What are the requirements for buying a firearm?

  • You must be 21 years of age or older

  • You must either be a citizen of the United States or a resident alien with a Green Card or I-94 documentation

  • You cannot be a under indictment for a felony, convicted of a felony or violent misdemeanor, a fugitive from justice, an unlawful user or addicted to controlled substances*, adjudicated to be mentally defective or committed to a mental institution, dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces, subject to a restraining order, someone who has renounced their citizenship to the United States, or an alien admitted illegally into the United States.

What documents do I need to present in order to buy a handgun?

  • A valid, unexpired California Driver’s License or ID card

  • A valid, unexpired Firearms Safety Certificate

  • A valid, unexpired Proof of Residence

  • IF the address on your California Driver’s License or ID card is not your current address you will also need a valid, unexpired Proof of Change of Address

  • IF you are not a U.S. citizen you will also need your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) or your I-94 documentation.

What documents do I need to present in order to buy a rifle or shotgun?

  • A valid, unexpired California Driver’s License or ID card

  • A valid, unexpired Firearms Safety Certificate

  • IF the address on your California Driver’s License or ID card is not your current address you will also need a valid, unexpired Proof of Change of Address

  • IF you are not a U.S. citizen you will also need your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) or your I-94 documentation.

What is a Firearms Safety Certificate?

A Firearms Safety Certificate (FSC) is a card issued to you after you take and pass a 30 question written test on general firearms safety and specific California gun laws.  FSC cards are issued immediately upon passing the test and are valid for 5 years from the date of issuance.  A study guide and practice test can be found online here:


Are there exemptions to needing a FSC Card?

Yes.  The following individuals are exempt from needing a FSC card provided they present appropriate documentation:

  • X01 = Special Weapons Permit Holder

  • X02 = Operation of Law Representative

  • X03 = Handgun being returned to the owner

  • X13 = FFL collector with COE (curio and relic handguns only)

  • X21 = Military – Active Duty

  • X22 = Military – Reserve

  • X25 = Military – Honorably Retired

  • X31 = Peace Officer – California – Active

  • X32 = Peace Officer – Federal – Active

  • X33 = Peace Officer – California – Honorably Retired

  • X34 = Peace Officer – California – Reserve

  • X35 = Peace Officer – Federal – Honorably Retired

  • X41 = Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) Permit Holder

  • X81 = P.O.S.T. 832 PC (Firearms) Training

  • X91 = Particular and Limited Authority Peace Officers

  • X95 = Law Enforcement Service Gun to Family Member

  • X98 = Valid Hunting License (long guns only)

What is Proof of Residence?

Proof of Residence (POR) is a state requirement for purchasing a handgun that serves as proof that you live where you say you live.  It must include your name and the current address.  If using a bill, your correct address must be listed as the service address and the bill must have a service date within the last 3 months. Additional documents that may be used can be found on the DOJ website https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/dlrfaqs#14G

Guns Direct will accept the following as POR:

  • Any of the accepted documents listed on the DOJ website

  • CA DMV Vehicle Registration

  • Water and Power Bill

  • Gas Bill

  • Trash Pickup Bill

  • Landline Phone Bill

  • Internet Access Bill

  • Cable/Satellite Television Bill

  • Residential Lease Agreement

  • CA Concealed Weapons Permit

  • Private Security Guard Card

  • Private Security Firearms Card

  • Property deed that bears the individual’s name and address

What is Proof of Change of Address?

Proof of Change of Address is a federal requirement for purchasing any firearm when your ID doesn’t have your current address listed on it.  It must include your name and current residential address. If you have AAA they offer DMV vehicle service which you can go switch your car registration over to your current residential address.

Guns Direct will accept the following for change of address:

  • A valid electronic document from a government website

  • CA DMV Vehicle Registration

  • CA DMV Vehicle Registration Renewal letter

  • CA DMV information request document (Brown change of address card will not work)

  • Water and Power Bill (only from a city or state governmental source – So Cal Edison bills do NOT qualify)

  • Property Tax Statement (for your primary residence)

  • USPS Confirmation of Change of Address Letter

  • Jury Summons Notice

  • Proof of Voter Registration

  • CA Concealed Weapons Permit

  • Private Security Guard Card

  • Private Security Firearms Card

  • Unemployment notices

  • Federal stimulus letter

 What about my U.S. Passport? Can’t I use that as a form of ID?
No. Due to California’s requirement of a state issued ID card your passport is unacceptable as a form
of ID. However, you may need to use your passport to establish proof of citizenship (see above).


