What Self-Defense Weapons are Legal in California?

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By Bryan Rucker •  9 min read

If you live in California, you have a plethora of options for self-defense weapons. You can carry pepper spray or mace, a stun gun, an animal repellent such as bear spray, or even a taser. Many people prefer to use a baton or a kubotan instead of a knife.

In addition to any of the other self-defense weapons mentioned above, the legality of each weapon is determined by the materials from which it is constructed and its ability to be effective against another person.

These items can be used for various purposes as long as they do not cause harm to anyone other than your attacker (s). Check out a few of these self-defense weapons in greater detail.

Legal Self-Defense Weapons in California include:

1: Stun Guns

Stun Guns

PC (Penal code) 22610 states that it is legal to purchase, possess, and carry a stun gun, taser, and other similar items in California.

To use a stun gun in California, the individual must be over the age of 16 (minors must obtain written permission from their parents or legal guardians), not have a prior history of assault charges or narcotic addiction, and not have been convicted of misusing a stun gun in the past.

Stun guns are subject to the same regulations as other firearms. According to state law, anyone who sells or provides a stun gun to minors or other individuals who fall into the above categories will be charged as well.

Individuals who violate the law for the first time are typically fined $50, but those who violate the law again may face additional charges and punishment.

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2: Personal Alarms

Stun Guns

According to California law, personal alarms can be purchased at any age, and there are no restrictions on who can purchase them. When faced with a threat or other types of emergencies, these items are generally harmless and only draw attention to themselves and the situation.

These devices produce deafening sounds (above 120 decibels), which attract the attention of those in your immediate vicinity.

As a result, once activated, they are typically effective in deterring people with criminal intent, as no criminal wants to draw attention to himself.

These devices are also used to discourage dogs and other wild animals from entering the property. These items do not necessitate any type of training or licensing, and they can be considered your first line of defense in the event of an emergency or other threat.

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3: Pepper Spray

Pepper Spray

According to state law, pepper spray is legal to carry and use in California for self-defense purposes. There are, however, some restrictions on their possession and use; for example, if you have been convicted of a felony or have a history of drug abuse, you are not permitted to possess or use pepper spray in your possession.

Minors over the age of 16 will also require written permission from their parents or legal guardians to participate. In addition, the amount of pepper spray that can be carried in a container is limited to 2.5 ounces.

They should only be employed in self-defense situations (in California, displaying pepper spray for threatening is also considered usage). If someone misuses pepper spray, they may face legal action, a fine (up to $1000), or even a jail sentence, depending on the extent of the harm they cause to other people (16 months to three years).

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4: Flashlights


It is perfectly legal for anyone to carry a flashlight on their person; law enforcement agencies do not even consider a weapon.

In any location where carrying a weapon is not permitted or legal, a flashlight can be carried without incident, and when necessary, it can be used for self-defense. The items can be taken into your office, shops, theaters, and even airplanes.

However, you must consider the size of the flashlight; using a large flashlight, such as a baton, will be treated differently by the legal system.

The device’s primary purpose is to use a flashlight to disorient an assailant or attacker by temporarily blinding them. Therefore, it should not be used for any other type of attack method.

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5: Folding Knife

Folding Knife

It is legal to carry a concealed and open folding knife in California, except for prohibited switchblades. Folding knives are typically classified as utility tools, box cutters, or pocket knives, depending on their design.

To the best of the government’s knowledge, these items fall under the category of tools rather than weapons with the potential to stab someone.

However, it is not recommended that you bring these items into federal buildings, public offices, schools, or other places of business.

It is also essential to ensure that a folded knife remains in the folded position; a concealed folded knife and a fixed folded knife may be treated differently by security and law enforcement officials.

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Most Effective Self-Defense Weapon in California

If you are a resident or traveler in California, personal alarms should be your first line of defense against potential threats.

