California: Fourth-Worst State in Which to Own a Gun

Guns in California (David McNew / Getty)
David McNew / Getty

California is ranked as the fourth-worst state for gun owners in Guns & Ammo magazine’s annual listings of the best and worst states in which to own a gun.

The assessment was based on many factors–from concealed carry laws, to self-defense/Castle Doctrine laws, to “Black Rifle” laws (laws on guns like AR-15s, AK-47s, etc.) and National Firearms Act (NFA) allowances, among other things.

NFA allowances include whether machine guns, suppressors, short barreled shotguns, etc., are legal in a given state.

According to Guns & Ammo, while many states have been fighting to reduce gun restrictions to allow residents to better defend themselves in the event of a heinous crime like the Sandy Hook Elementary attack, the Aurora movie theater shooting, or Elliot Rodger’s May 2014 Santa Barbara stabbing and shooting spree, California has been “moving full steam ahead” with more and more restrictions.

Guns & Ammo cites California’s “10-day waiting period,” which “is imposed on all firearms acquisitions.” The magazine points to the fact that California requires all guns to be registered and that “tactical-looking rifles (i.e., black rifles) are restricted.” Moreover, the mere possession of certain magazines is banned in some municipalities–Los Angeles, most recently–and “most NFA items, including suppressors, are not allowed.”

Gun storage laws are also increasing in California. These laws vary slightly from municipality to municipality, but have in common the requirement that a gun owner lock up his or her guns while in the home unless those guns are on the owner’s person or within reach.

Concealed carry is limited to those who can show “good cause” for carrying a gun, and California legislators are currently pushing to limit concealed carry even further by barring anyone with a concealed permit from carrying on a college campus for self-defense.

To better understand just how restrictive these laws are, contrast California with neighboring Arizona, Guns & Ammo‘s number 1 best state for gun owners. In Arizona residents can carry guns openly or concealed, with or without a permit; there is no waiting period for gun purchases,;you can own machine guns, silencers, and other NFA items; and “black rifle” restrictions are nil. Magazine capacity restrictions are also non-existent.

Moreover, self-defense laws are strong in Arizona, written in a way that keeps the citizen in a position where he or she can do what needs to be done to defend life and property when such a need arises.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at



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