The buying process

Buying a firearm (applicable to all firearm purchases)

Waiting Period: All (non-exempt) firearm purchases within CA are subject to a mandatory 10-day wait and corresponding background check.  The 10-day period is calculated to the very minute, so a 10-day wait is better described as 10 complete 24-hour periods.

Eligibility (prohibiting Offenses & Conditions):  Although there may be exemptions, generally speaking, any Felony or misdemeanor Domestic Violence convictions will carry a lifetime prohibition on the possession (and purchase) of any firearm. Certain misdemeanor convictions or Welfare and Institutions Code filings will carry prohibitions of varying lengths of time.  Individuals subject to a Domestic Violence or Firearms Restraining Order are prohibited from possessing firearms while the order is in place.   If you have any doubt as to your eligibility status, we suggest that you consult with your attorney or conduct a personal firearms eligibility check prior to attempting to purchase a firearm. Keep in mind that under most circumstances, an attempt to purchase a firearm by a prohibited person is, in and of itself, a serious crime.

Dealer’s Record of Sale:  The current cost of submitting a DROS is $37.19.  This fee is assessed per transaction and it may be possible to submit both a handgun and one or more long-guns in the same transaction.  If you are intending to purchase more than one handgun, keep in mind that you must wait a minimum of 30 complete days between any handgun DROS applications.

Required documents (needed to DROS and complete the transaction):

  1. You will need a valid CA Driver’s License or DMV issued Identification card (no exceptions).
    1. If your ID has “federal limits apply” on it (please look at the top right corner of your ID for verification), you will also need your certified copy of your birth certificate or passport.

If the address on your ID does not reflect your current residential address, you will need to provide a Government issued document with your name and current address reflected on it

  1. You will need a Firearms Safety Certificate (FSC) or a recognized FSC exemption.  FSC Cards or evidence of exemption must be provided at the time of DROS.  If you are a first time buyer, you will most likely need to take the FSC test ($25.00 fee). Please see below for more details.
  2. If you are purchasing a handgun, you will need to provide “Proof of Residence”, usually in the form of a Utility Bill, Vehicle Registration, Trust Deed or a Rental/Lease agreement.
  3. If you are here on a Permanent Resident status, please bring your Permanent Residency Card with you as it is required in order to process the application.
  4. Non-Resident Aliens, make sure to bring a current Hunting License along with a copy of your Visa and I-94.
  5. Military Personnel: Military identification is also acceptable if accompanied by permanent duty station orders indicating a posting in California. 
  6. Proof of Lawful Presence:  If you do not have a “Real-ID”, you will need to provide proof of Lawful Presence (read below for details). 

Waiting period: Every firearm purchase requires a separate Dealer’s Record of Sale (DROS) application and back-ground check, which is a minimum of 10-days. Waiting periods apply even if you recently purchased a firearm.

Remember, all paperwork is “gun specific”.  This means that you will need to actually “purchase” the firearm before submitting any paperwork. After submitting the paperwork, there will be a waiting period that will last anywhere from 10-16 days (or until approved).

CA Compliance: We often receive inquiries as to whether we carry or can source many of the current offerings from companies like Glock/Sig/H&K.  While many of these firearms receive all the media attention, we can only offer for sale handguns which are “certified for sale” by the State of California. Generally speaking, if a handgun was introduced after 2013 (when the micro-stamping edict was imposed by then Attorney General Harris) it’s unlikely to be available in CA. You can review the list of certified handguns by following this link: https://www.oag.ca.gov/firearms/certified-handguns/search

FSC Certificate (Firearms Safety Certificate): If this is your first firearm, you will likely need to begin by taking your Firearms Safety Certificate test and obtaining your certificate.  The Firearms Safety Certificate study guide can be downloaded at: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/forms/hscsg.pdf

  • The test itself is a 30 question combination of true or false and multiple choice questions that cover firearms law, safety and general operation.   A review of the study guide is always a good idea, even if you’re not a first time gun owner.
  • Note: The FSC test can be completed at the time of your DROS appointment, there is no need to schedule a separate appointment and we are not currently booking appointments for “test only”.  Cost for the FSC test is $25.

FSC Exemptions:   Certain categories of buyers may be considered exempt from the FSC requirement. Individuals who are Active or Retired Peace Officers, Active Duty (or RETIRED) Members of our Armed Forces, CCW holders, armed security officers and certain state licensed individuals are among the many different classifications for exempt status.   If you feel that you fall into the exempt categories, please email us for more information.

Proof of Residency:

Handgun purchasers are required to provide documentation that verifies that they reside within the state of CA:  What documentation is acceptable proof of residency for handgun purchasers?

  • Utility bill from within the past three months that bears on its face the individual’s name and either of the following:
    • The individual’s current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or 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.

  • Residential lease that bears the individual’s name and either of the following:
    • The individual’s current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or 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:  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 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.

  • Property deed that bears the individual’s name and either of the following:
    • The individual’s current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or 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: A valid deed of trust for the individual’s property of current residence that identifies the individual as a grantee of the trust; or 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.

  • 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:
    •  The individual’s current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or The individual’s address as it appears on his or her California Driver License, California Identification Card, or change of address attachment thereto.

Examples of acceptable proof of residency:

  • 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.

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.

Proof of Lawful Presence:  Beginning July 1st, 2019 when submitting any AMMUNITION or FIREARM Eligibility Check using a California ID or Driver’s License bearing the notation “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY”, you will be required to submit documentation that proves lawful presence in the United States.

Documentation may be in the form of:

  • 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

California Code of Regulations, Title 11, Division 5, Chapter 4 § 4045

© 2013 Martin B Retting Inc.