FAQ

FIREARM QUESTIONS

 

What is needed to purchase a HANDGUN:

  1. Valid California ID or Driver’s License
    1. If you have a Federal limits you will need to bring either a valid passport or Birth Certificate. If you’ve had any name changes from your birth certificate you will need those supporting documents as well.
    2. One of the following from below
      1. Firearms safety certificate
      2. Conceal carry permit (exempt from #3 below if CCW address is correct)
      3. Law Enforcement ID (exempt from #3 below)
      4. Guard card AND exposed carry permit
    3. Proof of residency. Please refer below to, “What documentation is acceptable proof of residency for handgun purchasers?”

What is needed to purchase a LONG GUN:

  1. Valid California ID or Driver’s License
    1. If you have a Federal limits you will need to bring either a valid passport or Birth Certificate. If you’ve had any name changes from your birth certificate you will need those supporting documents as well.
    2. One of the following from below
      1. Firearms safety certificate
      2. Conceal carry permit (exempt from #3 below if CCW address is correct)
      3. Law Enforcement ID (exempt from #3 below)
      4. Guard card AND exposed carry permit
      5. Valid Hunting license 
    3. If your address is not current on your ID or Driver’s license you will need proof of residency. Please refer below to, “What documentation is acceptable proof of residency for handgun purchasers?”
    4. If you are under 21 you will NEED and valid hunting license to purchase a long gun.

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)

(If you have a Federal Limits ID or driver's License you will need to bring in either a valid Passport or birth Certificate.)

(You must be 21 to purchase a firearm in California unless you have a valid hunting license)

 

I purchased a gun online do I need to come in to start paperwork? 

Yes, buying the firearm online just secures it for you until you can make it in to start the paperwork.

 

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 you have a CURRENT address you will need ONE item from the following: 

    • Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) Permit.
    • Certificate of Eligibility (COE.)
    • Curio and Relic (C &R) Federal Firearms License (03 FFL) with name and address.
    • Current DMV Disabled Placard.
    • Current DMV Registrations.
    • Electricity, gas, cable bill with purchaser's name on it from within the last 3 months.
    • Resident Hunting License issued by Department of Fish and Wildlife
    • Fishing License: Commercial, Resident Sport, Lifetime, 1, 2, and 10 day licenses issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
    • Signed, dated and notarized rental agreement/contract.
  1. Utility bill from within the past three months that bears on its face the individual's FULL name and either of the following:
    1. The individual's current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or
    2. The individual's residential address as it appears on his or her California Driver License or California Identification Card, or change of address attachment thereto.

"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.

  1. Residential lease that bears the individual's name and either of the following:
    1. The individual's current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or
    2. The individual's address as it appears on his or her California Driver License or California Identification Card, or change of address attachment thereto.

"Residential lease" means either of the following:

      1. A signed and dated contract by which the individual (tenant) agrees to pay a specified monetary sum or provide other consideration for the right to occupy an abode for a specified period of time; or
      2. A signed and dated rental agreement by which the individual (tenant) agrees to pay a specified monetary sum or provide other consideration at fixed intervals for the right to occupy an abode.
  1. Property deed that bears the individual's name and either of the following:
    1. The individual's current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or
    2. The individual's address as it appears on his or her California Driver License or California Identification Card, or change of address attachment thereto.

“Property deed" means either or the following:

      1. A valid deed of trust for the individual's property of current residence that identifies the individual as a grantee of the trust; or
      2. A valid Certificate of Title issued by a licensed title insurance company that identifies the individual as a title holder to his or her property of current residence.
  1. Current, government-issued license, permit, or registration, other than a California Driver License or California Identification Card, that has a specified expiration date or period of validity. The license, permit, or registration must bear the individual's name and either of the following:
    1. The individual's current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or
    2. The individual's address as it appears on his or her California Driver License, California Identification Card, or change of address attachment thereto.

       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

Examples of documents that are NOT acceptable proof of residency:

    • Active Duty Military Spouse ID.
    • Bank Statement.
    • Brown Card.
    • Cellular Phone bill.
    • Fishing Validations and Report Cards.
    • Hunting license- Standard, Self-Filled.
    • Pay Stub.
    • Voter Registration.

(Pen. Code, § 26845 and Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4045)

 

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))

What is a straw purchase?

A straw purchase is an illegal firearm purchase where the actual buyer of the gun, being unable to pass the required federal background check or desiring to not have his or her name associated with the transaction, uses a proxy buyer who can pass the required background check to purchase the firearm for him/her. It is highly illegal and punishable by a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison.

The person who purchases the firearm online or in store in the only person able to do the background check. If you cannot or do not pass your background check the gun is refunded and charged the 10% restock fee.

