Obtaining a License to Carry a Firearm in Public

Generally, the only lawful way to carry a firearm in public for self-defense in California is with a license to carry a concealed “weapon” (“LTC” or “CCW”). These licenses can be issued by a Sheriff or Police Chief.

If you are simply seeking general information about the process for obtaining a CCW or about common problems faced by applicants, the links to the reference materials posted below should direct you to answers to your questions.  These materials include information about the applicable laws, issuing authorities’ duties, and CCW issuance policies (to the extent they are available) for the various California jurisdictions.

Michel & Associates, P.C. receives numerous inquiries from individuals interested in applying for these licenses, in joining our current lawsuits challenging restrictions on license issuance, or in bringing a lawsuit because they have been denied a license. Our office typically does not currently take cases to assist individuals in obtaining a CCW, for two reasons:

First, as currently interpreted by most courts, the Penal Code grants broad discretion to law enforcement concerning whether to issue a CCW. Jurisdictions that rarely issue CCWs constitute a systemic problem. The actions of those jurisdictions typically need to be addressed through litigation designed to create systemic change for all CCW applicants in the jurisdiction, not just for an individual applicant.

Second, the standardized CCW application that is used in all California jurisdictions is not overly complex. Usually individuals do not need the assistance of an attorney to fill it out. In jurisdictions that issue CCWs freely, the issuing authority will be inclined to issue, and may even help you complete the paperwork. And if the jurisdiction is pre-disposed to not issue, our assistance generally makes little difference in the determination of whether to issue a license (unless the applicant plainly meets the particular jurisdiction’s written policy criteria).

Michel & Associates, P.C. is currently engaged in litigation designed to force CCW issuing authorities across the state to respect the fundamental right to bear arms in exercising their discretion, and to issue CCWs liberally. We have had some great success in this effort. For example, recently in the case of Peruta v. San Diego County, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the “good cause” requirement for issuing CCWs must be deemed satisfied where the applicant asserts a desire for self-defense. If the Peruta decision stands, this would remove what has traditionally been the main obstacle to obtaining a CCW, (i.e. establishing “good cause”) in jurisdictions that don’t want to issue CCWs. The Peruta decision, however, is not final. You can read about its status here.

We are compiling a database of interested persons who have been denied a CCW for possible use in later legal actions against recalcitrant jurisdictions. If you are interested in being considered as a potential plaintiff in a future CCW lawsuit, please contact our office at (562) 216-4444 or helpdesk@michellawyers.com and we will email you a form to complete so your information can be saved in our database. We will use the information to determine whether, when, and where future lawsuits are appropriate.

Please read the below materials before contacting us with additional questions about CCWs.

General Information – Read These Materials First
California CCW FAQ
California Sheriff and Local Police Department Carry License Policies and Information
Standard Application for License to Carry a Concealed Weapon
Carry Concealed Weapon License Amendment – BOF 4502
Senate Bill 610’s New Requirements for Processing Applications for Licenses to Carry Handguns Effective January 1, 2012
NRA Victory in the Peruta “Shall-Issue” California CCW Case, What Does it Mean? What Happens Next?

Michel & Associates CCW Database
Michel & Associates CCW Denial Database Application
Letter for Denial via Lack of Good Cause But No Policy Information
Letter for Denial Without Any Information

Significant Court Cases
Peruta v. San Diego
McKay v. Hutchens
Baker v. Kealoha
Bateman v. Perdue
Birdt v. Beck
Bonidy v. US Postal Service
Davis v. Grimes
Drake v. Jerejian
Hightower v. Boston
Jacobs v. Reed
Jennings v. McGraw
Lajous v. Bruning
Lu v. Baca
Nichols v. Brown
Osterweil v. Bartlett
Palmer v. District of Columbia
Peterson v. LaCabe
Raulinaitis v. Ventura County Sheriff Department
Raulinaitis v. LASD
Richards v. Prieto
Rothery v. Blanas
Shepard v. Madigan
Thomson v. Torrance Police Department
Kachalsky v. Cacace
Woollard v. Sheridan

Young v. Hawaii

Reports on Licenses to Carry Firearms in Public
Violence Policy Center’s Attack on CCWs
Clayton Cramer’s Response to Violence Policy Center re CCWs
NRA’s History of California CCWs
California 2010 CCW Statistics by County
GAO Report on CCW: Highlights
GAO Report on CCW: Full Report 

If, for whatever reason, you feel your specific CCW-related question is not addressed by the materials provided above, feel free to contact us at helpdesk@michellawyers.com.

To be kept up to date about current CCW litigation and policy changes in California, please subscribe to our firearms law newsletter. As we become aware of other helpful sources of information, we will post them. If you find sources you believe we should add to our references list, please let us know.