Buying A Firearm in California

concealed weapon permits in cali

Let`s raise that number!

Enshrined in the Second Amendment is the cherished right for private citizens to own firearms.  Excusing ourselves from the constant national debate regarding their legality and operation, let’s focus instead on the policies that govern their legal sales within the United States.  In particular, let’s focus on the rules in the state of California.


With one out of every eight Americans living in California, it is often said that what policies exist in California help to set the policies in the rest of the United States.  In particular, the gun laws in California help to illustrate the complexity around purchasing a gun legally.  While every state has different laws, California’s laws help to show how complicated the process can be.


With that in mind, let’s take a moment to review what you or someone else would need to buy a firearm in California.  In addition to reviewing the requirements for the whole process, we will look at a brief timeline of what you will need to go through the process quickly and effectively.  With that out of the way, let’s begin!



Requires & Procedures For Acquiring A Firearm In The State of California


At the center of arms sales in the state of California is the Dealer’s Record of Sale, or DROS process.  All firearms that are purchased, or transferred (even among private parties) as to legally go through them.  So, regardless of how you come across a firearm, it will involve the DROS process.



Age Requirements


In California, the age of when you can purchase a weapon depends on the type of weapon you want to buy.  For example, if you want to purchase a shotgun or a rifle, then you have to be 18 years of age.  If you want to purchase a handgun, then you will have to be 21 years of age.  You will have to prove your current age at the time of purchase.  You can do this several ways.  First, you can submit a valid driver’s license from California.  Second, you do not have a license, then you can submit an identification card given by the DMV in California.  Finally, if you are in the military, then you can provide a military identification card along with permanent duty station orders which indicate a posting in California if you have that available.  All three will be able to verify your identity and your age.



Additional Proof Of Residency


Along with identity and age, you will need proof of residency as well.  Typically, a property deed, residential lease, utility bill, or GID will be enough to satisfy this requirement as long as your name is somewhere included.



Waiting Period


It is important to know that when purchasing a gun, you do not buy it immediately. There is a 10-day waiting period for any firearms that are purchased can be released to purchaser. In addition, the same waiting period will follow a transfer of a firearm as well, even among private parties.



Safety Certification


In the state of California, it is required that every person possess a handgun safety certificate, or HSC. You will need to have this certificate and complete a safety demonstration. There is an exemption however. You may be be able to qualify for an HSC exemption.



Summing Up The Process And What You Will Need


Before beginning the process, you will need a proof of age and identity (DMV license or identification card), and proof of residency (anything with your name and an address). You will also have to pass a safety certification course and have that paperwork with you. If you are above 18 for a rifle or shotgun or 21 for a handgun, you cannot then legally purchase a gun in the state of California. After a 10-day wait period, you can pick it up.



Addition Information


If you are interested in learning more about the laws governing firearms, then you are in luck.  The government of California keeps a guide to getting firearms on their website, as well as the exact passages in the constitution that provide for its legality.  In addition, there are many pro 2nd amendment websites that provide the information for free as well.