Can I Keep My Gun At Someone Else’S House In California? A Detailed Guide

With California’s strict gun laws, firearms owners must navigate complex regulations on possession, storage and transport. A common question is whether you can legally store guns at another person’s home in California. The quick answer is yes, you can keep your firearms at someone else’s house with proper procedures and permissions. However, there are important legal details to know first.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover key laws on safe storage, transfer requirements, types of allowable storage locations, and steps for compliance when keeping guns off-site in California.

California Firearm Storage and Transportation Laws

When it comes to storing and transporting firearms in California, it’s important to be aware of the state’s strict regulations. California has some of the most stringent firearm laws in the country, and failure to comply with these laws can result in serious legal consequences.

In this guide, we will provide you with a detailed overview of California’s firearm storage and transportation laws to ensure that you are well-informed and compliant.

Firearm Storage Requirements

California law requires that firearms be stored safely and securely to prevent unauthorized access. This applies not only to your own residence, but also when storing your firearm at someone else’s house.

When storing a firearm at another person’s residence, it is important to ensure that the storage location meets the following requirements:

  • Locked Container: The firearm must be stored in a locked container that is not easily accessible to others. This can include a gun safe, a locked drawer, or a locked box specifically designed for firearm storage.
  • Ammunition Storage: Ammunition must be stored separately from the firearm, preferably in a locked container as well.
  • Avoiding Access by Prohibited Persons: It is crucial to ensure that the person hosting your firearm is not prohibited from possessing firearms under California law. Conducting a background check or verifying their eligibility to possess firearms can help prevent any legal issues.

By adhering to these storage requirements, you can help ensure that your firearm is kept securely at someone else’s house in accordance with California law.

Legal Transportation Procedures

Transporting firearms in California also has its own set of regulations that must be followed. Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Unloaded and Locked: When transporting a firearm, it must be unloaded and stored in a locked container. The container should be separate from the ammunition, which should also be stored in a locked container.
  • Separate Compartments: If you are transporting multiple firearms, they must be stored in separate compartments within the vehicle, such as the trunk or a locked container in the backseat.
  • Direct Transportation: It is essential that the firearm is transported directly between authorized locations, such as your home and a shooting range, without making any unnecessary stops along the way.
  • Transportation Exceptions: There are certain exceptions to these transportation requirements, such as when transporting firearms for lawful hunting, target shooting, or to a licensed dealer for sale or repair.

It is important to note that these guidelines are a general overview of California’s firearm storage and transportation laws. For more detailed and up-to-date information, it is recommended to consult the official California Department of Justice website at

By understanding and complying with these laws, you can ensure the safe and legal storage and transportation of firearms in California.

Storage at Private Residences

When it comes to storing your gun at someone else’s house in California, there are a few important factors to consider. Whether you are staying with family, friends, or even at a vacation home, it’s crucial to understand the laws and regulations surrounding gun storage to ensure compliance and safety.

With Family

If you are staying with family and want to keep your gun at their house, California law allows you to do so as long as certain conditions are met. It is important to remember that both you and your family member must be eligible to possess firearms under state and federal law.

Additionally, the firearm must be stored in a locked container or locked gun rack when not in your immediate possession or control. This ensures that access to the firearm is limited to authorized individuals only.

With Friends/Roommates

If you are temporarily staying with friends or roommates and wish to store your gun at their residence, it is crucial to have an open and honest conversation with them about your intentions. While California law does not specifically address this scenario, it is recommended to follow the same guidelines as storing the gun with family members.

Ensure that the firearm is securely locked away when not in your possession and discuss any concerns or preferences with your friends or roommates to ensure mutual understanding and respect.

At a Vacation Home

Many gun owners choose to bring their firearms to their vacation homes for various reasons, including self-defense or recreational shooting. However, it is important to be aware of the specific laws and regulations in the state where the vacation home is located.

Each state has its own laws regarding firearm possession, storage, and transportation. It is highly recommended to research and familiarize yourself with the laws of the state where your vacation home is located to ensure compliance and avoid any legal issues.

Remember, responsible gun ownership includes proper storage and handling. Always prioritize safety by securely storing your firearm in a locked container or gun safe when not in use. If you have any doubts or concerns regarding the storage of your gun at someone else’s house, consult with a legal professional or contact your local law enforcement for guidance.

Storing at Other Legal Locations

While keeping your firearm at your own residence is the most common option, there are situations where you might need to store your gun at another location. In California, there are several legal options for storing your firearm at places other than your own home.

Here are some of the most common locations where you can store your gun:

FFL Dealers

One option for storing your firearm is to utilize the services of a Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer. These dealers are licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to engage in the business of selling firearms.

They are also authorized to store firearms on behalf of individuals.

When storing your gun at an FFL dealer, it is important to follow the proper procedures. You will need to complete the necessary paperwork and undergo a background check. Additionally, you may be required to pay a storage fee for the duration of the storage period.

Shooting Ranges/Clubs

Another option for storing your firearm is at a shooting range or club. Many shooting ranges and clubs offer storage facilities for their members. This can be a convenient option if you frequently visit the range or club for shooting practice or competitions.

