WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE TO PURCHASE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION?

The minimum age to purchase handguns or handgun ammunition is 21 years of age. The minimum age to purchase rifles and shotguns or rifle and shotgun ammunition is 18 years of age.

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IS THERE A WAITING PERIOD & BACKGROUND CHECK TO PURCHASE FIREARMS?

All firearms purchasers must pass a background check to ensure that they are not in a prohibited class. For a list of prohibiting categories, go here:Prohibiting Categories Prohibiting Misdemeanors The background check is performed during the mandatory ten (10) day waiting period. Law Enforcement officers are exempted with an official letter. For waiting period purposes, 1 day equals 24 hours. All waiting periods are calculated exactly, including minutes, etc. Background check is valid for thirty (30) days from date of transmission to DOJ. This provides a twenty (20) day window in which to pick up a firearm, after the mandatory waiting period. Purchasers are limited to one handgun purchase per thirty (30) days, calculated from date & time of transmission to DOJ. Consignment & private party transfers are exempt from one gun every thirty days.

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WHAT DO I NEED TO PURCHASE A FIREARM?

  1. You need an acceptable form(s) of identification. (see FAQ #4 below)
  2. You need to reside in California and have proof of it. (see FAQ #6 below)
  3. For all firearms you need to either have a FSC card or be exempt. (see FAQ #7 below)
  4. Thumbprint: Purchaser must provide thumbprint at time of sale.
  5. Safe Handling Demonstration: Before firearm is picked up, customer must be able to perform a safe handling demonstration to prove that he / she can load, unload, lock, unlock, and safely handle the firearm. This test is performed here in the store, under the supervision of our personnel.

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WHAT IS AN ACCEPTABLE FORM OF IDENTIFICATION?

A valid California driver's license, California State ID card, or Military ID. (Military see FAQ #5 below for more information). No temporary, invalidated or expired licenses are permitted. License must be electronically scanned; if unable to be scanned, then a photocopy must be retained. Driver's licenses that have been invalidated due to outstanding tickets or other serious problems will prevent transfer. If your ID has either an outdated residence address or a P.O. box listed as your address, then Federal Law requires an additional government identification that lists your physical address or new, current address. Some acceptable documents that help prove residential address are: official DMV information printout showing correct address, voter registration card returned to you in the mail confirming your residential address, DMV Automobile Registration, Security Guard Card, CCW permit, etc.

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I AM IN THE MILITARY, CAN I BUY A GUN? WHAT DO I NEED?

Service Members with a Military ID and a copy of purchaser's current orders showing a permanent duty station in California qualify as proof of residency for firearms purchases and Military ID is proof of exemption from handgun HSC requirements. No temporary duty orders are acceptable if permanent duty is outside of California. If no permanent duty station orders are available, a letter from the purchaser's command on official letterhead stating permanent duty status in California; otherwise, purchaser must have either a California driver's license or California State ID Card. A California driver's license or California State ID card may be used for identification purposes with appropriate proof of address documentation (see FAQ #6), and Active Duty Military ID may be used for HSC exemption.

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WHAT DO I NEED FOR PROOF OF RESIDENCY?

For all firearms, Federal law requires a government issued identification that shows residence address. If your ID has a P.O. Box or outdated residence address, a second form of government issued license or ID is required. Some acceptable examples that can show current residence address are: Official DMV printout showing correct address, voter registration card returned to you in the mail confirming your address, current automobile registration, or other government issued document that shows your residence address.  Additionally for handguns, California requires proof of residency, even if your State issued ID has your current address. Some acceptable examples are: Current CA automobile registration, signed rental or lease agreement, recent utility bill, or a valid government issued license of some sort that has an expiration date. Here are all acceptable forms of proof of residency: CA acceptable Proof of residency.

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WHAT IS AN FSC CARD? DO I NEED ONE?

A Firearms Safety Certificate (FSC) is required for all firearm purchases in California unless exempt. Effective January 1, 2015, the Handgun Safety Certificate program was replaced with the Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) program. Under the FSC program, requirements that previously applied to handguns only now apply to all firearms (handguns and long guns), unless exempt. A list of exemptions is available below.  Any questions about exemptions should be directed to an available on-duty instructor.

