Here is a quick list of all the documents you will need to get your Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) and to purchase your firearm. Keep reading for an in-depth overview of the whole purchasing process.

What You Need to Bring With You

Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC)

To obtain your FSC, you will need to take and pass a 30-question test in any store that sells guns to receive this certificate. This is a $25 fee and the certificate is good for 5 years. The exemptions are:  

  • Active or retired peace officer
  • Active or retired military
  • Peculiar and limited authority peace officer
  • CCW permit holder
  • Certified firearm instructors
  • FFL holders

The study guide for the FSC can be found here:

Proof of California Residency:

You will need to prove your California residency by providing 1) a government issue photo ID, with a valid expiration date, and 2) a secondary proof of residency, such as:

  • Rental or lease agreement
  • Automobile registration
  • Utility bill within the last 3 months
  • Property deed
  • Signed, dated, and notarized rental agreement or contract

Unacceptable proof of residency are:

  • Cellular phone bill
  • Passport
  • Pay stub

note: A California drivers license is an acceptable government issue photo ID, as long as it does not have a "Federal limits apply." If that is present on your driver's license, you must also bring proof of citizenship (a United States Passport or birth certificate)

For more information, visit the State of California's official website:

Purchasing a Firearm

Once you have decided on the firearm you wish to purchase, and brought with you the appropriate documentation (above), here is what you can expect from the purchasing process.

The Paperwork

You will be asked to fill out a Firearm Transaction Record Form (4473) at the store. A Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) will be submitted at this time, and this is when the waiting period begins (more details below).

Your thumbprint will be required on the printed DROS at time of purchase and again at pickup.

The Transaction

Once you have completed your paperwork, you will be expected to pay for the firearm and the background check ($37.19). You will be provided a receipt, which will have the time and date of pickup.

Cash, credit, or debit is accepted.

The 10-day Waiting Period

Your firearm will be stored in the safe for 10 24-hour periods (10 days). During this time, the background check will be in progress. 

If for any reason you are denied by the DOJ, you will be refunded your money for the firearm, but not the background check.

For more information, visit the State of California's official website:

The Pickup

You may pick up your firearm after 10 days, but before 30 days (this date will also be specified on your receipt).

Purchasing ammunition at pickup waives the $1 background check otherwise required.

You will also need to perform a safety demonstration with the gun you are purchasing, in the store. This requires that you follow all firearm safety rules, checking to see that the firearm is unloaded, remove a trigger lock from the gun, load one dummy round into the gun and chamber the round, and unload and relock the firearm. You can visit our Safety page for more information on firearm safety rules.

Bringing Your Firearm Home and/or To The Range

Safe Firearm transport


May be transported unloaded, in a locked trunk or a locked container. Ammunition must be in a separate container. When carrying to and from the vehicle, the firearm must remain unloaded and in a locked container.

For full explanation please read carefully:

When traveling to other states, it is your responsibility to know the laws in that state.

Long Guns:

Long guns need to be in a case, unloaded, and separate from ammunition.


Projectiles must be away from any firearms and should be out of sight.

Safe Firearm Storage

 It is your responsibility to keep your guns out of the hands of a minor or anyone prohibited from possessing a firearm. Take diligent steps to secure your weapon at home and travel.