California has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. That’s why it’s important to understand the rules and regulations before buying a gun in the Golden State. This article provides a step-by-step guide to purchasing a firearm in California, from researching state gun laws to taking home your new gun.
Research California Gun Laws
The first step in buying a gun in California is to familiarize yourself with the state’s gun laws. These include restrictions on the types of firearms you can buy, age requirements for purchasing a gun, and other restrictions.
Types of Guns Allowed
California has a variety of gun laws that dictate which types of firearms are allowed. Handguns must have undergone safety testing and be listed on the state’s roster of approved handguns. Semi-automatic rifles must also meet certain criteria, such as having a fixed magazine capacity of 10 rounds or fewer. Shotguns must have a fixed magazine capacity of five rounds or fewer. Additionally, California does not allow the sale of assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, or “unsafe” handguns.
In California, you must be 21 years old to purchase a handgun from a licensed gun dealer. If you are 18 or older, you may purchase a rifle or shotgun from a licensed dealer. However, individuals under the age of 18 may not possess a handgun, except under certain circumstances.
California also has laws regarding who can own a gun. Individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors, including domestic violence and hate crime offenses, are prohibited from owning firearms. It is also illegal to sell, give, or lend a gun to someone who is prohibited from owning one. Additionally, certain cities and counties have enacted their own gun control laws, so it’s important to check local laws before buying a gun.
Understand Eligibility Requirements
Before you can buy a gun in California, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements vary depending on the type of firearm you want to purchase.
Who is Eligible for Gun Ownership
In order to legally purchase a firearm in California, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident alien and not be prohibited from owning a firearm due to certain convictions or mental health issues. You must also be at least 18 years old and a resident of California.
What Documentation is Required
When purchasing a firearm, you will need to provide certain documents, such as a valid driver’s license or other government-issued identification card, proof of age, and proof of residency. You may also need to provide additional documents, such as a Firearm Safety Certificate.
Find a Licensed Gun Dealer
Once you have familiarized yourself with the state’s gun laws and met the eligibility requirements, you can start looking for a licensed gun dealer. There are several ways to find a dealer, including online searches and referrals from friends.
Where to Look for Gun Dealers
You can search for licensed gun dealers in your area through the California Department of Justice website. The website also provides information about gun shows and other events where firearms are sold. Additionally, many gun stores have websites that provide information about their services and inventory.
How to Verify License Status
Before you purchase a firearm from a dealer, it’s important to verify that they are licensed. You can do this by asking to see their Firearms Dealer’s License (FDL). The FDL should be prominently displayed at the store. Additionally, you can check the California Department of Justice website to make sure the dealer is listed as a licensed seller.
Complete the Firearm Safety Certificate
Before you can purchase a firearm in California, you must complete a firearm safety course and obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC). The FSC is required for all handgun purchases, but not for long guns.
Obtaining the Certificate
The FSC is issued by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). To obtain an FSC, you must first take an approved firearms safety training course. Courses are available online and in person. Online courses cost $25 and in-person courses typically cost between $50 and $100.
Completing the Course
Once you have completed the course, you must submit a certificate of completion to the DOJ. Once your certificate is approved, you will receive your FSC via email. You must then present the FSC to the gun dealer when you purchase your firearm.
Submit Background Check and Purchase Application
After you have found a licensed gun dealer and obtained an FSC, you must submit a background check and purchase application. The application must be filled out in its entirety and signed by both the buyer and the seller.
Filling Out the Application
The application includes questions about the buyer’s criminal history, mental health history, and other personal information. The buyer must also provide the make, model, and serial number of the firearm they are purchasing. The application must be completed in its entirety and signed by both the buyer and the seller.
Submitting the Application
Once the application is filled out, it must be submitted to the California Department of Justice. The DOJ will conduct a background check and determine whether the buyer is eligible to purchase a firearm. If the buyer is approved, they will receive a confirmation number, which must be presented to the gun dealer when the purchase is made.
Take Home Your New Firearm
Once the background check is approved and the purchase is complete, you can take your new firearm home. However, there are still a few things you need to keep in mind when transporting and storing your firearm.
Transporting the Firearm
When transporting your firearm, it must be unloaded and stored in a locked container. The container must be either a locked trunk or a locked case specifically designed to transport firearms. Additionally, handguns must be transported directly to and from a shooting range, hunting area, or other authorized location.
Storing the Firearm
When storing your firearm, it must be kept in a secure location, such as a gun safe or locked cabinet. Additionally, firearms must be kept out of reach of children and other unauthorized individuals. It is also important to keep ammunition locked up separately from the firearm.
Buying a gun in California is a complex process that requires research and understanding of state laws. This article provided a step-by-step guide to purchasing a firearm in California, from researching state gun laws to taking home your new gun. The steps include understanding the types of guns allowed, meeting eligibility requirements, finding a licensed gun dealer, completing a firearms safety course, submitting a background check and purchase application, and transporting and storing your new firearm.
By following these steps and understanding the state’s gun laws, you can safely and legally purchase a firearm in California.