An active shooter situation in the Southern California town of San Bernardino has left at least 14 dead, upwards of 14 wounded, and prompted a response from local law enforcement as well as the FBI. Three suspects have been reported. Very little information has been revealed about the alleged shooters and their weapons as well as where they hail from have yet to be confirmed. California has some of the most stringent gun control laws on the books, thus tracing how the suspects acquired their guns may expose any holes in current legislation. What are the gun laws in California?
Assault rifles, short-barreled shotguns, machine guns, and destructive devices are all illegal to possess in the state of California unless a Dangerous Weapons License/Permit application is accepted. Obtaining a permit requires filing a series of forms, getting fingerprinted, and paying a fee that varies depending on your state of residence and how much ammo/weaponry you plan on using. Those with certain felonies, who are considered a mentally disordered sex offender, have specific convictions, or have been found mentally incompetent and unable to stand trial are placed under a lifetime ban for owning firearms.
Miscellaneous bans exist as well for those who are addicted to narcotics or have threatened a psychotherapist, in addition to other designations. Shorter ten and five year bans also exist along with a juvenile ban that prohibits those who are wards of juvenile courts from owning firearms until they are 30. There are so many restrictions for those interested in purchasing firearms that the California Department of Justice even offers an eligibility check for $20, not including notary fees.
Those who are eligible to purchase firearms in the state must be a California citizen and be willing to be fingerprinted. A handgun safety certificate, which requires the passing of DOJ Certified Instructor-administered test as well as a fee of up to $25 per gun must be obtained as well as a safe handling demonstration. Safe handling demonstrations and a firearms safety device, including lock boxes and cabinets are also required. There is a ten day waiting period between gun purchase and gun delivery. Those looking to purchase multiple firearms must wait 30 days per gun purchase.
The ability to carry a handgun in California tends to vary from county to county. Regarding concealed carry weapons permits, the law in San Bernardino County specifically requires that an applicant be at least 21 years old, submit a DOJ application which includes everything from employment information to residency history and must be notarized, fingerprinting and the payment of hefty fees corresponding to the aforementioned services.
To receive a two year CCW permit for up to three guns with relevant safety courses would cost upwards of $350, not including the notary fee. Legally acquiring a gun in California is incredibly difficult to the point that many simply mail guns from states with more lax gun laws. According to a recent New York Times report on gun trafficking, nearly 1,200 guns were sent to California from the state of Arizona alone.