shotgun in trunk at CA forest/park : legal or not?


April 13, 2006, 01:52 AM
this may be more for the CA people, but if you don't live here I've heard that it's a very good and very inexpensive trip.

I'm going to be taking my family on a 2-3 day driving vacation from SR2 Angeles Crest Highway to SR 138 to Hwy 18 Rim of the World Scenic Byway. At route's end I plan to go to a hotel or motel, then continue on (to I don't know where yet, still planning, maybe Apple Valley or Victorville?)

Anyway, although I'm not planning to camp (only because my father is too ill to), I will be taking them on little off-road hikes. I will also be stopping at some rather remote places, especially in the desert (I've been told the route ends there). Is it illegal to carry a shotgun in case, unloaded with shells in a separate container? This, of course, would be in in the trunk.

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April 13, 2006, 01:56 AM
Yes ! Except in some PARKS, where guns are forbidden to posess. Avoid those places IMHO!:)

April 13, 2006, 04:11 AM
you don't need to keep the shotgun in the trunk as long as it's not loaded.
As long as the ammo is not attached ie as in a magazine you are fine, if you are in a national forest and most blm land a loaded gun is legal at your campsite.

national parks and monuments are bastions of fed gov stupidity, you may not have a gun unless you are a cop.

so be very careful around death valley and yosemite, creeps and bad guys rob people there secure in their knowledge that other people will obey the law.
Also, just to make you feel better, CA has recently introduced a bill making it illegal for a mountain lion to attack you (yes you read that right):banghead:

handguns may only be transported in a locked box and unloaded, most carry the ammo in a seperate box.

I never ever obeyed these laws during my near twenty years in CA and carried laoded pistols daily

April 13, 2006, 05:09 AM
Seconding everything in gunsmith's post, about CA regs. No requirement for a long gun to be boxed and locked during transport. Unloaded, yes.

Depending how ornery you feel, you might consider an inexpensive case & locks, just to keep any passing nanny-state officer from getting the vapors.

Find the relevant laws at
Print out at least two sets, one in your range bag / toolbox, one in the gun storage box, be prepared to cite and stuff them up any busybody's nose (I'm ornery).
Campsites and hotel rooms are considered your 'castle', you are allowed to keep loaded weapons there - CAUTION - I've never read how CA's safe storage laws apply in such a case, but you can be sure some prosecutor would love to find out if nything untoward happens. National Forests are open carry areas, just don't scare the the bambi-lovers. And when / where you plan to shoot, wouldn't hurt to stop in the local ranger office and say 'howdy' and enquire where they'd like you to let fly at.

I've legally Open Carried in Los Angeles National Forest within L.A. County, as well as routinely within Seqouia National Forest (we have a second home near Lake Isabella). The rural officers are generally a.o.k.

I'm not so sure about Crestline. We used to stay at a friend's cabin there, and go skiing in either Big Bear or Mountain High, and those areas were far too full of tree-huggers and embittered officers from the fringes of L.A..

And as long as you are in that vicinity, should you decide to try Rim of the World highway to Big Bear for a day drive and come out of the mountains on the 'front' (towards Riverside / Ontario), there is a public range somewhere east of the junction of the 18 and 15, Burro-something.

Don't know where to shoot in teh open desert around Victorville - last business road trip to Vegas I noticed they had pushed their City Limits signs almost clear to Barstow. I'm sure you have to be somewhere to the East of the 15 to be able to shoot in the open.

If you are starting around the south end of the 2, you might as well go to the Angeles Range, up Tujunga. It's a very nice facility.

April 13, 2006, 11:39 AM
national parks and monuments are bastions of fed gov stupidity, you may not have a gun unless you are a cop.

Just to clarify, according to 36 CFR 2.4, "traps, nets and unloaded weapons may be possessed within a temporary lodging or mechanical mode of conveyance when such implements are rendered temporarily inoperable or are packed, cased or stored in a manner that will prevent their ready use".

April 13, 2006, 02:42 PM
to see people with open carry handguns on trails in National Forrest.
There are lots of mtn lions and assorted bad guys in the woods, illegal aliens are setting up booby traps and armed patrols to protect their marijuana growing operations.

April 13, 2006, 02:52 PM
Do you have a hunting license? If not, get one.

There are many areas on public land posted "No Shooting" but the small print underneath says, "Except in lawful pursuit of birds and mammals."

Jackrabbits and coyotes are always in season. Best excuse to open-carry any gun you want, loaded, on public land, though not in state parks. This is not a legal requirement; it's generally legal to carry openly in a lot of places anyway, but "I'm hunting small game while backpacking" is an instant and easy way to have the ranger just smile and send you on your way.

I avoid state parks, except for a few notable places that are worth seeing. "Camping" in a California state park usually means paved parking spaces next to a thousand of your best friends, and they don't allow dogs on trails, even leashed. Screw that.

As far as transporting the gun in the trunk? It's legal everywhere except for military bases and similar facilities.

April 13, 2006, 03:10 PM
ARMED BEAR - "Do you have a hunting license? If not, get one."

I second the motion!

Someone asks? "I'm hunting coyotes."

But that still requires a hunting license.


Guy B. Meredith
April 13, 2006, 03:47 PM
If you are going to a California State Park call ahead for information. I tried to find something on the web site, but no luck.

I do know that the Morro Bay State Park had no problems with the Arizona contingent of International Revolver Championship competitors and others staying in the park for the competition. I spent one evening cleaning my revolver under the light of a Coleman lantern as my wife didn't want me stinking up the motel room with Hoppe's #9 (heretic that she is).

April 14, 2006, 05:35 AM
I was under the impression that every state park was a no gun zone

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