What identification is required to purchase a firearm?
Clear evidence of identity and age is defined as a valid California driver license or a valid California identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Military identification is also acceptable if accompanied by permanent duty station orders indicating a posting in California, but the dealer must retain copies of both documents.
Temporary driver licenses and temporary identification cards are not accepted forms of proof of identity and age.
(Pen. Code, § 16400)
(You must be 21 to purchase a firearm in California unless you have a valid hunting license)
What is the waiting period for a firearm purchase?
The waiting period for the purchase of a firearm is ten (10) 24-hour periods from the date and time the DROS is accepted by DOJ, and a unique DROS number is issued.
(Pen. Code, §§ 26815, 27540)
What documentation is acceptable proof of residency for handgun purchasers?
- If purchased a handgun and the address is current on your driver’s license you WILL need to bring ONE, of the following that bears on its face the individual's name and current residential address:
A. Current vehicle registration with first and last name on it.
B. Current Utility bill within the past 90 days. "Utility bill" means a statement of charges for providing service to the individual's residence by either a physical connection (i.e., hard wired Internet, telephone connection or cable connection, or a water or gas pipeline connection) or a telemetric connection (i.e., satellite television or radio broadcast service) to a non-mobile, fixed antenna reception device.
C. Residential Lease/ Rental Agreement
D. Property Deed
3. If you have a change of address or PO Box on your license you WILL need to bring ONE, of the following proof of residence:
A. Current vehicle registration with physical address and first and last name on it.
B. Current TID or MID Bill
C. Current City of Bill
What is the Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) requirement?
Prior to purchasing or acquiring a firearm, unless exempted, you must have a valid Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC). You must present your FSC to the firearms dealer at the time you begin a transaction to purchase or acquire a firearm and at delivery. The dealer must maintain the documentation with the DROS paperwork for the FSC or the exemption. For more information, please see the frequently asked questions for the FSC program.
(Pen. Code, §§ 26840, 31615)
Are there a maximum number of handguns that a person may purchase?
Yes. A person is generally limited to making no more than one application to purchase a handgun within any 30-day period. Handgun transactions related to law enforcement, private party transfers, returns to owners, and other specified circumstances are exempt from the one-handgun-per-30-day restriction.
(Pen. Code, § 27535)
Does a DROS background check expire?
Yes. If a purchaser does not take physical possession of the firearm within 30 days of submission of the DROS information, the dealer must cancel the DROS via the DROS Entry System. If the purchaser still wants the firearm, the dealer must submit a new DROS including fees.
(Pen. Code, § 26835)
If a purchase transaction is delayed by DOJ, how does it affect the delivery within 30-days restriction?
The 30-day delivery restriction begins upon notification from DOJ that the delay has been lifted and that the dealer is authorized to deliver the firearm within 30-days of the notification date. The firearms dealer must retain all notifications and correspondence.
Am I required to provide customers with anything upon DOJ denial of a firearm transaction?
Yes. If DOJ denies a firearm transaction, the firearms dealer is required to provide the prohibited individual with a General Notice of Firearm Prohibition and Power of Attorney for Firearms Relinquishment, Sale, or Transfer for Storage (BOF 110). The BOF 110 form allows a person who is prohibited to designate another person to relinquish, sell or dispose of the firearm(s) on his or her behalf.
(Pen. Code, § 26815)
How do I handle the paperwork when a purchaser returns a defective firearm?
If a firearm is brought to you for service or repair, you may return it to the person who submitted it for repair without undergoing the DROS process. If the firearm (or a serialized part) must be replaced, a new DROS is required.
(Pen. Code, § 28100, subd. (b)(10))
AMMUNITION CAN NOT BE SHIPPED TO A RESIDENTAL HOUSE IN CALIFORNIA!
What are the fees associated with each of the ammunition eligibility checks?
- Certificate of Eligibility Verification Check - $1
- Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check - $1
- Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check - $19
How long does it take to get a determination from the Department for each type of eligibility check?
Certificate of Eligibility Verification Checks – A determination may be completed in approximately 2 minutes.
Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check - A determination may be completed in approximately 2 minutes.
Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check - A determination may take days to complete. Once this type of eligibility check is submitted, a California Ammunition Vendor should provide the person with their Ammunition Transaction number (also known as a DROS number). The person will need to check the status of their eligibility check through the Department’s California Firearms Application Reporting System (https://cfars.doj.ca.gov/login.do). Once the eligibility check is approved, the person can return to the California Ammunition Vendor and complete the ammunition purchase transaction.
Are there age restrictions for the purchase of ammunition?
Yes. You must be at least 18 years old to purchase long gun ammunition or reloaded long gun ammunition and at least 21 years old to purchase handgun ammunition or reloaded handgun ammunition. (Pen. Code, § 30300.)
Who is authorized to conduct ammunition purchases and transfers?
Effective January 1, 2018, ammunition transactions may only be conducted by licensed California Ammunition Vendors. (Pen. Code §§, 30312.)
