Man carrying handgun in back pocket

Openly Carrying a Firearm – CA Penal Code

Back pocket of man carrying handgunCalifornia Penal Code 26350 prohibits openly carrying a firearm, included an unloaded handgun. Prior to 2012, an unloaded gun could be carried openly by anyone with a legal permit. The open carry of a firearm provision to California’s gun laws included using a holster as long as the gun was visible. Until the law changed, carrying an unloaded gun in the open, not concealed, was allowed in any areas where firearms weren’t prohibited.


Any firearm worn under clothing or otherwise hidden counts as a concealed weapon. In January 1, 2012, California Assembly Bill 144 ended the open carry exception. Under present law as stated in Penal Code 26350, it’s illegal to openly carry loaded or unloaded handguns in public.

The Penalties for Open Carry

Openly carrying an unloaded firearm in public is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.  If you find yourself arrested for this offense, an experienced bail bondsman can help you secure a quick release from jail.  Charges and penalties for carrying a loaded weapon in public (Penal Code 25850 PC) or a concealed weapon ( Penal Code 25400 PC) are separate.
The only exceptions allowing for legally carrying a firearm, provided the individual has a permit under Penal Code 26150 or 26155 PC, are for transporting it in a locked container within a vehicle or in a car’s trunk, or in the case of long firearms such as rifles that can’t be concealed on the body.

Arrest for carrying a Handgun or Other Firearm

A person arrested for violating California Penal Code 26350 is taken to a local police station and booked on the charge. The process can involve an interview, fingerprinting, being photographed and cooperating with the process of filling out forms and reports. There is often a delay between the booking and the availability of any information on the arrested person. The jail often won’t be able to give out any information until the booking details are in the computer system.

What to Do About an Arrest

A weapons or firearms charge can lead to serious consequences and result in the person being held in jail until an arraignment hearing date. In the case of someone jailed on a charge of openly carrying a firearm, obtaining a bail bond can provide a convenient solution. It’s often possible to obtain the jailed person’s release within a matter of hours, depending on the specific jail. The consequences of not posting bond is that the person charged remains in jail until arraignment.

The Law on Open Carry in California & Obtaining Release From Jail

Although the specifics of gun control laws in California remain controversial, becoming familiar with the CA penal code that prohibits open carry of unloaded and loaded weapons will reduce the risk of legal complications. When it’s too late for hind site to do any good, a bail bond offers a way to smooth the process of dealing with the charge. It’s possible to start the bail bond process from home by fax or email to save time. California has a bail bond fee of 10 percent, meaning that 10 percent of the amount being charged for bail is enough to obtain release.

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