Carrying a gun in Los Angeles

The LA Weekly is tackling one of my old favorite topics: carrying a gun in Los Angeles. They are specifically talking about carrying one in Starbucks but it’s worth taking the opportunity to discuss the larger issue. Yes, carrying a gun in Los Angeles is legal in a variety of different situations. For anyone who can legally own a gun, carrying the gun exposed and unloaded (though you can also carry the ammo separately) is completely legal assuming you aren’t near a handful of places like a school or bank where it suddenly becomes very illegal. This is a right granted by not just the US constitution but also the CA constitution which you can read more about on

There are many arguments for and against carrying a gun openly. The immediate reaction I hear most often is that it’s a great way to get shot by a police officer. That’s actually not really something to worry about as no officer in his or her right might is going to risk their job by shooting someone for legally carrying a holstered weapon. Now pulling the thing out and waving it around is another story all together. In fact here is a Los Angeles District Attorney memo and a Los Angeles Sheriff Dept memo about open carry explaining it is legal and explaining to officers what actions they can and can’t take.

All that aside, I personally feel carrying a gun exposed in public attracts a lot of attention that there is really no need for. If and when I carry a gun I try to avoid any extra attention and prefer no one know I even have one. This is why I prefer the Concealed Carry option. Unfortunately, where as open carry is a public right, concealed carry requires a specific permit. I say unfortunately not because I think permits are bad, in fact I think when coupled with proper training and regulation they are a fantastic thing, what is unfortunate is how these permits are handled in California. The permits are valid state wide but can only be issued in the city or county you live in, and it’s up to one person in each of those places to decide if they should issue you one or not. The result of this is its very easy to get a permit in some parts of the state, and near impossible to get a permit in others. The result of that is if you live in Los Angeles you probably can’t get a permit unless you have some serious political connections, but someone who lives in say, Orange County for example, can get a permit and carry their gun concealed in LA. So people who don’t live in LA have more rights than people who do. Isn’t that awesome?!

But to get back to the original article, the LA Weekly is noting that some groups are trying to pressure Starbucks into banning customers from legally carrying exposed weapons. Why? Do they think saying something is a gun free zone will some how make it safer? Do you think a place being a gun free zone somehow makes it safer? Before you answer that keep in mind that Westroads Mall in Omaha was a gun free zone, Fort Hood was a gun free zone, and every single school shooting in US history has taken place in a gun free zone.

It seems to me that throwing up “gun free zone” signs doesn’t actually do anything to make people safer, and when you consider something like Fort Hood, actually makes people less safe. I’d prefer to see public outcry to allow law abiding citizens who are properly trained to have the ability to defend themselves and others without having to make some huge political statement by carrying a gun openly just to do it.

9 thoughts on “Carrying a gun in Los Angeles”

  1. Awesome. The signs are a silly idea, just a false sense of security. The law abiding gun owners aren’t the problem. ITs those criminal types that go about getting their gun illegally and using it for illegal purposes. They don’t read the “no gun zone” signs, nor do they care.

  2. Damn frazgo! You beat me to it. People who commit crime, murders, etc don’t buy their guns from gun stores. They don’t care about having a Permit to own/carry. They will carry reguardless.

  3. Sean,

    Honestly, yes, seeing someone carrying around a gun makes me feel unsafe. It’s a visceral reaction I have.

  4. Oren,

    Fair enough, and that’s exactly my point. Some people don’t like guns, and the laws forcing someone who want to carry one to rub it in the face of everyone else around them doesn’t make for a comfortable situation. I’m certain you don’t feel unsafe when someone is near you carrying a gun and you don’t know it – which is why I prefer the concealed method. That said, do you have that same reaction when you see a police officer with a gun, or a rent-a-cop standing around a movie shoot, or a security guard at the grocery store? If not, I wonder why.

  5. “Cannot carry “in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know” is within 1000 feet of a K-12 school.”

    Just looking along Venice Blvd from the Pacific to Downtown you’ve got:

    Venice High
    Beethoven Elementary
    Pacifica Montessori
    Grand View Elementary
    La Ballona Elementary
    New World Montessori
    Pacifica Community Charter
    Linwood Howe Elementary
    Alexander Hamilton High
    Saturn St Elementary
    *some huge school near Venice & Crenshaw that is unlabeled*
    Pio Pico Elementary (and the big school adjacent)
    St Thomas Apostle
    Ken Khachigian
    Magnolia Ave Elementary

    So basically, any person taking arterials would have to assume that at times they will be within 1000 feet of a school . . .

  6. California, IMO, keeps making hoops for legal gun owners to jump through, but they don’t affect criminals at all. On the other hand, I’m a teacher and I like the fact that all guns are banned on campus (except for cops). In ten years of teaching, I’ve only heard of one actual gun on campus.

    This is probably too personal a question, but as a gun-owner in L.A., I have to ask: you say you ‘prefer’ the concealed carry option. Am I as a reader to take that to mean that you possess a CCW?

  7. I would like to know why private security guards, who aren’t sworn peace officers, and have as much “authority” (there only job is to observe, report and deter) as the average citizen can legally open carry a loaded weapon while law-abiding members of the public can’t. in some instances, a member of the public has far more firearms training than a private security guard, but that person can’t open carry a loaded weapon.

    Why is that? When will this be challenged?

    Regarding your comments about gun free zones and whether or not it will make areas “safer”, research the term security theater.

  8. “assuming you aren’t near a handful of places like a school or bank where it suddenly becomes very illegal.”

    A small correction here. While it is in fact illegal to carry within 1000 feet of a k-12 school (Cal Penal Code 626.9), there is nothing about a bank.

    If someone would like to show me the penal code section that makes a bank a restricted location, I will gladly retract.

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