Who is a "Prohibited Person?"


The following classes of persons are prohibited by federal law from possessing, receiving, shipping, or transporting firearms or ammunition:

  • Those convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for over one year, except state misdemeanors punishable by two years or less.
  • Fugitives from justice.
  • Unlawful users of certain depressant, narcotic or stimulant drugs.
  • Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents, or those committed to any mental institution.
  • Illegal aliens.
  • Persons who have renounced their citizenship.
  • Those persons dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
  • Persons less than 18 years of age for the purchase of a shotgun or rifle.
  • Persons less than 21 years of age for the purchase of a firearm that is other than a shotgun or rifle.
  • Persons subject to a court order that restrains such persons from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner.
  • Persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
  • Persons under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year are ineligible to receive, transport or ship any firearm or ammunition.

Where do I find laws regarding the possession of firearms?

  • The laws governing control of deadly weapons, including firearms, are found in Part 6 of the Penal Code, beginning at section 16000. These laws define the various types of dangerous weapons as well as restrictions and crimes related to their manufacture, sale, possession, and transportation. Of particular note, the laws relating to firearms are found in Title 4 of Part 6, beginning at section 23500, and the applicable definitions and general rules are found in Title 1 of Part 6, beginning at section 16000. Laws that pertain to both firearms and other types of deadly weapons are found in Title 2 of Part 6, beginning at section 17500.

I'm not sure whether I have a California record that would prevent me from owning/possessing a firearm. Is there a way to find out before I attempt to purchase one?

  • Yes, you may request a California Personal Firearms Eligibility Check (PFEC) by submitting a (PFEC) application, pdf to the Department of Justice. For more information about how to request a PFEC, please refer to the PFEC FAQ. Applications are also available through your local firearms dealer. Please be advised that a PFEC does not include a Federal NICS check. Therefore, you may still be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm even though you receive a PFEC response indicating you are eligible to own or possess firearms.

(Pen. Code, § 30105)

Can I give a firearm to my adult child? Can he/she give it back to me later?

  • Yes, as long as the adult child receiving the firearm is not in a prohibited category, pdf and the firearm is legal to possess (e.g., not an assault weapon). The transfer of a firearm between a parent and child or a grandparent and grandchild is exempt from the dealer transfer requirement. The exemption does not apply to step-children/step-parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, or cousins.

    If the firearm is a handgun, the recipient must obtain a Handgun Safety Certificate prior to taking possession and must also submit a Report of Operation of Law or Intra-Familial Handgun Transaction and $19 fee to the DOJ within 30 days after taking possession.

    The same rules apply to the return of the firearm at a later date.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 27870-27875, 30910-30915.)

Does California have a law regarding the storage of firearms?

  • Yes. If you keep any loaded firearm within any premise which is under your custody or control and know or reasonably should know that a child (person under 18 years of age) is likely to gain access to the firearm, you may be guilty of a felony if a child gains access to that firearm and thereby causes death or injury to any person including themselves unless the firearm was in a secure locked container or locked with a locking device that rendered it inoperable.

    (Pen. Code,§§ 25100, 25200.)

Are large-capacity magazines legal?

  • Generally, it is illegal to buy, manufacture, import, keep for sale, expose for sale, give or lend any large-capacity magazine (able to accept more than 10 rounds) in California. However, continued possession of large-capacity magazines that you owned in California prior to January 1, 2000, is legal provided you are not otherwise prohibited. A person prohibited from possessing firearms is also prohibited from owning or possessing any magazines or ammunition.

    (Pen. Code, §§16150, subd. (b), 30305, 32310.)

My firearm purchase was denied by the DOJ and the dealer won't tell me why. How do I find out the reason for the denial?

  • If your DROS application is denied, you will receive a letter from the DOJ Bureau of Firearms within two weeks. The letter will explain the reason and instructions on how to get a copy of the record that resulted in the denial of your application. There will also be instructions on how to dispute and correct information in your record you believe is wrong.

Can I use a temporary license as identification for firearm purchases?

  • No. Neither temporary driver's licenses nor temporary identification cards are acceptable forms of proof of identity and age.

    (Pen. Code, § 16400.)

Can my driving record prevent me from purchasing a firearm?

  • Yes. If you have a conviction for a firearms-prohibiting offense, such as felony drunk driving, your driving record would affect your ability to purchase a firearm. Furthermore, your driver's license must be valid. A revocation, outstanding ticket, or fine may cause your license to be invalid.

What is the Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) requirement?

  • Prior to the submission of DROS information for a fiream, the purchaser must present an FSC or provide the dealer with proof of exemption pursuant to California Penal Code section 31700.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 26840, 31700.)

