibiting carry of a
loaded firearm); id. § 26350 (prohibiting open carry of an unloaded firearm); see
also id. § 25605 (exempting the gun owner’s residence, other private property, and
place of business from section 25400 and section 26350).
Nonetheless, one may apply for a license in California to carry a concealed
weapon in the city or county in which he or she works or resides. Id. §§ 26150,
26155. To obtain such a license, the applicant must meet several requirements.
For example, one must demonstrate “good moral character,” complete a specified
training course, and establish “good cause.” Id. §§ 26150, 26155.
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There are a few narrow exceptions to this rule. Armored vehicle guards
and retired federal officers may carry a loaded firearm in public without meeting
stringent permitting requirements. See Cal. Penal Code § 26015 (armored vehicle
guards); id. § 26020 (retired federal officers). And a citizen may carry a loaded
firearm in public if: (1) he is engaged in the act of attempting to make a lawful
arrest; (2) he is hunting in locations where it is lawful to hunt; or (3) he faces
immediate, grave danger provided that the weapon is only carried in “the brief
interval” between the time law enforcement officials are notified of the danger and
the time they arrive on the scene (where the fleeing victim would obtain a gun
during that interval is apparently left to Providence). Id. § 26040 (hunting); id. §
26045 (immediate, grave danger); id. § 26050 (attempting to make a lawful arrest).
2