When will I have to start going through an eligibility check to purchase ammunition?
Effective July 1, 2019, persons seeking to purchase or transfer ammunition will have to undergo an eligibility check, and be approved by the Department, prior to the sale or transfer, except as otherwise specified. Departmental approval shall occur electronically through a licensed California Ammunition Vendor. (Pen. Code §§, 30352, 30370.)
What do I need to bring to a vendor in order to purchase ammunition? What type of documentation? (non-exempt purchasers)
A valid California driver license, California identification card, or Military identification. (Pen. Code §, 28180.). If your California driver license or identification card has “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” on the front, you must also present proof of lawful presence in the United States by providing one of the following documents:
- Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card.
- Certified copy of U.S. birth certificate.
- Certification of Birth Abroad (FS-545), Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350) or Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (FS-240), issued by the U.S. Department of State.
- Valid, unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. immigrant visa and approved Record of Arrival/ Departure (I-94) form.
- Certified copy of birth certificate from a U.S. Territory.
- Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Citizenship.
- Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card.
If your name, as it appears on the California driver license or identification card that has “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” on the front, differs from the name on the document(s) above, you must present one of the following certified documents:
- An adoption document that contains your legal name as a result of the adoption.
- A name change document that contains your legal name both before and, as a result of, the name change.
- A marriage certificate.
- A dissolution of marriage document that contains your legal name as a result of the court action.
- A certificate, declaration or registration document verifying the formation of a domestic partnership.
A dissolution of domestic partnership document that contains your legal name as a result of the court action. (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4045.1.)
Eligibility to purchase ammunition is based on one of the following criteria:
- The person has a current Certificate of Eligibility issued by the Department. (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4305.)
- The person’s information matches an entry in the Automated Firearms System (name, date of birth, current address, and driver license or other government identification) and does not fall within a class of persons who are prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition. The Department shall make this determination by cross-referencing the Prohibited Armed Persons file (also known as the Armed and Prohibited Persons System). (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4302.)
- The person is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing ammunition. The Department determines eligibility based on a comprehensive review of its records (similar to a firearm eligibility check).
- The person was approved by the Department to receive a firearm from the California Ammunition Vendor, pursuant to Penal Code section 28220, if that California Ammunition Vendor is a licensed California Firearm Dealer, and the ammunition is delivered to the person in the same transaction as the firearm. In this scenario, the dealer will use the approved firearm eligibility check as the approval to purchase ammunition, and will submit the ammunition purchase to the Department during the delivery of the firearm.
No person prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm shall own, possess, or have under his or her custody or control, any ammunition or reloaded ammunition. (Pen. Code §, 30305.)
I tried to purchase ammunition and was rejected. The vendor provided me with an Ammunition Transaction number (ATN) and told me I could get information on my rejection through the Department’s website. Where exactly do I go to get that information and what information will I need to provide?
To get information regarding your rejection, visit the California Firearms Application Reporting System website at the following address https://cfars.doj.ca.gov/login.do. Once the main page appears, select the “Ammunition Eligibility Check” link on the left hand side. Once you access the page, you will need to provide your ATN (also known as DROS number) and your date of birth.
As a California resident, can I bring ammunition from another state into California?
No. Effective January 1, 2018, it is unlawful for a resident of the State of California to bring or transport any ammunition acquired outside of the State of California unless it is first delivered to a licensed California Ammunition Vendor, unless exempt. (Pen. Code, § 30314.)
I want to purchase a firearm and ammunition at the same time. Do I have to pay for two separate eligibility checks: one for ammunition and one for the firearm?
No. The California Ammunition Vendor/Firearms Dealer will submit your firearm eligibility check to the Department. If your firearm eligibility check is approved, when you go to pick up your firearm on (or after) the 10th day, the dealer will have the ability to add an ammunition transaction to the delivery of the firearm. An additional fee will not be assessed. (Pen. Code, § 30352, subd. (c)(2).)
Am I required to sign any paperwork for an ammunition purchase?
Yes. You will be required to sign the Dealer Record of Sale of Ammunition once you have been approved on the eligibility check and the vendor submits your ammunition purchase. (Pen. Code, § 30352.)
Is there a limit on how much ammunition I can purchase during an ammunition transaction?
No. There is nothing in statute or regulations that limit the amount of ammunition that can be purchased.
Does the caliber of the ammunition I’m purchasing have to match the firearm information that is on record with the Department?
Do I have to provide the ammunition vendor with a physical address to purchase ammunition, or is a P.O. Box acceptable?
A physical address is required. P.O. Boxes are not acceptable. (Pen. Code, § 30352, subd. (a), Cal. Code, tit. 11, § 4302, 4303, 4305.) If your driver license or identification card lists a P.O. Box instead of your physical address, you must provide your physical address to the ammunition vendor to enter as prompted by the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) Entry System (DES). Please note: The ammunition vendor might require documentation of your physical address or have additional requirements, pursuant to their own business processes.