I thought I found the answer in California Firearms Laws Summary :

"Unless otherwise unlawful, any person over the age of 18 who is not prohibited from possessing firearms may have a loaded or unloaded firearm at his or her place of residence, temporary residence, campsite or on private property owned or lawfully possessed by the person."

However, the same section has this note:

"If a person’s place of business, residence, temporary residence, campsite or private property is located within an area where possession of a firearm is prohibited by local or federal laws, such laws would prevail."

California gun laws are, generally speaking, very restrictive, and I don't know whether any "local or federal laws" would prohibit a person without a CCW permit to bring it to a campsite in a county park.

The specific park I'm interested in is the Sanborn park in Santa Clara County.


Generally, it is forbidden on Santa Clara County property. Santa Clara County Ordinances section B19-10 (a):

It shall be unlawful for any person to bring onto or possess a Firearm, loaded or unloaded, or Ammunition, or both, on County Property. This subsection shall not apply where the possession of Firearms or Ammunition is prohibited by State law.

There is, however, an exception at B19-11 (n) that may be relevant:

Subsection B19-10(a) does not apply to the following: [...] (n) A person lawfully possessing an unloaded Firearm or Ammunition, or both, in the locked trunk of, or inside a Locked Container in, a motor vehicle;

So the prohibition would not apply if you keep the firearm unloaded and locked in your trunk the entire time you are on county property. It isn't clear whether that is what you had in mind.

As for parks specifically, there is B14-31.1 (a):

No person shall set, leave or deposit, or have in his or her possession, any weapon, spear, missile, sling shot, trap or hunting device, air or gas weapon, throwing knife or axe, or any other weapon or device capable of injuring or killing any person or animal, damaging any property or natural resource, except in areas established for such use or while in direct transit to or from such areas and available parking.

It's not clear to me whether this would prohibit a weapon in the trunk. You'd be well advised to ask the park officials for their interpretation; they might also be able to tell you if there are other relevant regulations.

  • OMG! "... axe, or any other weapon or device capable of injuring ..." - that applies to an axe one needs to chop wood for a campfire, as well as a carving knife (well, it's a "device capable of injuring"), even a fork ("capable of injuring" again)! Isn't that unreasonably broad?
    – Michael
    May 26 at 17:48
  • BTW, does B19-10(a) apply to the actual campsite that has been rented from the county and thus becomes my temporary dwelling?
    – Michael
    May 26 at 17:54
  • @Michael: "Isn't that unreasonably broad?" Opinions about the appropriateness of legislation are off topic on this site, so I won't offer one. One might have to look at how the ordinance has been interpreted by courts. As to your "temporary dwelling" theory, there is an exception at B19-11(m) for "a place of residence", but I very much doubt that a court would accept an argument that a campsite which you are occupying for a couple nights is your "place of residence". May 26 at 23:01

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