Are Batons Legal In California? A Detailed Look At Laws And Restrictions

For self-defense or work purposes, many wonder about carrying batons for protection in the state of California. However, the legality of batons is complex due to strict laws regulating their purchase, possession, and use.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: In California, batons are legal for trained security guards and law enforcement officers, but illegal for members of the general public to purchase or possess unless they have a special permit.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of California baton laws, types that are prohibited or restricted, acceptable purposes for possession, and consequences for illegal use or carry.

California Penal Code on Batons

Section 22210 PC – Unlawful Purchase, Manufacture, Sale

In California, the Penal Code addresses the issue of batons under Section 22210. This section specifically pertains to the unlawful purchase, manufacture, and sale of batons. According to this law, it is illegal for individuals to buy, make, or sell batons unless they fall into certain categories of authorized individuals, such as law enforcement officers or security professionals.

It is important to note that this law applies to all types of batons, including expandable batons, also known as collapsible batons or ASP batons.

If someone is found in violation of Section 22210, they may face criminal charges, resulting in fines and potential imprisonment. The severity of the penalties will depend on various factors, including the individual’s criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the unlawful purchase, manufacture, or sale.

Sections 12020 & 16690 PC – Illegal Ownership and Carry

In addition to the regulations regarding the purchase, manufacture, and sale of batons, California Penal Code Sections 12020 and 16690 address the illegal ownership and carry of batons.

Under Section 12020, it is illegal to possess certain dangerous weapons, including batons, in public places. However, there are exceptions for individuals who have a valid permit or authorization to possess such weapons, such as law enforcement officers or individuals with a valid concealed carry license.Section 16690 specifically addresses the possession of batons by security guards and private investigators. To legally possess a baton in these professions, individuals must meet certain requirements, including completing a training course approved by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.

It is important for individuals in California to familiarize themselves with these laws and restrictions to avoid any potential legal consequences. To obtain accurate and up-to-date information regarding baton laws, it is recommended to consult the California Penal Code or seek legal advice from a qualified professional.

Types of Prohibited Batons

Expandable and Telescopic Batons

In California, expandable and telescopic batons are considered prohibited weapons. These batons are collapsible and can be extended to various lengths, making them versatile and easy to conceal. They are often used by law enforcement officers and security personnel for self-defense purposes.

However, in California, possession of these batons by civilians is illegal, unless they are specifically authorized by law.

According to the California Penal Code Section 12020, it is unlawful to possess an expandable or telescopic baton without a valid permit. Violation of this law can result in serious consequences, including criminal charges and penalties.

Billy Clubs and Blackjacks

Another type of baton that is prohibited in California is the billy club and blackjack. These are solid, cylindrical weapons made of a heavy material, such as wood or metal. They are designed to be used as impact weapons and can cause significant harm when used aggressively.

Under California law, the possession of billy clubs and blackjacks is considered a misdemeanor offense. The California Penal Code Section 12020 explicitly prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale, or possession of these weapons.

It is important to note that even carrying a concealed billy club or blackjack can lead to criminal charges.

Push Daggers and Other Prohibited Items

In addition to expandable batons and billy clubs, California law also prohibits the possession of push daggers and other similar items. A push dagger is a small, double-edged knife with a handle that is designed to be held in a closed fist, allowing for quick and discreet deployment.

According to the California Penal Code Section 12020, possessing a push dagger or any other prohibited weapon is a serious offense. The law also extends to other dangerous items, such as brass knuckles, switchblades, and nunchakus.

It is crucial for individuals to be aware of the laws and restrictions surrounding the possession of these prohibited batons and weapons in California. Violating these laws can have severe legal consequences.

For more information on California’s weapon laws, you can visit the official website of the California Legislative Information.

Where Batons Are Legal to Possess and Use

In California, the laws regarding the possession and use of batons can be quite complex. However, there are certain individuals who are allowed to possess and use batons under specific circumstances. These include active duty law enforcement officers, licensed security guards, and individuals with a valid CCW (Carry Concealed Weapon) permit.

By Active Duty Law Enforcement

Active duty law enforcement officers in California are authorized to carry and use batons as part of their job responsibilities. These officers undergo extensive training in the proper use of batons to ensure they are used in a lawful and effective manner.

They are well-versed in the legal requirements and restrictions surrounding the use of force, including the use of batons, and are held to a high standard of accountability.