Some other legal items that you may be able to carry (if you meet the requirements) include tasers, flashlights, pepper sprays, tactical gloves, whistle pens, and folding knives, among other things.

Personal safety is essential in the event of an emergency or threat; all of the items listed above can come in handy and save you from a variety of potentially dangerous circumstances.

Remember, however, to refrain from using these items in avoidable situations or threatening other people; failing to do so may result in legal consequences, including fines and jail time.

What Guns Are Legal in California?

1: Handguns

California allows all adults over the age of 21 to apply for a permit to carry concealed firearms such as pistols, revolvers, and other handguns in their possession.

On the other hand, handguns must be stored, transported, handled, and used in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

It is also essential to make certain that they are not entering areas where carrying a firearm is prohibited by law.

These areas may include schools, public buildings, government buildings, public transportation vehicles, airports, and other locations where carrying a firearm is prohibited.

2: Shotguns

People over the age of 18 are permitted to purchase legal shotguns from a licensed dealer under the provisions of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Although there are few restrictions on the types of shotguns legally owned in California, all shotguns (including fully automatic and assault rifles) prohibited by federal law are also considered illegal.

You should also consider the length of a shotgun’s barrel; the state of California does not permit the possession of shotguns with short barrels.

Therefore, you should check with the Department of Justice to see if you are eligible to purchase a shotgun before making your purchase decision.

3: Bolt Action Rifles

If you are over the age of 18 and have a Firearm Safety Certificate, you are eligible to purchase and own a bolt rifle in the state of California. Compared to semi-automatic rifles, bolt rifles have fewer restrictions.

Single-shot bolt rifles and rifles with a magazine capacity of fewer than ten rounds are both readily available for purchase in California.

However, when it comes to possessing assault rifles in California, there has been an increase in strictness in recent years.

On the other hand, Bolt rifles are still within easy reach of the average person. There are only a few exceptions for those convicted of a felony or addicted to drugs; it is illegal to own any type of firearm in these cases.

Some Open Questions

How much is the cost of a California Gun Safety Certificate?

The cost of a California Gun Safety Certificate is $25. You must be at least 18 years of age and pass a written test to obtain a certificate.

This will certify that you know how to handle firearms safely. However, you must take the written test every two years for this certification to stay valid.

Moreover, this requirement is only regulated by California, not every county. Pima County, Arizona, for example, does not require this certification.

What are good self-defense keychains to have on me?

One of the best self-defense weapons is pepper spray. This can be easily carried in your pocket or purse and deployed quickly if needed, even when hands are full carrying groceries or other items.

It also has a very long shelf life, so you won’t need to replace it every year like batteries, making it great for emergencies!

Another effective option is a Kubotan keychain tool that looks just like any other car keys but with an added benefit: they’re explicitly designed as personal safety tools.

What are the requirements for owning a Taser in California?

The requirements for owning a Taser in California are that you must be 18 years or older and not have any felony convictions.

You must also complete a training course before you can purchase a Taser. Also, it is illegal to carry a Taser on your person without a license.

Keep in mind that there are restrictions on where you can carry a Taser, so be sure to check the laws in your area. In addition, it is essential to know what self-defense weapons are legal in California so that you can protect yourself if needed.


Now that you know what self-defense weapons are legal in California, it’s essential to understand how you can use them to protect yourself and your loved ones. Remember that using a weapon for self-defense is always a last resort – try to avoid conflict whenever possible.

If you do find yourself in a dangerous situation, though, remember that these weapons can help you stay safe. If you’re interested in learning more about self-defense or want to take a class, be sure to check out your local community center or martial arts studio.

There are also plenty of online resources available, so do some research and find the option that works best for you. Stay safe!

Bryan Rucker

Brian Rucker has spent his entire life participating in essentially all things wildlife. His concern grew astronomically during the previous tensions between the United States and other nations. He also has grown a substantial interest in survival and sustainability due to the current shape of the world over the years. He believes that preparation triumphs all things.