California Penal Code § 26150 PC outlines the eligibility requirements to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun from a county sheriff – or to carry a loaded and exposed handgun. As an applicant, you must
- be at least 21,
- own the gun for which the permit is being issued,
- have completed a firearms training course, and
- be a resident of the county or spend substantial time working in the county.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
26150. (a) When a person applies for a new license or license renewal to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, the sheriff of a county shall issue or renew a license to that person upon proof of all of the following:
(1) The applicant is not a disqualified person to receive such a license, as determined in accordance with the standards set forth in Section 26202.
(2) The applicant is at least 21 years of age, and presents clear evidence of the person’s identity and age, as defined in Section 16400.
(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. Prima facie evidence of residency within the county or a city within the county includes, but is not limited to, the address where the applicant is registered to vote, the applicant’s filing of a homeowner’s property tax exemption, and other acts, occurrences, or events that indicate presence in the county or a city within the county is more than temporary or transient. The presumption of residency in the county or city within the county may be rebutted by satisfactory evidence that the applicant’s primary residence is in another county or city within the county.
(4) The applicant has completed a course of training as described in Section 26165.
(5) The applicant is the recorded owner, with the Department of Justice, of the pistol, revolver, or other firearm for which the license will be issued.
(b) The sheriff shall issue or renew 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 at least 21,
- The applicant owns the gun for which the permit is being 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 license type is available only in counties with less than 200,000 people.2
Predictably, people 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. Senate Bill 2 (2023).
- 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.