Many people want to know what are some legal self-defense weapons in California. This is what I’ve found as legal and illegal self-defense weapons in the state.
What Self Defense Weapons are Legal in California?
In California, guns are technically legal but very hard to get a concealed permit for. Knives are legal, as are stun guns, tactical pens, and tasers. Batons and brass knuckles are illegal to possess in California.
California Law on Guns
California has very strict laws on gun control but the good news for the second amendment is that a federal court of appeals has ruled that open carrying of guns is protected under the 2nd amendment.
“We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence, which the State of Hawaii ‘has understandably sought to fight,'” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote. “But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
That means, for now, the state must issue concealed carry permits to any non-felon to openly carry a firearm. This is an excellent thing since often seeing that you are armed will deter a would-be mugger/aggressor. It’s still tough but not impossible to get a concealed carry permit in California. On paper the requirements are simple:
- You are of good moral character;
- Good cause exists for issuance of the license because you or a member of your family is in immediate danger;
- You meet certain residency requirements; and
- You have completed an acceptable course in firearms training.
However, anyone that has tried to go through California’s process of obtaining a concealed carry permit knows that it’s much more arduous than that and that’s by design!
Richard was also planning on getting a California CCW permit, “which might cost upward of $400 and requires range qualification for each weapon you want to carry, up to four.” Requirements vary by county and are determined by either the sheriff or the chief of police. “Luckily, I’m in Woodside, under the direct purview of the sheriff’s office.” Most police chiefs, he said, weren’t in the business of issuing permits at all.
That’s not an exaggeration either. According to the same article only 10 people had concealed carry permits in 2014 in San Francisco County!
Non-Lethal Legal Self Defense Weapons in California
Most non-lethal self-defense weapons are legal in California so long as they are used in good faith.
The California penal code defines several different types of knives each having their own special rules, however, a general rule is that most ‘exotic’ knives are illegal for the average citizen to carry in California.
California defines folding knives Folding knives are knives that “opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to the blade, provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or that biases the blade back toward its closed position” .
In short, all folding knives are legal in California. California Penal Code Section 17235. As long as they are in the folded position they can be carried in a concealed manner. There is no blade length restriction per the penal code.
A great folding knife would be a rescue card knife. It fits into your wallet so you’ll always have it with you in case of an emergency.
California Pepper Spray Laws
Pepper spray is absolutely legal to carry in California. Pepper spray is also useful as it can repel not just humans but vicious dogs or any other animal as well. The only time you’ll run into trouble in California with pepper spray is if it’s used offensively. This laser targeting pepper ball launcher from Amazon.com is legal in California.
There’s also pink lipstick pepper spray you can try.
Related: 10 Awesome Self Defense Gadgets
Here is the legal jargon on pepper spray:
“Penal Code Title 2: Control of Deadly Weapons Chapter 4: Tear Gas Weapons Article 1: General Provisions Section 12403.7
Notwithstanding any other law, any person may purchase, possess, or use tear gas and tear gas weapons for the projection or release of tear gas if the tear gas and tear gas weapons are used solely for self-defense purposes, subject to the following requirements:
(a) No person convicted of a felony or any crime involving an assault under the laws of the United States, the State of California, or any other state, government, or country or convicted of misuse of tear gas under subdivision (g) shall purchase, possess, or use tear gas or tear gas weapons.
(b) No person who is addicted to any narcotic drug shall purchase, possess, or use tear gas or tear gas weapons.
(c) No person shall sell or furnish any tear gas or tear gas weapon to a minor.
(d) No person who is a minor shall purchase, possess, or use tear gas or tear gas weapons.
(e) (1) No person shall purchase, possess, or use any tear gas weapon that expels a projectile, or that expels the tear gas by any method other than an aerosol spray, or that contains more than 2.5 ounces net weight of aerosol spray.”
A Legal Alternative to California’s Restrictive Knife Laws
When you think of a self-defense weapon a whistle may not be the first thing that comes to mind but believe me a whistle is one of the best self-defense weapons that you can have! This isn’t an ordinary whistle.
Blowing into a Scream Whistle creates a sound of 120 decibels. That’s louder than a jackhammer! Trust me you when I say it’s shrill and loud. You wouldn’t want this blown in your ear. Also, causing a scene by making a lot of noise is a great tool to defend yourself against any surprise attack whether it be a mugger or purse snatcher.
And yes, of course, a whistle is perfectly legal in the State of California.
Stun Guns Are Legal in California
Residents in California are allowed to carry stun guns so long as they don’t have a prior conviction for improper use of a stun gun. You also can’t be under 16 or have a felony conviction.
Stun guns are good self-defense weapons to have. I bought my mother one for Christmas last year and she takes it on her walks in the morning. The most important thing is to make sure you have a stun gun that is on your person and ready to go in a split second. There are pink keychains and pepper spray combos you can take a look at to see if they would be a good fit for you.
Check out my article on Best Tasters for Women
Batons Are Illegal in California
How about kubatons? Are kubatons legal in California? In general, batons are not legal for regular citizens to have in California.
Except as provided in Section 22215 and Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, any person in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses any leaded cane, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a billy, blackjack, sandbag, sandclub, sap, or slungshot, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
California Penal Code22210
It would stand to reason that a kubaton would fall under that statute. Check out my article on the legality of kubatons in California. That’s why instead of a baton why not have a flashlight? That’s why if you are interested in a baton you should use a flashlight baton as it is a flashlight first and foremost. People have used those big Maglites for years but modern flashlight batons are extremely more advanced. First, they are LED which gives out more light for less power and second they are extendable for easy storage.
Consider an Alternative to California’s Restrictive Knife & Gun Laws
Yes, a tactical pen that’s not just a knife but a tool and a bottle opener is a great addition to anyone’s everyday carry arsenal. That’s why I love the Strike Pen by ape survival except or one caveat that you can read about in my Strike Pen review.
In addition to being a self-defense weapon, it’s also a flashlight, a can opener, a glass breaker, and a screwdriver. Oh, and did I mention it it’s a real pen? Here’s a coupon I found of the StrikePen to get it for free.