Traveling to California

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Thread: Traveling to California

  1. #1
    Member Array Rangemaster's Avatar
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    Traveling to California

    My friends and I are planning a road trip to the pacific ocean, however, this means I have to go through an "unfriendly" state as far as gun laws go, California. As we are going to be camping out I definitely want to bring one of my pistols.

    Are there any Californians here that can spell out how I can legally possess the weapon while traveling/ camping? Do I have to adhere to the 10 rd mag limit?

    I assume it has to be unloaded and locked in the trunk or something similar and that my CHL is not valid there.

    Any feedback is appreciated.
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    VIP Member Array Pikachu711's Avatar
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    It would help to know what type camping you are considering while in Kalifornia. Will it be RV, tent, etc. camping and will you be camping in public campgrounds, national parks, private campgrounds, etc.

    A few more details will help us give you accurate answers to your questions.
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  4. #3
    Member Array Rangemaster's Avatar
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    As far as we have planned it will be tent camping at various national/state/public campgrounds. I'm fine with leaving it in the car, I just don't want my gun back in Texas if I need it.
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    VIP Member Array PatrioticRick's Avatar
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    Pacific Ocean huh? Go to Oregon or Washington your better off.
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    Thats what I told them!,I just wanted to go to Vegas and shoot off some MGs. However they have their heart set on Yosemite after hitting the coast so anyway we cut it I'm spending time in California. Going to that state is an unfortunate by product.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    In short: caution is due. If you're going to take your firearms, read up on the issues first.

    California has concealed firearm laws, and has loaded firearm laws. Essentially, in order to be kosher with the statutes, you need an "exception" to one or both of the applicable laws.

    For example, in California a resident of the state is simply not allowed to go walking around town with a loaded, concealed firearm. UNLESS, the activity falls under one of the "exceptions" ... such as, having a CHL, or having a reasonable belief of grievous danger due to someone violating a restraining order, etc.

    Check the California Penal Code's firearms statutes, here: click.

    That will call up this page: click, covering sections 12020-12040.

    Note sections 12020, 12025, 12026, 12031 specifically.

    12031. (a) (1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.

    ...

    (l) Nothing in this section shall prevent any person from having a loaded weapon, if it is otherwise lawful, at his or her place of residence, including any temporary residence or campsite.
    Also check sec. 12026.2 (11):

    12026.2
    ...
    (11) The transportation of a firearm by a person when going directly to, or coming directly from, a lawful camping activity for the purpose of having that firearm available for lawful personal protection while at the lawful campsite. This paragraph shall not be construed to override the statutory authority granted to the Department of Parks and Recreation or any other state or local governmental agencies to promulgate rules and regulations governing the administration of parks and campgrounds.
    In plain language, essentially:
    • Transport your firearm locked in the trunk of your vehicle, separate from ammo.
    • Feel free to have a loaded firearm at your place of temporary residence, while camping.
    • Be cautious about leaving your campsite, despite the fact that your activities are a legitimate extension of your camping experience.
    • Be cognizant of the tangle of various park, state and federal restrictions on the specific camping venue you choose to use, as those regulations might well override state law in this regard.
    • Yes, there's a 10rd magazine limit. Don't bring those 16rd bad boys, since you'll have a tough time explaining them if asked. (It's not what you did do, here, that's the problem. It's what you could do with 16rds that'll crucify you.)
    • Any travel to Yosemite or other National Park means you must have the guns locked in the trunk separated from ammo, and that the recent "credit card" ruling allowing NP carry won't apply for some time.

    Welcome to California ... a land where truly anything is possible (as evidenced by the firearms laws).

    Before heading there, I strongly recommend picking up a current copy of the following book: How To Own A Gun & Stay Out Of Jail (California): What you need to know about the law if you own a gun or are thinking of buying one, by John Machtinger (click). It helps make clear many of the twists and tangles that can get you in a legal wringer during your stay.

    Unfortunately, these are hard to come by, from outside the state. GunPress doesn't sell them online, though you can send a check to them. You'll find them in most gun shops, in Cali, though. Amazon has a couple 2008 copies, used: click. Fine, since the changes to 2009 are minimal (as can be seen on the GunPress web site).

    BTW, IANAL, though I lived there for years carrying with CHL and previously owning/shooting without CHL and having to navigate the tangle.
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    VIP Member Array swiftyjuan's Avatar
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    Rangemaster-
    ccw9mm gave you a good run down of the rules. Heck, I live here and can't keep track of them. On the good side, Yosemite is the east end of our county, so welcome! Give us a call!
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    Member Array Rangemaster's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses, especially ccw9mm. Sounds like to be on the safe side I'll just keep the weapon (its looking like my 1911 is making the trip due to its 9rd capacity) locked in the trunk at all times and ammo elsewhere. Perhaps the BGs will let me call time out and retrieve my weapon as per state law.

