View Full Version : Question on unloaded carry in a motor vehicle

Bowhunter Bill
03-29-2011, 6:27 PM
Hi, I've lurked on Calguns in the past, decided to join today and make post #1 a question.

CA penal code Section 12025 says in part:

(a) A person is guilty of carrying a concealed firearm when
he or she does any of the following:
(1) Carries concealed within any vehicle which is under his or her
control or direction any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable
of being concealed upon the person.
(2) Carries concealed upon his or her person any pistol, revolver,
or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
(3) Causes to be carried concealed within any vehicle in which he
or she is an occupant any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable
of being concealed upon the person.

This is what I believe is the code that requires one to unload the pistol, and put it into a locked case, with the ammunition transported unattached to the weapon (or magazine).

However, California Penal Code Section 12027 says in part:

Section 12025 does not apply to, or affect, any of the
(a) (1) (A) Any peace officer.........

<And then, these 2 exceptions>

(f) Members of any club or organization organized for the purpose
of practicing shooting at targets upon established target ranges,
whether public or private, while the members are using pistols,
revolvers, or other firearms capable of being concealed upon the
person upon the target ranges, or transporting these firearms
unloaded when going to and from the ranges.

(g) Licensed hunters or fishermen carrying pistols, revolvers, or
other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person while
engaged in hunting or fishing, or transporting those firearms
unloaded when going to or returning from the hunting or fishing

I called California Highway Patrol this am, and asked about CA law to legally transport my pistol. He very nicely told me about unloaded, locked case, etc.

When I asked about 12027 (g) and said I am a hunter, when I'm going to or returning from a hunting "expedition", the law says the gun must be unloaded, but need not be in a locked case. He said "well yes, but that's an old law from when California was a rural state...." I advised him that it's still on the books, so according to the 12027 (g), I can carry my 45 unloaded on the seat of the vehicle, IF I'm going to or returning from hunting. He said "yes".

I've always put my gun in the case and locked it up, and unlocked when I arrive on private property to hunt pigs. This seems to say very clearly that I can carry in my vehicle (unloaded).

The (f) section is more interesting. If somebody were to join a pistol club or organization, and could have a defensible argument that they were traveling to or from the range, they too would not have to lock up the unloaded pistol.


Hunt hard, life's too short.


03-29-2011, 6:30 PM
You still have an issue of gun free school zones to worry about regardless. You'd have to ensure your route during your entire trip never comes within 1,000 feet of any school, many of which are not marked with signs. Otherwise I believe you are correct, though I'd recommend against it. Even if you are driving on the freeway you can still pass within a GFSZ unknowingly and be in violation.

03-29-2011, 7:32 PM
Unloaded open carry in a car is no different from unloaded open carry on the street - not violating either 12025 (concealed) or 12031 (loaded) - except it also includes 'open carry on the seat of the car' with 'open carry in a holster on your belt'.

It has all of the same drawbacks as well, the major one already pointed out by stix213.

Bowhunter Bill
03-29-2011, 7:56 PM
Good point about the schools. Thanks for comments.

03-29-2011, 9:58 PM
I believe the practice is called "open transport" if displayed openly but not on your person. It's explained in the CGF wiki.

03-29-2011, 11:01 PM
As stated above, it is legal to unloaded open carry in a vehicle without locking up your gun or ammunition, however if you go through a victim disarmament zone, you'll have to have it locked up prior.

The law specifically states you are not guilty of concealing a firearm if it is in a locked container. It makes no mention of openly carrying or displaying, therefore making it legal until written otherwise. The unloaded portion of the law still applies as well.