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How to Buy a Handgun Legally in California

How to Buy a Handgun Legally in California Image

Knowing how to buy a handgun legally in California is necessary in such a gun-strict state. A new law on firearms seems to be implemented every few months, so keeping track of them all can be difficult. Fortunately, this concise guide will put you through the legal paperwork involved in buying a handgun in sunny Cali.

Buying Your Next Handgun in California

There are several ways to purchase a firearm in Cali, although each demands more than is required in other free states. You can always get your gun online, from the local store, or a private individual. But here’s a spoiler alert!

It doesn’t matter the method you choose to use: you’ll need a person who owns a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to manage the transaction for you. And this person has to be there in person. 

That aside, there’s a list of basic requirements to fulfill before buying a handgun in California. 

The person must:

  • Be 21 at least;
  • Provide a valid driver’s license, alongside s right thumbprint;
  • Undergo a background check conducted by a verified firearms dealer;
  • Show proof of residency; &
  • Own a Firearm Safety Certificate.

Proving Your Residency

This is a doc that proves you’re a legal resident of the state. Any of the following can pass:

  • A property deed;
  • A signed residential lease arrangement;
  • A utility bill settled within the last three months;
  • A military permit showing an assignment in Cali.

You need to confirm that the address on your driver’s ID correlates with the one on your proof of residency. The Cali Department of Justice (DOJ) has an official list of acceptable documents, but not every FFL will agree with the DOJ. I know that is not smart. You’re not the only one who thinks so. 

Just so you know, I’ve seen a person who had a CCW permit, hunting license, Certificate of eligibility & electricity bill and was still rejected by different FFLs. This was despite that these items were all on the official list of the CA DOJ.

I suggest coming with the complete folder or just call ahead to ask. 

Conducting a Background Check

The ID & age requirements are pretty easy to fulfill. Where things get tough is the background check. This check will enable the seller to document your purchase & is referred to as the Dealer Record of Sale. 

You must never have been convicted of any crime to pass this check. 

Anyone who falls in any of the categories below will be banned for life from owning a firearm:

  • Lifetime prohibitions on firearm purchase and ownership apply to anyone:
  • A murder or deliberate manslaughter convict;
  • A mayhem convict;
  • A rapist;
  • A perpetrator of lewd acts on any kid under 14;
  • An attempted murderer;
  • An assaulter with the intent of robbery or rape;
  • An assaulter wielding a deadly weapon;
  • A person who’s been involved in domestic violence;
  • A kidnapping convict;
  • A robbery convict;
  • A carjacking convict;
  • A person admitted to mental issues more than once in a single year;
  • A person seen as dangerous to themselves or others. 

Final Words on How to Buy a Handgun Legally in California

California is strict with guns, and the paperwork seems not to finish. In our subsequent articles, we’ll complete the entire process of gun purchase & ownership in the state. You now have an idea of how to buy a handgun legally in California, at least. Easy to see it’s a long process, but it can be completed.

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