New Shooter FAQs

Have questions on purchasing a firearm in California? Need to know the requirements to buy a rifle or handgun? Not sure about the wait period? How about laws regarding traveling with firearms? Read below.

Southern California Gun - FAQs

Buying a Firearm in California

What requirements are needed to purchase a rifle/shotgun?

Purchaser must be a 18 years old and a California resident or Military with PCS orders. You'll need to provide California Driver's License or ID Card with current address.

What requirements are needed to purchase a handgun?

Purchaser must be a 21 years old and a California resident. Utility bills from within the last 90 days, property deeds, permanent military station orders, lease or rental agreements or government issued permits, licenses or registrations are acceptable proofs of residency that meet the CA DOJ requirements.

Handgun purchasers must possess a Handgun Safety Certificate (or qualifying exemption), provide evidence of residency and perform a Safe Handling Demonstration. The test consists of 30 questions and you need 23 correct answers or more to pass. The cost of the taking test and receiving the card is $25. Study booklets are available at our location for $0.50. The HSC is valid for 5 years from date of issuance.

Purchaser must perform a Safe Handling Demonstration of the weapon being purchased. The Safe Handling Demonstration is a set of firearm handling skills that must be performed by the purchaser with the gun they are purchasing or with a gun of the same model as the one that is being purchased. The skills include checking that the handgun is empty, unlocking it, loading it with a dummy round, unloading it and relocking it. This demonstration is performed at the time of DROS.

What is the waiting period for firearm purchases in California?

10 days from the initiation of the DROS process.

Is there a limit to the number of firearms that a person can purchase at one time?

For handguns — California law limits the purchase of handguns to no more than one handgun transferred from a dealer to an individual within any 30-day period. Note — Private Party Transfers are exempt from the one-handgun-a-month restriction.

For rifles and shotguns — California law does not limit the number purchased by one person or within any specific time period.

What is the DROS process?

DROS stands for Dealer Record of Sale. It is the system used by the California Deptartment of Justice to perform background checks against purchasers of firearms. It is also the method in which handgun sales registration information is obtained.

Trigger Lock Information

California law requires that all firearms sold, be transferred with a trigger lock, cable lock, qualifying gun cabinet or lock box, or gun safe. These devices may include those approved trigger locks that come with the majority of new firearms or one that was purchased within the last 30 days, provided that it is accompanied by a receipt. State law dictates that persons who already own a safe or lock box can sign an affidavit attesting to ownership of those devices. However Federal law now requires that a trigger lock accompany any handgun transfer without consideration of CA law. Effectively this means that safe affidavits are no longer acceptable since the Federal law went into effect. If the device that comes with your gun is on the "approved" list than you will not need to purchase another gunlock or cable.

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Buying Guns Out of State or Online

Want to order a gun from another website and have it shipped to you? No problem! We are a full service FFL (Federal Fireamrs Licensed) dealer. If you order a firearm on another website or store, you can have it shipped to us and we'll take care of the paperwork. There's a $75 transfer fee, a $28.50 registration fee (DROS) and we handle the background check. California tax must also be paid on the purchase amount for the firearm (8%). So basically, here's how it works:

It may be less expensive to negotiate with us first before paying all transfer anad shipping fees.

  1. You contact us about the transfer
  2. You buy a firearm from another dealer
  3. You provide the dealer with our info
  4. It gets shipped to us and we contact you upon it's arrival
  5. You come in to complete a special order transaction

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California Approved Handgun List Confusion - What can you buy in California and why not other handguns

Perhaps this has happened to you or someone you know. You just spent a quiet afternoon perusing the internet or reading your favorite firearm magazine and have come to the realization that this is your perfect firearm. You drive down to your favorite LGS or call them on the phone only to learn that it is not approved for sale in California. The resulting discussion can be observed in our store on just about any day. What handguns are actually available for purchase and why?To try and clear this up follow the link below for some answers to the question.

In the meantime, visit our new hot items to see what has recently arrived. Yes, the featured items are all legal for purchase in California.

The State of California, Department of Justice, maintains a "Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale" which was created on January 1, 2001. The primary goal of this roster is:

"On and after January 1, 2001, the Department of Justice shall compile, publish, and thereafter maintain a roster listing all of the pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person that have been tested by a certified testing laboratory, have been determined not to be unsafe handguns, and may be sold in this state pursuant to this title. The roster shall list, for each firearm, the manufacturer, model number, and model name."

