Does California State Parks allow licensed concealed carry (CCW) of a firearm at state parks and beaches?
According to their FAQ page, the answer appears to be yes:
Can I carry a concealed weapon in a state park if I have a Carrying Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit? Possibly yes. The carrying and possession of firearms in California’s state parks is generally prohibited and is only allowed per Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Section 4313.
Exceptions to this regulation are granted in the California Penal Code Section 25900 pertaining to law enforcement and retired law enforcement personnel, and PC Section 26010 for citizens with Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permits. However, any restrictions placed on the CCW by the issuing agency would also be applicable in California’s state parks. For example, if the CCW is only valid in the CCW holder’s city of residence or county, it would not be valid in a state park unit located outside the city or county of the holder. Some CCWs also prohibit carrying in “parks” and this would include state park lands, if that is the case.
However, a memo dated 3/1/2023 distributed by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office to CCW holders on January 8 of this year notes the possibility of restrictions on CCW at state parks and beaches:
Firearms are generally prohibited in the state park system and are only permitted in areas that
are developed for the use of firearms. Exceptions: Underwater Parks; Designated archery ranges
where the Dept. of Parks and Recreation finds that it is in it’s best interest; Lands open to lawful
hunting. The restrictions are separate from state wildlife areas that have their own set of
guidelines. Weapons are generally prohibited in State Game Refuges and Ecological Reserves.
Licensed (Valid) CCW holders are exempt from the prohibition in most cases. There are certain
State Park properties, like Hearst Castle where the prohibition is in place.
No weapons are allowed in any San Luis Obispo County Parks
If you are going to a National or State Park or land and want to carry your concealed weapon,
check with law enforcement agency for that land (Ranger) to find out any
So I emailed California State Parks for clarification:
From: David Duringer <email@example.com> Subject: list of ccw-restricted locations Date: January 10, 2024 at 10:15:14 AM PST To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Generally, carry of concealed firearms at state beaches and parks is allowed for those with a California CCW license.
However, my understanding is that certain locations (for example, Hearst Castle), are off-limits even for CCW holders.
Can you please provide a list of all such locations where CCW is prohibited by your agency?
I am particularly interested in knowing about policy at Oceano Dunes and the beach in North Morro Bay.
But would appreciate a comprehensive list, if available. Thank you.
(I understand that SB2 makes pretty much everything off-limits, but enforcement of that new law has been blocked by federal court.)
And I received this response:
Dear Mr. Duringer:
Re: Public Records Act Request – 24-029 – CCW List This letter further responds to your Public Records Act (“PRA”) request received via e- mail on January 10, 2024. You are requesting “a list of all such locations where CCW is prohibited by your agency? I am particularly interested in knowing about policy at Oceano Dunes and the beach in North Morro Bay. But would appreciate a comprehensive list, if available.”
State Parks has diligently searched its records, but no records were identified that are responsive to your request.
Parveen Kasraee Staff Counsel
So to the extent one can rely on this process (Parks staff counsel took several weeks to respond, so i assume a diligent search was made), it would appear there are currently no restrictions on CCW anywhere in the State Park system, not even at Hearst Castle.