A valid Handgun Safety Certificate can still be used to purchase/acquire handguns onlyuntil it expires. For long gun purchases/acquisitions made January 1, 2015, and thereafter, an FSC will be required. Once an FSC is obtained, it can be used for both handgun and long gun purchases/acquisitions.

FSCs are acquired by taking and passing a written test on firearm safety.  A Firearm Safety Certificate Study Guide, is available for viewing to help individuals prepare for the FSC test here: FSC Study Guide .  A Firearm Safety webinar is also available for viewing.

The firearm safety demonstration protocols and DOJ Certified Instructor standards have been established and implemented by DOJ. An explanation of the firearm safety demonstration can be found starting on page 12 of the Firearm Safety Certificate Study Guide.

Exemption List

X01 = Special Weapons Permit Holder
X02 = Operation of Law Representative
X03 = Handgun being returned to the owner
X13 = FFL collector with COE (curio and relic firearms only)
X21 = Military – Active Duty
X22 = Military – Reserve
X25 = Military – Honorably Retired
X31 = Peace Officer – California – Active
X32 = Peace Officer – Federal – Active
X33 = Peace Officer – California – Honorably Retired
X34 = Peace Officer – California – Reserve
X35 = Peace Officer – Federal – Honorably Retired
X41 = Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) Permit Holder
X81 = P.O.S.T. 832 PC (Firearms) Training
X91 = Particular and Limited Authority Peace Officers
X95 = Law Enforcement Service Gun to Family Member
X98 = Valid Hunting License (long guns only)

Exemptions require proper acceptable documentation.

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DO I NEED TO PROVE THAT I AM A US CITIZEN?

No, US citizens do not need to provide proof. Personal information is verified during background check.

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I AM AN ALIEN. CAN I BUY (OR RENT) A GUN AND/OR AMMUNITION?

Yes.

Immigrant Aliens & Aliens from Visa Wavier Countries
Immigrant aliens may possess, purchase, & rent firearms & purchase ammunition. In addition, if an alien is visiting from a country that does not require a visa to be admitted the US, (see the US State Dept list here) may also purchase and possess firearms & ammo. However, they still must satisfy all other requirements for purchase. The buyer's "A" number must be provided on 4473 and DROS; a photocopy of their INS issued Alien registration card or Admission number (form I94W) must be provided.

Non-immigrant Visa Aliens
Non-immigrant aliens admitted to the US with a visa in certain cases may also purchase, rent or possess firearms or ammunition.
Non-immigrant aliens with a visa must satisfy these special requirements:

  1. Must provide the visa showing the admission number.
  2. In addition, aliens admitted under a non-immigrant visa must meet one of these exemptions and provide supporting documentation:

If the alien:

  1. is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued by the Federal Government, a State, or local government, or an Indian tribe federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is valid and unexpired;
  2. was admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes;
  3. has received a waiver from the prohibition from the Attorney General of the United States;
  4. is an official representative of a foreign government who is accredited to the United States Government or the Governments mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States;
  5. is en route to or from another country to which that alien is accredited;
  6. is an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor who has been so designated by the Department of State; or
  7. is a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.

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WHY DO I NEED TO BUY A LOCK? WHAT LAW(S) APPLY?

For any transfer of a handgun (including repairs), Federal law (18 U.S.C. chapter 44, section 922(z)) requires a locking device to accompany the firearm when it is picked up. Exemptions: most law enforcement officers, most law enforcement departments and firearms on the curio and relics list (CA does not exempt curios and relics, so this exemption would only apply to repaired curios & relics since repairs are not required under CA law to be locked.)

In addition, California law (P.C.12087) requires all firearms (handguns & long guns) sold, transferred or manufactured in CA to have an APPROVED firearm safety device that has been purchased within 30 days of the delivery date (receipt required). For long guns (rifles & shotguns) a safe affidavit may be signed under penalty of perjury stating the make, model etc of a suitable gun safe. Conflict with Federal law prevents this affidavit from working with handguns. This requirement has exemptions for law enforcement and "antique" firearms as defined under federal law.

One last requirement: The City of San Diego Municipal Code 33.4212 requires that the locking device be attached to the firearm when the transfer occurs.

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