We get a lot of questions about people’s background and whether they will qualify for a CCW license. This article will go over the major requirements and things that you can include with your California CCW application to increase your chances of success. Including these items will give the issuing agency a more complete picture of who you are. Also, if we have to appeal a denial to the court, it will be helpful to have a good package for the court to review — we won’t be able to add anything later.
The Criteria for Issuing a California CCW License
January 1, 2024 brought major changes to California’s CCW license application process. There are a number of listed convictions and time periods that will disqualify an applicant. Then, there is a more subjective standard of “reasonably likely to be a danger.” The issuing agency has to check three references, review publicly available information (think social media), and review the applicant’s criminal history including arrests and convictions. For a full list of the disqualifying criteria, see Penal Code section 26202.
Tip 1: Criminal History
Get your own LiveScan before you apply. After you submit your California CCW application, the issuing agency will require you to get a LiveScan and have the results sent to them. You want to know what the CCW issuing agency will see when they review your LiveScan report. Be sure to disclose everything, exactly as requested on the CCW application – it wants all arrests, not just convictions.
Tip 2: Good Person Docs
You want to pad the application with references to the good things you are doing in the world. Consider including letters, certificates, awards, thank you notes, and anything else you have that shows you’re doing good things. These might come from charitable organizations, churches, schools, or anywhere else that makes you look good. Include these with your initial CCW application, if you can. You may also want to bring them to your interview.
Tip 3: Psychological Evaluation
An applicant who has any criminal background, mental health history, pattern of arrests, or anything else that might concern a CCW License issuing authority may want to consider getting a psychological evaluation to include with the application. It is helpful to get an evaluation that reviews the CCW applicant’s history and concludes that the applicant is not reasonably likely to be a danger.
The issuing agency may legally require its own psychological evaluation as part of the California CCW application process, but few agencies do that. This means that your independent evaluation stands unrefuted and should carry a lot of weight with the agency and the court.
You will want to find a qualified evaluator who is familiar with these kinds of evaluations. Because the changes to CCW permit application process are so new, I analogize it to a more established process: Welfare & Institutions Code section 8103 evaluations. This is the statute that applies to restoring gun rights after a WIC 5150 hold (which makes the subject a prohibited person for 5 years). Each county has a list of experts who are on the court panel, so we recommend finding that list for your county and choosing someone from it.
Tip 4: Be Prepared to Appeal a California CCW Application Denial in Court
If the issuing agency denies your California CCW application, you need to be prepared to file an appeal in court. We only have 30 days from the date of denial to file an appeal under Penal Code section 26206. We will not be able to add anything to the record at this point. The court will set a hearing, the agency will provide all of the documents that it relied on in making the CCW License application denial determination, and we will argue to the court that the denial was improper according to the relevant legal standards. The court will make its determination based on the same documents that the issuing agency reviewed, so it’s important to include everything during the CCW application process. For our full article about California CCW denial appeals, click here.
If you want to discuss your unique situation before you submit your California CCW application, give us a call. Our lead attorney, Don Hammond, is an NRA certified shooting instructor, a Critical Response Attorney for the United States Concealed Carry Association, and on the attorney list for the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. If your application is denied, please call us ASAP, as you only have 30 days to file an appeal in court. Contact us today at 323-529-3660!