What are Gun Laws in San Francisco?

San Francisco has some strict gun laws. 

– Firearms are strictly regulated in the city and cannot be purchased or sold without a state permit.

– San Francisco prohibits the retail sale of firearms or ammunition within city limits.

– There are exceptions for firearm purchase and possession for certain individuals including law enforcement officers, licensed security guards, hunting guides, and duly authorized military personnel.

– It is unlawful to discharge a firearm in any public place except as authorized by law.

– The City prohibits carrying a loaded firearm on any public street, alley, parklet, plaza, sidewalk or other public property within city limits unless you are licensed to carry that specific type of weapon by federal and state law.

Gun Selling and Buying

Selling guns illegally is punishable by a felony, which carries a sentence of up to 3 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000, or both. The legislation on selling guns also makes it illegal to buy more than one handgun within 30 days from the same person without obtaining a first-time handgun safety certificate.

Buyers are required to pass background checks for purchases from licensed dealers (including private sales).

Why are San Francisco gun laws so strict?

San Francisco is a city that has always been at the forefront of progressive politics and legislation. San Francisco’s gun laws are some of the strictest in the country, and they have been enacted to reduce gun violence.

Why Everyone Should Know the Basics of Gun Laws

The prevalence of gun violence in America has led to the need for legislation on the subject. Recent events, such as mass shootings, have catalyzed this need, and many are pushing for stricter gun laws.

Without a basic understanding of gun laws, it is easy to make a mistake during a crisis situation. This section will cover the basics of gun laws in San Francisco.

Basic knowledge about what is legal and what isn’t can help you to stay out of trouble or act appropriately if you are put in a dangerous situation.

SFPD encourages people to know and understand the basics of gun laws in San Francisco. These laws are designed to keep firearms out of the hands of people who are not legally authorized to possess them, and to limit the risk of accidents or misuse.

San Francisco requires you to be 21 or older to purchase a handgun, 18 or older for a rifle, and 16 or older for a shotgun. The Department of Justice has also set standards for ammunition purchase to require that you be at least 18 years old with proof of age and identification.

What can be the penalty for a first-time gun position crime?

The penalties can be up to a year in county jail or up to 3 years in state prison. The person has a prior strike conviction. The penalty can be up to 6 years in state prison for which they serve 80%. When it’s a misdemeanor, up to 1 year in county jail, or a felony up to 3 years in state prison, those are all served at 50%. 

Now, the penalties that apply to the first time. It’s not a straight category of first-time or repeat offenders. There are other factors that apply. For example, you can have a first-time conviction for gun possession, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the person’s first felony conviction. If there’s a felony for some sort of fraud that never involved violence or gun possession, that person sells a felony on the record and they can be charged as being a felony possession of a firearm that is up to 3 years in prison, but that person can also be granted probation. 


Probation is an agreement between the individual and the court whereby the individual agrees to abide by certain conditions for a certain period of time.

In California, felony probation is typically two years now, and during that time, if the person abides by the various rules the court opposes, then the person will not serve a prison sentence. For that, they may serve some county jail time in the beginning, but not a prison sentence.

Whereas the person can potentially be sent to prison off the bat, or they can be sent to probation and then violate their probation and get a subsequent prison sentence as a result of the violation. 

A misdemeanor gun charge typically results from the person inadvertently being found in possession of a concealed weapon that’s being carried without a lawful purpose, but maybe not in the circumstances that indicate that the person was bound to use it unlawfully. 

Carry Firearms, Is it good?

Some people carry firearms because they think they need to, and sometimes it’s poor judgment. Sometimes, truth be told, sometimes it’s good judgment, but that doesn’t make it legal. And when I say sometimes it’s good judgment because the person might know that there are certain people trying to hurt them. But I should say it’s good judgment. I guess it is ultimately bad judgment 

I guess it is ultimately bad judgment because the law presumes that if you are having problems with other individuals, you should go to law enforcement. But oftentimes people don’t feel that law enforcement will actually protect them, so they take things into their own hands. 

Transporting Firearms

If someone is transporting a firearm, they’re expected to have a lockbox in their car. They’re expected to transport a firearm in the lockbox and the ammunition clips separately or vice versa. And quite often people can be subjected to traffic stops, and one thing leads to another, and the officer finds that and the person never had any intention of using that farm illegally. The person is the registered owner of the firearm. The person who is known to be the responsible owner takes the firearm to the shooting range. But because of improper transportation of firearms, that can be a misdemeanor. It could be a felony in the right circumstances, and that can cause a major headache for the person.

Gun Laws in Oakland

Now in Oakland, the district attorney has a policy by which they don’t offer less than 120 days to settle every single gun possession charge, 120 days minimum. So, if that individual, who is generally a responsible gun owner, is caught transporting his firearm improperly, this Attorney’s offer is most likely to be 120 days in county jail. They make it very difficult to negotiate less. And in those circumstances, sometimes we need to just go straight to the judge and tell the judge we’re going to plead open everything. This person is charged with less than 120 days, because that’s just a ridiculous sense. The person doesn’t deserve that. They should get that. But the district attorney there can be very flexible. 

What Types of Weapons are Allowed in California if you have a Concealed Carry Permit?

There are a variety of weapons that you can legally possess with a Concealed Carry Permit in California. The list of weapons is:

– A handgun, revolver, or pistol

– A shotgun or rifle

– A muzzle-loading rifle, shotgun, or pistol

– A stun gun or taser

– Any weapon with a fixed blade or other non-folding blades over three inches long.

Are You Facing Gun Charges in California?

If you are facing gun charges in California, call me immediately. I will work hard to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome. I am available 24/7 to answer any questions you might have regarding your case. Call me today at (415) 837-3449 to schedule a free consultation.

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