Are there certain firearms that are illegal to buy in CA?

Yes. California has more strict firearms laws than most other states and there are limits as to what can be purchased legally. Handguns must either be on the California Approved Handgun Roster or be exempt from the Roster. Rifles must have barrels at least 16” long and must be 30” long in their shortest configuration. Shotguns must have barrels at least 18” long and must be 26” long in their shortest configuration. No firearm listed as banned in the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 or in Senate Bill SB-23 of 2000 can be purchased. Additionally, firearms with certain features or combination of features are deemed “Assault Weapons” by the state and cannot be purchased.


What is the California Approved Handgun Roster? https://www.oag.ca.gov/firearms/certified-handguns/search

The California Approved Handgun Roster is a list of handguns that the state allows gun dealers to sell. Certain firearms are classified as “Exempt” from needing roster status (single action revolvers with barrels at least 3” long and at least 7” in overall length, Olympic style target pistols, etc.) All non-exempt handguns not on the roster cannot be sold by California firearms dealers. Please note that just because a given handgun is not on the roster that does not mean that it is illegal to buy, own, or sell that firearm. It means that it is illegal for a gun store to sell that firearm. Off roster handguns can still be bought, owned, or sold via Private Party Transfers and Intrafamiliar Transfers.


Can’t I just buy an off roster firearm out of state or online?

No.  Firearms dealers cannot deliver off roster firearms unless the firearm was part of a Private Party Transfer or an Intrafamilial Transfer.


Is anyone exempt from having to abide by the roster?

Yes. Active law enforcement officers are not bound by the roster and may purchase any handgun that is not illegal.


What is a Private Party Transfer?

A Private Party Transfer (PPT) occurs when one California resident sells his privately owned firearm to another California resident.  Both parties must go to a firearms dealer, present the needed documentation, and fill out paperwork.  At that time the dealer will take custody of the firearm for the mandatory waiting period.  The buyer then returns to the dealer after his waiting period is over and takes possession of the firearm just as if he had purchased it from the dealer.  Note:  Buying a firearm from a private individual outside of California does not qualify as a PPT.  As stated above, PPTs are not bound by the California Approved Handgun Roster.

All paperwork needed for a PPT is required at the time of the transfer, without exception.



What is the process for purchasing a firearm?

You bring in all of the necessary documentation mentioned above, choose and pay for your firearm, and fill out the Federal Form 4473 (4473) and California Dealer’s Record of Sale (DROS) paperwork, along with other forms depending on the type of firearm you purchase. You then have a 10-day waiting period that must pass before you can return to our store and take delivery of your firearm. We will only contact you during your waiting period if there is a problem or a delay. Otherwise, you may assume you have been approved for delivery.

Do I have to wait 10 days for all firearms or just for handguns?

All firearm transactions require a 10-day (240 continuous hours) wait before they can be delivered. Your waiting period is calculated to the second and begins when your DROS is submitted to the CA DOJ. For example, if you purchase your firearm at 2:15pm on Saturday the 5th your earliest pick up date and time would be 2:16pm on Tuesday the 15th.

Other than the cost of the firearm itself what taxes and fees do I have to pay?

You will pay sales tax on the cost of the firearm and a $37.19 fee for your DROS paperwork.

What if I can’t pick up my firearm on my first available day of delivery?

Your DROS paperwork is valid for 30 days from the day of filing. The first 10 days of that time is consumed by your waiting period. Therefore you have a 20 day window to take delivery. If you fail to take delivery by the end of your 30 days your paperwork becomes invalid. You will be charged a 20% restocking fee and state fees will not be refunded.

Am I subject to a criminal background check?

