student at shooting range practicing to get the California Exposed Firearms Permit

California Exposed Firearms Permit – Don’t Leave Home Without It!

Posted July 7, 2018 by David Howell

If you are looking to work as a security guard or in the security field in California, it is important that you have a California Exposed Firearms Permit.

This will be necessary for any job that requires you to carry a weapon and will be particularly relevant for those eager to work as a security guard. If you are new to the security field, there are various things that you do need to be aware of when applying for your California Exposed Firearms Permit.

Why Is a California Exposed Firearms Permit So Important?

In 2012, the California State Assembly took measures to create a stronger stance against carrying firearms in public places. Before this, it was legal for anyone to carry an unloaded weapon in public as long as it was not concealed. In January 2012, this law was changed. You can no longer carry a firearm in public even if the gun is unloaded. This means that if you need to carry for a work position such as a security guard, you must be able to present a valid permit. It is up to you to produce this permit and have it on you at all times. Learn more on the subject.

Be aware that carrying a firearm exposed without this permit can result in a maximum of 364 days in county jail. Alternatively, you can be charged a total of $1000. If you have a valid permit such as a California Exposed Firearms Permit, you cannot be charged. In some areas of California such as Los Angeles, you must have good cause in order to qualify for a permit.

Applying for a California Exposed Firearms Permit:

To apply for this type of firearm permit, you need to complete a fourteen-hour course. Eight hours of this course will be taught in a classroom while six more will be spent at a gun range. This course must be run be a Bureau-certified firearms training instructor at a Bureau certified training facility. If the course is run by someone not covered and approved by the BSIS, then the permit will not be valid.

Requirements for Approval:

To be approved a permit, you must be a citizen of the USA, and you cannot have a ban of owning or possessing a firearm. To work as a security guard and gain a permit you must be a registered security guard and be already approved by the BSIS.

You will also need to complete a full criminal history background check that will be completed by the FBI and the California Department of Justice. You must use a LiveScan form to complete your criminal background check for this to be accepted. At Livescan you’ll find information on what is covered through this type of background check.

In addition, effective July 1st 2018 a new BSIS Requirement states that any BSIS security guard registrant seeking an initial BSIS firearms permit must complete an assessment for the purposes of determining whether he/she possesses, at the time of the assessment, appropriate judgment, restraint, and self-control to carry a firearm while on duty.

Necessary Training:

You do need to complete two key forms of training to apply for a Firearms Permit in California. This includes training on the Power to Arrest and Firearms Training and Qualifications.

As well as this from July 1, 2018, a security guard seeking a firearms permit will need to complete a firearms assessment. This assessment will determine whether you have the right level of judgement, self-control, or restraint to carry a firearm while you are working or on duty. The new assessment is designed to ensure an extra level of safety, security and protection for the applicant.

What You Will Learn:

During your firearm permit course, you will be taught a wide range of information including legal and more responsibilities that you are bound by when working as a security guard carrying a firearm. You will also be shown how to handle your weapon safely and shoot the correct way.

It is crucial that you are also aware of the mindset and different situations where you need to be aware of a danger or potential threat. Emergency procedures will also be discussed, and you will be provided your firearm qualification once you have completed the full course.


Be aware that the permit does expire two years after the date that it is issued. You need to make sure that you re-apply twice in the first year and twice in the second year. Renewals must be at least four months apart and sixty days before the permit expires. If your permit does expire, then you will need to apply for a new one to continue to carry.

If you need help getting your California firearm permit, we can help. Here at PWA, we can help you get a range of permits and qualifications including your California Guard Card, ensuring that you have everything you need to operate as a security guard legally in the state of California.

David Howell

Pacific West Academy Coordinator

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