Before storing your gun at a shooting range or club, it is important to check their specific policies and requirements. Some ranges may require you to be a member in order to utilize their storage facilities, while others may have additional security measures in place.

Hunting Lodges

If you are a hunting enthusiast, you may have the opportunity to store your firearm at a hunting lodge. Hunting lodges often provide storage options for hunters who visit the lodge for hunting trips.

When storing your gun at a hunting lodge, it is important to ensure that the lodge has proper security measures in place. This can include secure storage areas and restricted access to authorized personnel only.

Location Procedure Requirements
FFL Dealers Complete necessary paperwork and undergo a background check Storage fee, compliance with ATF regulations
Shooting Ranges/Clubs Check specific policies and requirements of the range/club Membership, adherence to range/club rules
Hunting Lodges Ensure lodge has proper security measures in place Restricted access, compliance with hunting lodge policies

Remember, regardless of where you choose to store your firearm, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Ensure that the storage location is secure, and always follow the proper procedures for storing and transporting your gun.

By doing so, you can keep your firearm safe while complying with the relevant laws and regulations in California.

Proper Documentation and Notifications

Avoiding Transfer Violations

When keeping your gun at someone else’s house in California, it is crucial to understand the legal requirements to avoid any transfer violations. According to California law, any transfer of firearms between individuals must go through a licensed firearms dealer.

This means that if you want to leave your gun at someone else’s house for an extended period, you need to follow the proper transfer procedures.

To avoid transfer violations, it is recommended to complete a firearm transfer through a licensed dealer. This involves conducting a background check on the person who will be temporarily holding your gun and completing the necessary paperwork.

By following these procedures, you can ensure that you are in compliance with California law and that the transfer is legal and documented.

Inventory Records

It is essential to maintain accurate inventory records when keeping your gun at someone else’s house. This not only helps you keep track of your firearms, but it also serves as evidence in case of any legal issues or disputes.

Keeping a detailed list of the firearms you have placed at another person’s house, including their make, model, and serial number, can be incredibly beneficial.

Consider creating a spreadsheet or using an inventory management system to keep track of your firearms. Make sure to update the records regularly and keep them in a safe and secure location. This way, you can easily access the information if needed and have peace of mind knowing that your inventory is well-documented.

Informing Household Members

When you decide to keep your gun at someone else’s house, it is crucial to inform all household members about the presence of firearms. This applies to both the person whose house you are storing the gun at and any other individuals living in that household.

It is essential to have an open and honest conversation about gun safety and ensure that everyone understands the responsibilities and risks involved.

Consider discussing topics such as safe storage practices, access control, and how to handle firearms properly. Encourage household members to ask questions and address any concerns they may have. By keeping everyone informed and educated, you can promote a safe environment and minimize the chances of accidents or unauthorized access to the firearm.

For more information on gun laws and regulations in California, you can visit the official website of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms:

Best Practices for Compliant and Responsible Storage

Safety Considerations

When it comes to storing firearms at someone else’s house in California, safety should be your top priority. Proper storage not only ensures the safety of those living in the house but also helps prevent unauthorized access. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Always store firearms unloaded and separate from ammunition.
  • Use a secure storage device, such as a locked gun safe or a lockable gun case.
  • Consider installing trigger locks or cable locks on your firearms for an extra layer of security.
  • Keep the keys or combination to your storage device in a secure location, away from children or unauthorized individuals.

By following these safety considerations, you can minimize the risk of accidents and ensure that your firearms are stored responsibly.

Preventing Unauthorized Access

Preventing unauthorized access to your firearms is essential to comply with California’s laws and regulations. Here are some steps you can take to prevent unauthorized access:

  • Choose a trusted individual to store your firearms at their house.
  • Ensure that the person storing your firearms understands and complies with all relevant laws and regulations.
  • Consider using a written agreement outlining the responsibilities and expectations for storing your firearms.
  • Regularly communicate with the person storing your firearms to ensure they are maintaining the storage in a secure manner.

By taking these precautions, you can help prevent unauthorized access to your firearms and ensure that they are stored in compliance with the law.

Monitoring Your Firearms

Even when your firearms are stored at someone else’s house, it’s important to stay informed and maintain control over your firearms. Here are some tips for monitoring your firearms:

  • Keep an updated inventory of your firearms, including make, model, and serial numbers.
  • Regularly check in with the person storing your firearms to ensure they are still adhering to the agreed-upon storage practices.
  • Consider using a secure firearm storage tracking system to keep track of the location and status of your firearms.
  • Periodically inspect your firearms to ensure they are still in good condition and functioning properly.

By actively monitoring your firearms, you can maintain a sense of control and ensure that they are being stored responsibly.

Remember, it’s important to familiarize yourself with California’s laws and regulations regarding firearm storage. For more information, you can visit the official website of the California Department of Justice, which provides detailed guidelines on firearm safety and storage:


Storing firearms at someone else’s home in California requires careful navigation of state laws. With proper procedures around transport, documentation, safety precautions and communication, you can remain complaint while keeping your guns securely offsite. We hope this guide provided useful insights into legally and responsibly storing firearms away from your primary residence.

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