You have a right to own a firearm for lawful purposes (like self defense), and the government may not unnecessarily restrict this right. However, like most rights, the right to own a firearm is NOT absolute, and the government may place SOME restrictions on it.1U.S. Constitution, 2nd amendmentDISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER (2008)
478 F. 3d 370


UPDATE: New gun control laws will take effect January 1, 2017.


1. Who may not own a firearm?

Throughout the country, you may not own any kind of gun if you2U.S. Code Title 18, Section 922(g):

  • have been convicted of a felony3crime that involves possible punishment of more than 1 year or any crime involving domestic violence
  • are a fugitive from justice
  • illegally use any drug or are addicted to any drug
  • have been determined by a court to be mentally ill or have been committed to a mental institution
  • are not a citizen or legal permanent resident (in other words, you must either be a citizen or have a green card to own a firearm; but see exceptions)
  • have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • renounced your American citizenship
  • are subject to a restraining order related to an intimate partner and/or partner’s child

In the city of L.A., minors (under 18) may not own guns.4LAMC 45.01

2. Where are firearms prohibited?

L.A. City parks.5LAMC 63.44 B 21

3. Handguns

In the City of LA:

  • You may not carry (have on your person) or fire a firearm within the city of LA unless you have a permit from the Board of Police Commissioners.6LAMC Sec 55.00, 55.01
  • Permits must be renewed every year.7LAMC 55.02
  • You may not purchase more than one handgun within a 30 day period.8LAMC 55.14

4. Long guns

  • Whenever a “long gun” is transferred through a dealer it will automatically be registered to the receiving individual9Cal. Penal Code 11106 and 28160
  • For transactions that do not require a dealer, the recipient of the long gun will need to register it with the California Department of Justice10see generally Cal Penal Code Sec. 27860-28000

5. Assault weapons

  • It is illegal to possess, manufacture, sell, buy, or give away any large-capacity magazine.11Cal Penal Code Sec. 32310

6. Threats of violence

  • A person who communicates serious threats of physical violence against an identifiable victim to a psychotherapist is prohibited from owning and possessing firearms for 5 years.  The psychotherapist is required to report the threat to law enforcement within 24 hours.  A person prohibited this way may petition for the restoration of their firearm rights.12California Welfare and Institutions Code sections 8100 and 8105
  • Beginning Jan 1, 2016, family members or law enforcement will be able to get a court order to take a person’s guns away if that person is deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

7. Other weapons

Switchblades: it is illegal to make, sell, distribute, or possess a switchblade throughout the country, with some exceptions.13exceptions relate to the Armed Forces or individuals with only one arm; see 15 USC Sections 1242-44

Rules specific to City of LA:

  • You may not carry a knife (with at least 3″ blade) in public unless it is concealed. This does NOT apply where a person is wearing or carrying a knife or dagger for use in a lawful occupation, for lawful recreational purposes, or as a recognized religious practice, or while the person is traveling to or returning from participation in such activity.14LAMC 55.10
  • You may not use a bow and arrow, including crossbow, within the city of LA, except at an established target range.15LAMC Sec 55.06

References   [ + ]