So you want to get a California license to Carry a Concealed Weapon, or CCW for short. It's a long road to travel, depending on where you live, in many cases ending in NO OUTLET or DEAD END. The biggest hurdle is explaining WHY you want one. Being a single female traveling all over California with expensive photography gear, I'd feel much safer with a little protection.
As it is, I never go out very early in the morning or at night, which is the best time for photographs. There are even lots of places I would LOVE to go, like down to beach areas, but the remoteness usually deters my creative effort. There are SO many hiking trails I would loved to have taken, especially in Sedona, but previous events have kept me locked in my vehicle, even during the day.
California is probably the hardest State to get a license, except for New York, New Jersey and a couple more, who absolutely won't issue one at all. It depends on WHERE in California you live. If you reside in the City, you go to the City Police Department, where the Police Chief makes the decisions, many of whom refuse to issue any permits. If you reside in the COUNTY like me, it's up to the County Sheriff.
Lucky for me, we just elected a new "old time cowboy" Sheriff who believes in personal protection. Still, it's a long drawn out process, fraught with pitfalls all along the way.
First, you download an application and fill it out. Next, call the Sheriff's Department and make an appointment, or rather leave a message on the answering machine. They will call back in a few days for that appointment, which includes presenting the application and giving up your fingerprints.
I just got the call back and my appointment is for October 4. That's right, OCTOBER!! I could have snuck in at the end of August, but I'll be in Oregon. After your prints are acquired, it takes another four months for the background check to be completed. Once that's done, you can sign up for a CCW class, given by a certified instructor, in order to become qualified. You must know all the regulations and shoot over 200 rounds of ammo, passing the shooting test.
Here was my first mistake .... I signed up for the class with a friend (Ret. Sheriff Deputy) for the end of May. Yes, the Retired Deputy has to take the class too. The class is only good for a couple of months, meaning I'll have to take it AGAIN when my background check comes through around January, when of course I'll be gone!! Timing is everything and I haven't got it!!
I'm not giving up however. We think the extended dates are to discourage you. If you make it to the end, it's because you REALLY want that protection. In the meantime, I'm good in 36 other states that have reciprocity with Arizona. California and Florida are NOT included.
Until then, I'm spending lots of time at the local shooting range.