How do I BUY A GUN?

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Frequently Asked Questions: How do I BUY A GUN?

Simple answers for simple questions

Discussion: Locks, How to live in California and buy a gun

California requires substantially all firearms transfers to take place at a CA-licensed FFL. Other states allow “face to face” (FTF) transfers, but California does not.

There are two general methods to buy a gun: Dealer Sale, the topic here, and Private Party Sale (see that article).

California FFLs are highly regulated.

Every firearms transfer to non-licensed persons has some common factors:

  • DROS and 4473 paperwork are both required.
  • Dealer fees and the purchase price are both required.
  • Unless the buyer is exempt, a 10 calendar-day wait is required before delivery.
  • During that 10 days, CA-DOJ will perform the background check.
  • Before delivery, the buyer must have an appropriate safety device.


  • The buyer must provide proof of identity
  • DROS is simple; no firearm identification information is recorded.
  • Either a lock or the California Safe Affidavit is acceptable.


  • Unless the buyer is exempt, or the handgun is one of the exempted models/kinds, a handgun must be on the Roster.
  • Unless the buyer is exempt, he must have a Handgun Safety Certificate.
  • The buyer must provide proof of identity AND proof of California residency.
  • Identifying information is recorded: handguns are registered to the buyers.
  • Unless the buyer is exempt, the buyer must perform a handling demonstration.
  • FEDERAL law, as currently enforced by BATFE, will not allow the California Safe Affidavit as a substitute for a lock.


Buying and selling firearms in California