Is it Legal to Keep a Gun Safe in Your Car in California?

As a gun owner in California, you must comply with the state’s strict gun laws. How much do you know about gun laws and regulations in the said state?

One of the most crucial components of responsible gun ownership is keeping your firearm locked while not in use.

Any gun owner in California is required by law to safely store their handgun when it is not in their possession to avoid unlawful access. 

Failing to comply with these regulations can result in severe legal consequences.

I will discuss the gun regulations in California and give readers all the essential details on how to carry a gun safe safely in California. No crucial information will be left out.

Let us maintain being responsible gun owners by abiding by laws and regulations.

Types of Gun Safes You Can Keep in Your Car in California 

Gun safety and storage regulations protect firearms from the wrong hands.

California has some of the harshest gun rules in the country, and it is critical to follow them to avoid legal issues.

Below is a list of allowable gun safes in the said state. 

1. Portable Gun Safes

One of the most popular types is a portable gun safe allowed in California, which can easily be moved from one location to another.

Portable safes come in various sizes and can be made of steel or other durable materials. Some have a combination lock, while others come with a key.

2. Biometric Gun Safes

Biometric safes are becoming increasingly popular due to their advanced security features.

They use fingerprint recognition technology to ensure that only authorized individuals can access the contents of the safe.

Biometric safes are typically more expensive than other types, but their added security is worth the investment.

California Laws About Firearms in Vehicles 

According to California law, all firearms must be stored in a closed container or secured with a locking system that renders the handgun useless. This is true for both handguns and long firearms. 

Transporting a firearm in California can be a complex process. Before traveling with your firearm, you should be aware of the following: 

1. Unloaded Guns: Your firearm must be unloaded during transport. This means there can be no rounds in the chamber or the magazine.

2. Locked container: Your firearm must be stored in a locked container or gun safe during transport. The container must be separate from the ammunition.

3. Trunk: If you’re transporting your firearm in a car, it must be stored in the trunk. If your vehicle lacks a trunk, the firearm must be kept in a lockable container in the trunk.

4. Concealed carry permit: You must have a valid concealed carry permit to carry your handgun.

If you own a firearm, it is your obligation to keep it properly and securely kept.

You may face criminal penalties if you fail to do so and someone is wounded or killed by your firearm. You may face civil guilt and criminal prosecution if someone is hurt or killed while using your firearm.

It’s important to note that California’s gun storage regulations are not limited to your home.

If you plan on traveling with your firearm, you must ensure it is stored safely and securely during transport. You must use a gun safe or other secure storage devices when transporting your firearm.

Concealed Carry Laws in California

Carrying a concealed firearm in a motor vehicle is usually illegal in California unless the handgun is in a locked container in the trunk or the individual has a valid concealed weapons license.

California has strict laws regarding concealed carry permits. To obtain a concealed carry permit in California, you must meet specific requirements, including:

1. Good cause

You must demonstrate a good cause for carrying a concealed firearm. This can include personal protection, employment, or other factors.

2. Training

You must know the basic firearm safety rules and complete a firearms safety course and demonstrate proficiency with your firearm.

3. Background check

You must pass a background check and have no criminal convictions.

Consequences of Violating California’s Gun Laws 

Violating California’s gun laws can result in severe legal consequences. Depending on the offense, you may face fines, jail time, or the loss of your firearm.

Here are some of the penalties for violating California’s gun laws:

1. Carrying a loaded firearm in public: This offense is a felony and can result in up to three years in jail.

2. Possession of an assault weapon: This offense is a felony and can result in up to eight years in jail.

3. Providing a firearm to a minor: This offense is a misdemeanor and can result in up to one year in jail.

Best Practices for Gun Safe in California

Gun safety is of utmost importance for gun owners in California. Storing firearms securely and safely is essential to prevent unauthorized access and ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands.

As a responsible gun owner, it is your duty to adhere to the standards for storing guns safely, and here are the common best practices for gun safe in California.

1. Invest in a high-quality gun safe. 

A gun safe is ideal for protecting your firearms from children and unauthorized individuals.

A good gun safe should be sturdy, heavy, and tamper-proof. It should also be fire-resistant and have a locking mechanism that is easy to operate yet secure.

2. Know and follow the law.

Adhering to the law is one of the most important practices a responsible gun owner must exercise.

Know the rules and regulations in the state and provide the necessary papers before purchasing firearms. 

3. Use a secure gun safe.

Gun safes serve not just as a storage for firearms and ammunition but, most importantly, as safety and security measures to keep your guns away from unauthorized use. 

4. Keep your gun safe in a secure location.

It is also essential to keep your gun safe in an area that is not easily accessible to unauthorized individuals. The ideal location for a gun safe is a place that is out of sight and away from high-traffic areas.

This will prevent prying eyes from seeing your firearms and reduce the chances of theft.

5. Educate your family members.

Educating your family members and children about the importance of gun safety is extremely important. They should understand the potential danger of firearms and the importance of keeping them locked up in a gun safe.

This will help to prevent any accidental discharge of the firearm and promote responsible gun ownership.


As a gun owner in California, it’s essential to stay up-to-date on the state’s strict gun laws. One of the most important aspects of responsible gun ownership is ensuring your firearm is secured when not used. 

If you plan to travel with your gun, you must know how to transport it safely. By understanding California’s gun laws and regulations, you can avoid legal pitfalls and ensure you always comply with the law. 

Responsible gun ownership is not just a right; it’s a responsibility! 


Can I legally store a gun safe in my car in California?

Yes. As long as you follow the laws and regulations regarding transporting or carrying unloaded guns, storing gun safe in a car wouldn’t be an issue. 

Does California have any restrictions on the size of the gun safe I can keep in my car?

Yes, for an unloaded, openly carried a long rifle, but no for a pistol. You must move a pistol between two locations where you can legally possess the handgun.

Can I transport a loaded firearm in a gun safe in my car in California?

In California, transporting a loaded firearm in a gun safe inside your car is strictly prohibited. It is best to store ammunition in a separate safe or locker. This will prevent any accidental discharge of the firearm.

Do I need a permit to keep a gun safe in my car in California?

Even if you keep a firearm in a locked container inside your vehicle for self-defense purposes, it is against the law to carry it without a permit. The regulations for handguns also extend to the conveyance of “assault weapons.”


Wikipedia Contributors. “Gun Laws in California.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Aug. 2019,

Bonta, Rob. “Firearm Safety.” State of California – Department of Justice – Office of the Attorney General, 30 July 2017,

USCCA Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & U.S. Gun Laws | USCCA.

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