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How to buy a gun in California

The most common question we receive is "what do I need to buy a gun?"

Compared to most other states, California is one of the most challenging places to legally obtain a firearm. The paperwork, the fees, the licensing, a long waiting period...they certainly don't make it easy. (If you aren't registered to vote yet, do it NOW. The following regulations are in place because they were voted in. Do your part to not be part of the problem!)

Whether you are purchasing your first gun or it's been many years since your last buy, we hope that the list below will help walk you through how to prepare before coming in.

1. You must be 21 years or older to purchase a firearm in California. Yes, even long guns now.

2. For a long gun you will need either a valid hunting license or a Firearms Safety Certificate. For a handgun, only a Firearms Safety Certificate can be used. This can be obtained in our store for $25 after passing a quick exam and is valid for 5 years. The study guide can be found here:

3. Bring a valid ID with your current address. If your address on your ID does not match the address given for your background check, you must bring in “proof of residency” such as vehicle or boat registration or a water/sewer/garbage bill in your name.

If you are purchasing a long gun such as a rifle, shotgun, pump action or a receiver, stop here. If you are purchasing a handgun, proceed to step 4.

4. California requires you to bring two proof of residencies to purchase a handgun. So if your ID has your current address, you will need one more document such as vehicle or boat registration or a water/sewer/garbage bill in your name. If your ID does not have your current address you will need two of these documents.

Once you have your documents in order, it’s time for the best part, come on in for your purchase! When you have settled on the right gun for you, present the above mentioned documents and fill out the provided 4473 form to submit your background check to the state of California. Now, the worst part. You must wait 10 days before you can come back and pick up your purchase.

There are additions and exceptions to the guidelines mentioned on this post. For example if you are law enforcement, active duty, etc but these are the rules for the general population. We hope this helps. Happy shopping!

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