California Penal Code 26150 PC outlines the eligibility requirements to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun – or to carry a loaded and exposed handgun – from a county sheriff. The applicant must 1) have good moral character, 2) have good cause to get the license, 3) have completed a firearms training course, and 4) be a resident of the county or spend substantial time working in the county.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
26150 PC. (a) When a person applies for a license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, the sheriff of a county may issue a license to that person upon proof of all of the following:
(1) The applicant is of good moral character.
(2) Good cause exists for issuance of the license.
(3) The applicant is a resident of the county or a city within the county, or the applicant’s principal place of employment or business is in the county or a city within the county and the applicant spends a substantial period of time in that place of employment or business.
(4) The applicant has completed a course of training as described in Section 26165.
(b) The sheriff may issue a license under subdivision (a) in either of the following formats:
(1) A license to carry concealed a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
(2) Where the population of the county is less than 200,000 persons according to the most recent federal decennial census, a license to carry loaded and exposed in only that county a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
(c)(1) Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the sheriff of the county from entering into an agreement with the chief or other head of a municipal police department of a city to process all applications for licenses, renewals of licenses, or amendments to licenses pursuant to this chapter, in lieu of the sheriff.
(2) This subdivision shall only apply to applicants who reside within the city in which the chief or other head of the municipal police department has agreed to process applications for licenses, renewals of licenses, and amendments to licenses, pursuant to this chapter.
Under 26150 PC, California sheriffs may issue permits to carry handguns if the following four conditions are met:
- The person applying for the permit is of good moral character.
- There is good cause for the permit to be issued.
- The applicant completed a course of firearm training. And,
- The applicant is either a resident of the county, or his/her principal place of business is in the county and he/she spends substantial time there.1
There are two types of gun licenses that sheriffs may issue. The first is a CCW-type permit, allowing the license-holder to carry a concealed handgun on his/her person. The second is a license to carry the handgun loaded and exposed; but note that this type of license is available only in counties with less than 200,000 people.2
Predictably, people who are prohibited from having firearms are not eligible for either of these licenses to carry firearms. Common disqualifiers for gun possession include that the person has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence, or that the person is a drug addict.3
- California Penal Code 26150 PC – License to Carry Concealed Weapon; Issuance by Sheriff. Gifford v. City of Los Angeles (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 2001), 88 Cal. App. 4th 801, 106 Cal. Rptr. 2d 164.
- 26150 PC. Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriffs’ Assn. v. County of Stanislaus (Cal. App. 5th Dist., 2016), 205 Cal. Rptr. 3d 847, 2 Cal. App. 5th 368.
- 18 U.S. Code § 922.