By Licensed Security Guards

Licensed security guards in California may also be allowed to possess and use batons while on duty. However, it is important to note that the specific regulations regarding the use of batons by security guards can vary depending on the type of license they hold and the specific guidelines set forth by the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.

Security guards must undergo training and obtain the necessary certifications to carry and use batons. They are required to use batons only in situations where it is necessary to protect themselves, others, or property under their care.

The use of force must be proportionate and reasonable in relation to the threat faced.

With a Valid CCW Permit

Individuals who possess a valid CCW permit in California may be permitted to carry and use a baton for personal protection. A CCW permit, also known as a concealed carry permit, allows individuals to carry a concealed firearm or other deadly weapon, including batons, in public places.

To obtain a CCW permit, applicants must meet certain criteria and undergo a thorough background check. They must also complete a training course that covers the safe and responsible use of firearms and other defensive tools, including batons.

It is important to note that even with a valid CCW permit, individuals must still adhere to the laws and regulations regarding the use of force and the use of batons. They must use batons only in situations where there is a genuine and immediate threat to their safety or the safety of others.

For more detailed information on the laws and restrictions surrounding the possession and use of batons in California, it is recommended to consult the official website of the California Department of Justice:

Acceptable Purposes for Owning a Baton

While the possession of batons is regulated by law in California, there are several acceptable purposes for owning one. These include:

As Part of Law Enforcement Duty Gear

Batons are an essential tool for law enforcement officers in California. They are commonly used by police officers to maintain order, protect themselves and others, and ensure public safety. The use of batons by law enforcement is carefully regulated and officers are trained on proper techniques and protocols.

For Security Guard Work

Security guards in California may also carry batons as part of their duty gear. Batons provide an additional level of protection and can be used to deter or defend against potential threats. Security guards undergo training to ensure they understand the proper use of batons and are aware of the legal limitations surrounding their use.

For Self-Defense with a CCW Permit

Individuals who have obtained a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit in California may legally carry a baton for self-defense purposes. A CCW permit allows individuals to carry concealed firearms, but it also extends to other self-defense tools, such as batons.

It is important to note that the use of a baton for self-defense should only be employed in situations where there is a genuine threat of harm and as a last resort.

It is crucial to understand that owning a baton for any other purpose not mentioned above may be considered illegal under California law. It is always recommended to familiarize oneself with the specific laws and regulations regarding baton possession and use in the state.

Consequences of Possessing or Using an Illegal Baton

Understanding the legal implications of possessing or using an illegal baton in California is essential to avoid severe consequences. Violating the state’s laws regarding batons can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, hefty fines, and possible jail time.

Misdemeanor or Felony Charges

In California, the possession or use of an illegal baton is typically considered a misdemeanor offense. However, in certain circumstances, such as when the baton is used in the commission of a crime or during an assault, it can be charged as a felony.

The severity of the charges largely depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the case and the individual’s criminal history.

When charged with a misdemeanor, individuals may face penalties such as probation, community service, or a short jail sentence. On the other hand, felony charges can lead to more severe consequences, including longer prison sentences and a permanent criminal record.

Fines Up to $10,000

The financial repercussions of possessing or using an illegal baton in California can be significant. Convicted individuals may face fines of up to $10,000. The exact amount of the fine depends on various factors, including the severity of the offense and the individual’s criminal history.

It’s important to note that fines associated with baton-related offenses can be in addition to any other penalties imposed by the court system. Therefore, individuals should be prepared for the potential financial burden that may accompany charges related to illegal baton possession or use.

Jail Time of 6 Months to 3 Years

One of the most serious consequences of possessing or using an illegal baton in California is the potential for imprisonment. Misdemeanor charges can result in a jail sentence of up to six months, while felony charges can lead to imprisonment for anywhere between 16 months and three years.

It’s important to consult with a qualified attorney if facing charges related to an illegal baton. They can provide guidance on the specific penalties one may face based on the circumstances of their case, as well as potential defense strategies to mitigate the charges.


In summary, batons cannot be freely carried by civilians in California unless they obtain a permit. Only active duty law enforcement and licensed guards have allowances for batons during their work. Strict laws prohibit sales and set penalties for possession of illegal batons, so it is critical to understand the intricacies of California baton laws before purchasing or carrying one.

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