Yes. The DROS paperwork submitted to the CA DOJ is used to perform a criminal background check that is conducted during the 10-day waiting period. If you have any question as to your ability to pass a background check we strongly recommend that you contact CA DOJ before starting paperwork on a firearm.

What happens if I fail my background check/change my mind/cannot complete my purchase?

If for any reason you cancel or are denied on your background check (DMV REJECT’S ARE CONSIDERED DENIALS) you will be charged a 25% restocking fee of the purchase price of the firearm to cover the labor costs ,credit card fees , reverse a sale and cancel paperwork. DROS fees are non-refundable as CA DOJ charges our account for the DROS fee the instant it is submitted. The balance of your refund can be credited back to you or can be put towards another purchase if the cancellation was voluntary. If your status comes back as “Undetermined” you will be charged a 10% restocking fee , state fees are non-refundable. No firearm will be held if any of the above mentioned occur. Firearm will be placed out for sale the moment any of the above occur.

Is there a limit to the number of firearms I can purchase?

There is no limit to the number of firearms a person can own. However there is a limit to the number of firearms that can be purchased within a given time period. Currently a Californian may not process paperwork on more than one handgun or semi auto rifle within a 30 day period. If a buyer wanted to purchase two handguns at the same time one would be processed normally and the other would be put on Layaway status (the firearm is purchased but no 4473 or DROS paperwork would be done) until 31 days after the purchase of the first one. Then the buyer would return and do the paperwork on the second firearm. Handguns sold via PPT are not counted against the 1-in-30 limit except if the PPT takes place within Los Angeles city limits. There are currently no restrictions on the number of rifles or shotguns that can be purchased at the same time.

I’ve bought several firearms from Guns Direct. Do I have to go through this entire process every time?

Yes. Unfortunately you will have to provide correct documentation and fill out paperwork each and every time you make a purchase. This is required by state and federal law and even if it were not we have no way to keep physical documentation in an easily searchable format.

What if my new firearm is defective/broken/damaged? Do I bring it back to Guns Direct?

No.  Any and all warranties are between the manufacturer of a firearm and the purchaser.  We do not offer warranty service, repair, or shipping on any firearm sold.  By California law, every firearms manufacturer is bound to honor their warranty directly with the purchaser.  Firearms needing warranty service can be shipped directly from the purchaser to the manufacturer without third party involvement.

Please understand that while we sympathize with the disappointment and frustration of purchasing a firearm and not having it work as advertised, we will only muddy the waters and delay the return of your firearm by getting involved.  We will be happy to assist you in contacting the manufacturer and lending advice on how to properly pack and ship your return.

What if I take delivery of my firearm and change my mind? Can I return it?

No. All firearm sales are final. Once delivery is made the firearm has changed hands and is now legally classified as a “Used” firearm even if it never gets taken out of the box. Due to this fact we strongly urge shoppers to take advantage of our team’s expertise and advice in helping to make the right firearm choice for their purposes, situation, and budget.

If I’m selling a firearm via a Private Party Transfer what documentation do I need to bring?

The seller in a Private Party Transfer (PPT) needs to bring their valid, unexpired California Driver’s
License or ID card. If the address on your California Driver’s License or ID card is not your current
address you will also need a valid, unexpired Proof of Change of Address.

If I’m buying or selling a firearm via a Private Party Transfer do I need to make an appointment?

Appointments are not necessary. PPT transactions must be paid in CASH. Please note that Private Party Transfers (PPTs) take even longer than a regular sale Additionally, we will not conduct a PPT a hour before we close.

PPT are done one at a time in the order of arrival so please allow plenty of time to complete a PPT.


Do I need a background check to purchase ammunition?

YES. There are
two possible types of background checks.
• If you have successfully purchased a firearm in California and still reside at the same address,
you can do a Basic check for $1 which should process within a few minutes of submission.
• If you have not purchased a firearm in California or have since moved, you will not pass the
Basic check and will have to submit a Standard check for $19 which could take several days to
We recommend that new buyers (or buyers with a new address since their last purchase) purchase
ammunition on the day that they pick up their firearm from us as they will have just successfully
passed a background check and their ammunition purchase check can effectively be added to their
DROS at no additional charge.