    The crazy thing about all this is it almost feels like I'm smuggling my legal firearm into California to protect myself.
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    VIP Member Array PatrioticRick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rangemaster View Post
    Thats what I told them!,I just wanted to go to Vegas and shoot off some MGs. However they have their heart set on Yosemite after hitting the coast so anyway we cut it I'm spending time in California. Going to that state is an unfortunate by product.
    Yosemite is overrated and way too many people in my opinion, so tell them if you go to Oregon or Washington you can go right through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, also on the way you can stop in Jackpot Nevada about an hour or so south of Twin Falls, Idaho and do some gambling Oh yeah did I mention MG's legal in Idaho.
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    Member Array Rivers's Avatar
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    Time to simplify this:

    Get a locking box like the COM gun boxes. You can keep your fully UNLOADED handgun as well as loaded magazines INSIDE that single locked box. It does not need to be in the trunk of the car. When you drive, you must keep the handgun in a locked container, in the condition as described above, and by statute your car's glove box or center console does not qualify as the locking container. 10+1 maximum capacity on handguns. (There are exceptions but for your case, this applies.)

    The COM boxes are great even in more gun-tolerant states. For example, you can't carry inside the secure area of ANY airport. If you have to leave your gun in your car, the COM box can be cable tethered to your seat base so no casual thief can walk away with your 1911. I bought four of them, all keyed alike, and keep a couple in each vehicle for such times when I can't carry.

    I believe that even your tent/campsite is legally considered your home as firearms go. I seem to remember a SCOTUS case that made that definition, but check for yourself to be sure. That would mean that inside your tent, you can keep your handgun ready to go, unlocked. When hiking with a backpack, keep the COM case in your pack. When in doubt, check with the park personnel.

    Last item, if you are stopped and LEO asks if you have any firearms in your vehicle, simply reply that you have nothing illegal in your car. Do not answer yes or no, just that you have nothing illegal. LEO is fishing. If he does not see gun cases or ammo boxes, he has no probable cause for a search. You should also read on www.calguns.net for more complete info. CA is not bad if you know some tricks to navigating the maze. Well, maybe the maze itself make it bad, but it is survivable. And tell your friends that no matter what they say, our SoCal weather rules!

  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array PastorPack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rivers View Post
    Time to simplify this:

    Get a locking box like the COM gun boxes. You can keep your fully UNLOADED handgun as well as loaded magazines INSIDE that single locked box. It does not need to be in the trunk of the car. When you drive, you must keep the handgun in a locked container, in the condition as described above, and by statute your car's glove box or center console does not qualify as the locking container. 10+1 maximum capacity on handguns. (There are exceptions but for your case, this applies.)

    The COM boxes are great even in more gun-tolerant states. For example, you can't carry inside the secure area of ANY airport. If you have to leave your gun in your car, the COM box can be cable tethered to your seat base so no casual thief can walk away with your 1911. I bought four of them, all keyed alike, and keep a couple in each vehicle for such times when I can't carry.

    I believe that even your tent/campsite is legally considered your home as firearms go. I seem to remember a SCOTUS case that made that definition, but check for yourself to be sure. That would mean that inside your tent, you can keep your handgun ready to go, unlocked. When hiking with a backpack, keep the COM case in your pack. When in doubt, check with the park personnel.

    Last item, if you are stopped and LEO asks if you have any firearms in your vehicle, simply reply that you have nothing illegal in your car. Do not answer yes or no, just that you have nothing illegal. LEO is fishing. If he does not see gun cases or ammo boxes, he has no probable cause for a search. You should also read on Calguns.net for more complete info. CA is not bad if you know some tricks to navigating the maze. Well, maybe the maze itself make it bad, but it is survivable. And tell your friends that no matter what they say, our SoCal weather rules!
    Good advice here. Yes, your tent, camper, rv is your house, but that only applie if you are not camping in a guns prohibited area. National forest/BLM: no problem. State Park: technically you have to have a CA CCW. National Park: Law allowing this doesn't apply until Feb 10, 2010 and you have to have a valid CCW in the state with the Park.
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    Member Array Ananael's Avatar
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    There at least used to be an exception in California for going to or from a hunting or fishing expedition, whereby you could open carry for the trip. Not sure if it still exists, though. Wouldn't help you in Yosemite, anyways, as that's a federal park. Still, consider throwing a fishing pole in with your stuff to give yourself a possible legal loop if you get in any trouble...

    (California escapee, btw.)

  14. #13
    Member Array Rivers's Avatar
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    Just came across this posting which addresses many of the OP's questions:

    Firearms in Forests and Parks - Calguns.net

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    Member Array Ananael's Avatar
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    *2 - Unloaded Concealed Carry is legal for licensed hunters/fishermen, while traveling to/from hunting/fishing trips

    That's what I was remembering, if poorly, but it apparently doesn't apply in Yosemite...
    Great site!

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