California state law requires that you have a license if you want to carry a concealed weapon. You might think that these rules only apply to carrying a weapon physically on your person, but they also apply to what you do with a firearm in your vehicle.
The wrong behavior with a weapon could mean that a run-of-the-mill traffic stop results in major weapons charges that will saddle you with a very problematic criminal record for the rest of your life. What might lead to police accusing you of having a concealed weapon in your vehicle?
When driving with a weapon readily accessible in your vehicle
Some people will put a firearm in the glove compartment or the center console between the bucket seats in the front of a vehicle. Leaving a firearm in either of these locations or under a seat might lead to a claim that you concealed a weapon on purpose.
Any weapon that you can readily conceal on your person within the vehicle could constitute a concealed weapon in the eyes of law enforcement even if you didn’t hide it prior to the traffic stop. To safely transport a firearm in California, you would ideally keep the gun in a locked case with a trigger lock in place.
The only alternative is to secure a license that allows you to conceal a handgun or similar firearm, although you will still need to disclose the presence of the firearm to a police officer during a traffic stop to avoid running afoul of the law and getting arrested.
Understanding when seemingly innocent behaviors could lead to criminal charges can help you avoid unintentionally committing a firearm offense in California. If you are charged with a weapons offense, however, experienced legal guidance is essential.