How do I get an FSC?

  • To obtain an FSC you must score at least 75% (23 correct answers out of 30 questions) on the FSC Test covering firearm safety and basic firearms laws. The true/false and multiple choice test is administered by Instructors certified by the Department of Justice who are generally located at firearms dealerships.

    (Pen. code, §§ 31610-31670.)

If I lose my FSC, can I get it replaced?

  • Yes. A replacement FSC is available only through the DOJ Certified Instructor who issued your FSC. The FSC replacement cost is $5. The replacement FSC will reflect the same expiration date as your original FSC.

    (Pen. code, § 31660.)

I am moving into California and I own several firearms. What are the new-resident registration requirements?

  • You are considered a personal firearm importer as defined by California law. You may bring all of your California-legal firearms with you, but you must report them all to the California Department of Justice within 60 days as required utilizing the New Resident Firearm Ownership Report (BOF 4010A), pdf. You may not bring ammunition feeding devices with a capacity greater than ten rounds, machine guns, or assault weapons into California.

    (Pen. code, §§ 17000, subd. (a), 27560.)

Can I get a list of the firearms for which I am listed as the purchaser, transferee, or owner?

  • Yes. To obtain a list of firearms listed in your name, complete and submit an Automated Firearms System Records Request, pdf to the Automated Firearms Unit, P.O. Box 820200, Sacramento, CA 94203-0200. The request must be signed, notarized, and include a photocopy of your photo ID card (i.e., driver's license or DMV ID).

My firearm is in the possession of a court or law enforcement agency. What do I need to do to get it back?

  • Once the court or law enforcement agency in possession of your firearm notifies you the firearm is available for return, you must submit a completed Law Enforcement Gun Release (LEGR) application, pdf with the appropriate processing fee to the California Department of Justice (the Department). The processing fee for an LEGR application is $20.00 for the first firearm and $3.00 for each additional firearm listed on the application.

    If the court or agency in possession of your firearm determines that the firearm was reported stolen, the fee for the stolen firearm will be waived. You must send documentation from the court or agency confirming the firearm was reported stolen along with the LEGR application to qualify for the fee waiver.

    Once the Department receives your LEGR application, a firearms eligibility check will be conducted to determine if you are lawfully eligible to possess firearms. DOJ will also confirm the firearm is recorded in the Department’s Automated Firearms System (AFS) as being owned by or loaned to the individual seeking its return. If you have not previously reported your firearm to the Department, you must also submit a Firearms Ownership Report (FOR) application (BOF 4542A) along with the appropriate fees to the Department. If the firearm you are seeking return is a rifle/shotgun, the prior completion of a Dealer’s Record of Sale (DROS) background check does not satisfy the aforementioned firearm reporting requirement. However, if the rifle/shotgun was registered as an assault weapon or 50 BMG rifle, the reporting requirement has been satisfied.

    You will receive a notice of the results. If this notice states that you are eligible to possess firearms and the firearm is recorded to in your name, you should then take the notice to the court or law enforcement agency in possession of your firearm to claim it. The notice must be presented to the court or law enforcement agency within thirty (30) days of the date listed on the notice. Failure to do so will result in the need to submit a new application and fees and undergo another firearms eligibility background check.

My firearm, ammunition and ammunition feeding devices are in the possession of a court or law enforcement agency. What do I need to do to get it back?

  • Follow the instructions for submitting an application for LEGR. Once the Department receives your LEGR application, a firearms eligibility check will be conducted to determine if you are lawfully eligible to possess firearms. If you are eligible to possess firearms, the court or law enforcement agency can release the ammunition and/or feeding devices at the same time as the firearm.

My ammunition and/or ammunition feeding device are in the possession of a court or law enforcement agency. What do I need to do to get it back?

  • If you are seeking the return of ammunition and/or feeding devices ONLY, DO NOT submit a LEGR Application. Please visit the law enforcement agency or court that has custody of your property or contact the Bureau of Firearms by email at https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/contact for further instructions.

    Effective July 1, 2020, the Department will be required to perform eligibility checks on individuals who are attempting to retrieve ammunition and/or ammunition feeding devices that are in the custody of a law enforcement agency or court.

 

AMMUNITION QUESTIONS

AMMUNITION CAN NOT BE SHIPPED TO A RESIDENTIAL HOUSE IN CALIFORNIA!

Do you accept ammo transfers?

No, we do not accept ammo transfers. If we receive an ammo transfer it will either be refused or you will need to pay for shipping to have it returned to the place it was purchased.

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.)

What is my eligibility to purchase ammunition based on?

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?

No.

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.

https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/apfaqs

https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/dlrfaqs

https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/pubfaqs