Do You Need a Gun Permit to Shoot at a Gun Range in California?

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Learning how to shoot can be such a fun activity. However, in order for you to have the full experience, you need to follow the laws and regulations of the state with regards to firearms. This is to make sure that you don’t end up on the wrong side of the law. The following information will help you the next time you go shooting in California.

Do You Need a Gun Permit to Shoot at a Gun Range in California?

No, you do not need a gun permit to shoot at a gun range in California because there are only two types of licensing relevant in the state of California for those who own firearms. These include the Firearms Safety Certificate for buying a firearm and the Concealed Weapons Permit (CCW) if you want to carry a concealed firearm.

Person wondering if he needs a gun permit to shoot at a gun range in California

The top four things to pay attention to are:

  • Age restrictions
  • Permit relevancy
  • Cost
  • Identification

Age Restrictions

In order to shoot at a gun range in California, all participants must be eight years old or older. All minors must be with a guardian or parent who is 21 years or older. This is because the laws of California do not permit anyone under the age of 21 to sell, transfer, possess or supply guns unless they are federal officers or have a hunting license.

Even then, they must be 18 years or older.  All shooters should be under the supervision of range safety officers. If it is the first time, you might want to get some basic firearm safety classes to get you oriented.

Permit Relevancy

California is a ‘may issue’ state, which means that the local and state level authorities are responsible for the issuance of gun permits. Due to its strict laws, California does not recognize concealed carry permits from other states.

The exception to this rule is law enforcement officers as per the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. These permits are also not granted to non-residents and thus, you may only be able to use the range rentals if you are visiting California. If you are relocating, you will have to register the firearm to be able to use it at the range.

Person holding a handgun that was just fired


Before visiting any gun range in California, you may want to consider the cost. All ranges are different and costs are set depending on the facilities available, exclusivity, location and even the gun accessories available.

For example, it may be cheaper to shoot at a range that lets you bring your own firearms, targets, and protective equipment like in most shooting ranges in Oakland, as you will only end up buying the necessary ammunition. This is because as per the California laws, the range is the only place where you can purchase ammunition without a background check as long as it does not leave the grounds.


In order to rent a firearm or buy ammunition from most gun ranges in California, you will need to have a relevant driver’s license. This will help the range officials ascertain your age as well make it easy to identify you in case of any issues.

If you don’t have valid identification, you may not be allowed access to some facilities. Furthermore, you may need to go with somebody the first few times as some gun ranges may feel uncomfortable renting out firearms to someone new. This is because of the fear of self-harm.


Although you do not need a gun permit to go to a gun range in California, you need to pay attention to a few laws so as to have a good time. Permits are only relevant if you are carrying concealed weapons or if you need to buy a firearm, make a sale, or transfer.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.