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Legal Self Defense Weapons in California (2024):
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California laws allow residents to legally own and carry the following self-defense weapons: tactical flashlights, pens, stun guns, tasers, pepper spray, tear gas, knives, and guns (though the latter 2 are heavily restricted compared to most states).
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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California Self-Defense Laws

California has both “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” laws on the books.

“Stand Your Ground” means that if someone is threatening you, you have no obligation to retreat to defend yourself. You have the right to remain present and defend yourself, in all cases.

The “Castle Doctrine” states that you are not obligated to retreat if an intruder comes into your home or other personal space (i.e. vehicle). In fact, under California Penal Code 198.5 PC, a home intruder is always considered as creating a situation of “reasonable fear of imminent harm.”

Related Article: What’s the Difference Between a Dirk and a Dagger?

Where Can I Carry a Gun in California?

A California resident who is at least 18 years old may carry a handgun anywhere within their residence, place of business, or on private property owned or lawfully possessed by that individual. A permit or license is not required for a person to carry in these locations.

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California typically prohibits individuals from openly carrying loaded handguns in public, with an exception for residents of smaller counties: under California law, the sheriff of any county with a population under 200,000 people, or the chief of police of a city within that county, may issue licenses to carry a loaded, visible handgun to qualified residents.

Can a Felon Own a Gun in California?

No. Convicted felons lose their right to own a gun in California. Under California Penal Code 29800, Article 1, a person who is convicted of a felony or who is addicted to narcotics is prohibited from owning, purchasing, receiving, or controlling a firearm. Additionally, individuals who have outstanding felony warrants are forbidden from owning or possessing a gun.

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Under California Penal Code 22610 PC, it is legal to purchase, possess or carry a stun gun or taser for lawful self-defense. However, you can’t have a Taser if you are a convicted felon, drug addict, minor under the age of 18, or have a prior conviction for assault or misuse of a stun gun.

Read Also: Assault With a Deadly Weapon

What’s the Difference Between a Taser and a Stun Gun?

Stun guns are close proximity devices that require you to be in physical contact with your attacker. They use a painful shock to subdue and discourage the attacker. A taser, on the other hand, uses projectile prongs that attach to a target at distances of up to 15 feet.

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