How does a gun get on the Roster?
A manufacturer or an importer (and ONLY those) submits a handgun for testing. They must supply THREE copies of the gun to be tested, and pay a fee. (PC 12130)

The gun must pass a defined firing requirement (PC 12127) and a drop safety test (PC 12128). It must also meet other requirements in effect at the time it is submitted for testing, currently a magazine disconnect and a loaded chamber indicator for semi-automatic handguns. (PC 12126(b)(5))

The Roster shows an expiration date; what is that for?
That means it is time for the manufacturer/importer to pay the annual $200 fee for that model. If the fee is paid, the handgun stays on the Roster. Nothing else has to happen. If the fee is paid, no new requirements apply after an expiration date.

What happens to a gun if the manufacturer/importer does not pay the fee?
The gun drops off the Roster. Ordinarily, this happens because the manufacturer no longer sells that model.

Sometimes there is an administrative reason a fee is not paid. In at least one case, a manufacturer was allowed to certify that the gun as manufactured at that time was identical to the gun as tested when put on the Roster, and the gun was just put back on. [ 11 CA ADC 4070(e) ]

The Legislature passed a new law about handguns (e.g. microstamping). What does that mean for guns on the Roster?
Unless the Legislature writes the law differently, nothing. Guns on the Roster are not affected by laws passed after the gun was listed; so far, the changes have been required only for guns not yet on the Roster and offered for testing to get on the Roster after the effective date of the law. HOWEVER, it is unlikely that we will see any new semi-automatic handguns added to the roster in the future as they are required to have the microstamping feature of which no manufacturers are currently producing.

I don't get it. Guns on the Roster don't have to meet the new laws?
Right. Example: A Glock pistol was added to the Roster in 2001. Glock, Inc. continues to pay the annual fee.

Effective 2007, all semi-automatic handguns submitted for testing to get on the Roster must have both a magazine disconnect and a loaded-chamber indicator.

This requirement has no effect on guns already on the Roster, because the law is written as quote:

Commencing January 1, 2007, for all center fire semiautomatic pistols that are not already listed on the roster pursuant to Section 12131, it does not have both a chamber load indicator and if it has a detachable magazine, a magazine disconnect mechanism.

THEREFORE, the Glock does NOT need the magazine disconnect or loaded chamber indicator - it is already on the Roster, and the law is written to exclude guns already on the Roster. Consignment beauty!!

Someone can move into California as a legal owner of one or many handguns not on the Roster and bring them into the state. Any California resident can transfer a non-Roster handgun to another California resident using Private Party Transfer. That has to happen at an FFL dealer, but the Roster does not apply to PPT.

Inherited guns and intra-family (within California only) transfers - which do not use FFLs - are exempt from being on the Roster. Out of state to CA intra-family gifts are also exempt from the Roster, even though they must go through an FFL.

Falling off the Roster does not make handguns illegal and certainly does not make them unsafe in any meaningful usage of the term

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Private party transfers

Want to buy a gun from a private party? No problem! Sales conducted between unlicensed individuals are called Private Party Transfers. PPT's must be brokered through licensed dealers. Both parties must be present at the time of the sale. The purchaser bears the cost of the transaction ($35) and must meet all of the qualifications as outlined above. The firearms will remain at Southern California Gun during the 10-day waiting period.

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Traveling with Firearms in California

Handguns

California Penal Code section 12025 does not prevent a citizen of the United States over 18 years of age who is not lawfully prohibited from firearm possession, and who resides or is temporarily in California, from transporting by motor vehicle any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person provided the firearm is unloaded and stored in a locked container.

The term "locked container" means a secure container which is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device. This includes the trunk of a motor vehicle, but does not include the utility or glove compartment. For more information, refer to California Penal Code Section 12026.1.

Shotguns and Rifles

Non-concealable firearms (rifles and shotguns) are not generally covered within the provisions of California Penal Code section 12025 and therefore are not required to be transported in a locked container. However, as with any firearm, nonconcealable firearms must be unloaded while they are being transported. A rifle or shotgun that is defined as an assault weapon pursuant to Penal Code 12276 or 12276.1 must be transported in accordance with Penal Code section 12026.1.

Registered Assault Weapons

California Penal Code section 12285(c)(7) requires that registered assault weapons may be transported only between specified locations and must be unloaded and in a locked container when transported.

