car transport in CA
I'm reading up on the laws, but am not 100% clear about them, so I have a few questions that I hope some of you can answer. My questions are from a common citizen's point of view...not law inforcement, not CCW liscensed, not military.
1. The firearm needs to be unloaded, and in a locked container in the trunk (if you have one, or resting on the back seat floor if there is no trunk), but for handguns that contain a magazine, does that magazine have to be unloaded also, or just not inserted into the gun?
2. Does loose ammo have to be outside of the locked container in another location within the vehicle?
3. If you are traveling anywhere other than to hunt or to a shooting range, is it illegal to have the firearm in the vehicle EVEN IF ALL OTHER LAWS for transport ARE FOLLOWED??
4. Can you lawfully have an UNLOADED firearm at your campsite if it is in a State Park or National Forest? (consider the "loaded, but loose magazine factor also)
5. Are the answers to any of the above questions different for a rifle or shotgun?
Thanks for any input you can give!!!
I don't know CA laws, and undoubtedly you will get good responses from some of the members, but I want to add that I would STRONGLY suggest contacting the AG office and getting the answers directly from them. Internet boards are nice, but the information can be wrong. Hate to see you get in hot water because you got information that was a bit off. I'm sure the defense of, "But BangBang2008 on HandGunForum said it was legal" won't be much of a defense if you unknowingly break the law. :mrgreen:
Point taken! I look into that contact information...
First off, what Todd said. Check the laws out for YOURSELF!
Having said that, the law in California as discussed on the Att'y General / DOJ website seems pretty simple. Here is the text:
Traveling with Firearms in California
California Penal Code section 12025 does not prevent a citizen of the United States over 18 years of age who is not lawfully prohibited from firearm possession, and who resides or is temporarily in California, from transporting by motor vehicle any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person provided the firearm is unloaded and stored in a locked container.
The term "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. For more information, refer to California Penal Code Section 12026.1.
SHOTGUNS AND RIFLES
Nonconcealable firearms (rifles and shotguns) are not generally covered within the provisions of California Penal Code section 12025 and therefore are not required to be transported in a locked container. However, as with any firearm, nonconcealable firearms must be unloaded while they are being transported. A rifle or shotgun that is defined as an assault weapon pursuant to Penal Code 12276 or 12276.1 must be transported in accordance with Penal Code section 12026.1.
If you notice, the trunk itself is deemed a "locked container". Out of caution I would consider any ammo residing in the same locked container as the firearms would result in the guns being considered loaded. Therefore when I transport my firearms I have the guns themselves in a locked container (bag or box) within the trunk. This way, even though the ammo is in another bag in the trunk it is not in the same locked container as the guns (I hope this makes sense, it does in my head). I keep the magazines unloaded, and with the ammo, not with the guns, again just to be cautious that I'm legal. But I guess a magazine is really just part of the gun so as long as it is empty, it's probably OK. I think this addresses your #1 &2.
#3: The DOJ text does not appear to limit you to "to and from" hunting or the range.
#4: I don't know about state parks. In regard to Federal lands it has been a long time (way too long to depend on this) but as I recall there were differences between a "Park" and a "Forest". It used to be anyway, that no firearms were allowed period in a Federal Park, but they were OK (doubtless with limitations and restrictions) in a Federal Forest. Can't really help you with this one.
#5: Long guns are addressed in the above text.
Here's the link to the AG/DOJ website containing the above text:
HOPE THIS HELPS.
Unc, your question got me thinking, so I went in to my local Sheriff Office today and have an update. The Sargeant told me the gun is NOT considered loaded just because it is in the same bag as the ammo. He said it is no problem to transport all your range gear, including the firearms and ammo, in one bag or container. The container need NOT be locked if it's in the trunk since the trunk is itself considered a locked container. He also said that it is OK for an empty magazine to be in the gun. Likewise it is OK for a loaded magazine to be in the bag, but obviously it must not be in the gun. While this seems obvious, he also stated that a loaded magazine in the gun is a loaded weapon even if there is no round in the pipe, so natuarally this is a no-no. Incidentally, you are not restricted in your comings and goings.
Naturally, consult for yourself with your local LE.
Thanks for this post, because it caused me to research this for myself. I can now feel comfortable throwing all my stuff in one bag when I go to the range and not have to worry about locks, keys, separate containers and all that. That simplifies things for me though I think I will still keep the mags out when traveling.
This should answer your question about campsites:
"Any person over the age of 18 who is not prohibited from possessing firearms, and if otherwise
lawful, may keep and carry a firearm or have a firearm loaded at his or her place of residence,
temporary residence, campsite, or on private property owned or lawfully possessed by the person.
(Penal Code §§ 12026, 12031(h) and (l).) Any person engaged in any lawful business (including
nonprofit organizations) or any officer, employee, or agent authorized for lawful purposes connected
with the business may possess a loaded firearm within the place of business if that person is
over 18 years of age and not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms. (Penal Code §§ 12026,
NOTE: A person’s place of business, residence, temporary residence, campsite, or private property
may be located in areas where possession of handguns or other firearms, whether loaded or
unloaded, is otherwise prohibited. Such areas include, but are not limited to, state, federal, or private
game reserves or refuges, federal and state parks, and other public lands. Questions regarding the
applicability of such laws should be directed to your sheriff or chief of police, federal or state fish
and game officers, or federal or state park rangers."
Here's the link: http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/Cfl2007.pdf
Well, upon a little further research I think I will padlock my range bag. It is OK unlocked in a locked trunk but when carrying the firearms to and from the vehicle they must be in a locked container (or I suppose it would be considered concealed carry). From 12026.1 of the CA penal code, #2, Here's the text and link to the code:
"(2) The firearm is carried by the person directly to or from any
motor vehicle for any lawful purpose and, while carrying the firearm,
the firearm is contained within a locked container."
I'm not too worried about going from my house-car-range and back, but technically it seems it would be illegal outside the vehicle if the bag isn't locked, so lock it I will.
Thanks for that research and info Wyatt. That helps alot, and I will still talk to my local station as you suggested.