The term "locked container" means a secure container which is fully enclosed and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or similar locking device. This includes the trunk of a motor vehicle, but does not include the utility or glove compartment. For more information, refer to California Penal Code Section 12026.1.

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Gun Safety Rules and Measures

The six basic gun safety rules

  1. Treat all guns as if they are loaded. Always assume that a gun is loaded even if you think it is unloaded. Every time a gun is handled for any reason, check to see that it is unloaded. If you are unable to check a gun to see if it is unloaded, leave it alone and seek help from someone more knowledgeable about guns.
  2. Keep the gun pointed in the safest possible direction. Always be aware of where a gun is pointing. A "safe direction" is one where an accidental discharge of the gun will not cause injury or damage. Only point a gun at an object you intend to shoot. Never point a gun toward yourself or another person.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Always keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. Even though it may be comfortable to rest your finger on the trigger, it also is unsafe. If you are moving around with your finger on the trigger and stumble or fall, you could inadvertently pull the trigger. Sudden loud noises or movements can result in an accidental discharge because there is a natural tendency to tighten the muscles when startled. The trigger is for firing and the handle is for handling.
  4. Know your target, its surroundings and beyond. Check that the areas in front of and behind your target are safe before shooting. Be aware that if the bullet misses or completely passes through the target, it could strike a person or object. Identify the target and make sure it is what you intend to shoot. If you are in doubt, DON'T SHOOT! Never fire at a target that is only a movement, color, sound or unidentifiable shape. Be aware of all the people around you before you shoot.
  5. Know how to properly operate your gun. It is important to become thoroughly familiar with your gun. You should know its mechanical characteristics including how to properly load, unload and clear a malfunction from your gun. Obviously, not all guns are mechanically the same. Never assume that what applies to one make or model is exactly applicable to another. You should direct questions regarding the operation of your gun to your firearms dealer, or contact the manufacturer directly.
  6. Store your gun safely and securely to prevent unauthorized use. Guns and ammunition should be stored separately. When the gun is not in your hands, you must still think of safety. Use a California-approved firearms safety device on the gun, such as a trigger lock or cable lock, so it cannot be fired. Store it unloaded in a locked container, such as a California-approved lock box or a gun safe. Store your gun in a different location than the ammunition. For maximum safety you should use both a locking device and a storage container.

Additional safety measures

  • Never handle a gun when you are in an emotional state such as anger or depression. Your judgment may be impaired.
  • Never shoot a gun in celebration (the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve, for example). Not only is this unsafe, but it is generally illegal. A bullet fired into the air will return to the ground with enough speed to cause injury or death.
  • Do not shoot at water, flat or hard surfaces. The bullet can ricochet and hit someone or something other than the target.
  • Hand your gun to someone only after you verify that it is unloaded and the cylinder or action is open. Take a gun from someone only after you verify that it is unloaded and the cylinder or action is open.
  • Guns, alcohol and drugs don't mix. Alcohol and drugs can negatively affect judgment as well as physical coordination. Alcohol and any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical functions should not be used before or while handling guns. Avoid handling and using your gun when you are taking medications that cause drowsiness or include a warning to not operate machinery while taking this drug.
  • The loud noise from a fired gun can cause hearing damage, and the debris and hot gas that is often emitted can result in eye injury. Always wear ear and eye protection when shooting a gun.

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Come See Us!

We're located in Kearny Mesa and open
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-5pm.
Closed Sundays

4891 Convoy Street
San Diego CA 92111

Phone: (858) 571-2020

Get Directions to Our Gun Store

southern california gun

 Approved California Handguns

Not sure what handguns are California compliant?

Here's a list of every handgun approved for sale in California. If there's something on that list you want, give us a call. We either have it in stock or can get it!

consignment used guns

Visit the DOJ website

 Collectors Corner

DWM 1900 Swiss Military 30 Luger

Chambered in 30 Luger with tapered 4.75" barrel. Rust blue finish in excellent condition throughout. Early dish style knobs. Inscribed with Cross in Sunburst. This pistol is correct in all aspects. Components are all matching with regard to serial number. 3,000 units produced.
Price: $6,000

View All Collectibles »

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Come See Us!

We're located in Kearny Mesa and open
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-5pm.
Closed Sundays

4891 Convoy Street
San Diego CA 92111

Phone: (858) 571-2020

Get Directions to Our Gun Store

southern california gun