CALIFORNIA FIREARM SAFETY CERTIFICATE

Note: In order to purchase a firearm in California, you are required to obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC). 
The written exam is administered by your local gun store at time of purchase of a firearm.



  1. What are the Firearm Safety Certificate requirements?
    • Prior to purchasing or acquiring a firearm, unless exempted, you must have a valid Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC). You must present your FSC to the firearms dealer at the time you begin a transaction to purchase or acquire a firearm.

  2. What are the exemptions from the Firearm Safety Certificate requirement?
    • There are several FSC requirement exemptions. In addition to the previous Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) exemptions, a person issued a valid hunting license is exempt from the FSC requirement for long guns only. (Pen. Code, § 31700, subd. (c).)

  3. If I already have a Handgun Safety Certificate, do I still need a Firearm Safety Certificate?
    • o A valid HSC can still be used to purchase/acquire handguns until it expires. For long gun purchases/acquisitions made on or after January 1, 2015, an FSC is required. An FSC can be used to purchase/acquire both handgun and long guns.

  4. Do I need a Firearm Safety Certificate if I begin a long gun transaction prior to January 1, 2015, but don’t take possession of the long gun until after December 31, 2014?
    • Yes. Effective January 1, 2015, an FSC must be obtained prior to taking possession of a long gun, regardless of when the DROS transaction was initiated.

  5. How do I get a Firearm Safety Certificate?
    • To obtain an FSC you must score at least 75% (23 correct answers out of 30 questions) on the FSC Test covering firearm safety and basic firearms laws. The true/false and multiple choice test is administered by Instructors certified by the Department of Justice who are generally located at firearms dealerships.

  6. How much does the Firearm Safety Certificate cost?
    • The fee for taking the FSC Test and obtaining an FSC is twenty-five dollars ($25). The $25 fee entitles you to take the test twice (from the same DOJ Certified Instructor) if necessary.

  7. Are there any minimum qualifications/requirements for a person who wants to take the Firearm Safety Certificate Test?
    • Yes. The FSC applicant must be at least 18 years of age and must present clear evidence of identity and age by presenting a California Driver License or California Department of Motor Vehicles Identification Card.

  8. How can I prepare for the Firearm Safety Certificate Test?
    • The best way to prepare for the FSC Test is to read the FSC Study Guide. The study guide contains all the information necessary to pass the test. The FSC webinar is also a useful study tool.

  9. How can I get a Firearm Safety Certificate Study Guide?
  10. How can I view the Firearm Safety Certificate tutorial?
  11. If I don't pass the test, can I take it again?
    • Yes. The $25 fee entitles you to take the test twice if necessary. If you fail the test the first time, you may retake another version of the test from the same DOJ Certified Instructor without any additional fee after 24 hours have elapsed. The DOJ Certified Instructor is required to offer or make available to you the FSC Study Guide or refer you to view the webinar.

  12. How long is a Firearm Safety Certificate valid?
    • An FSC is valid for five years from the date of issuance.

  13. If I lose my Firearm Safety Certificate can I get a replacement?
    • Yes. A replacement FSC is available only through the DOJ Certified Instructor who issued your FSC. The FSC replacement cost is $5. The replacement FSC will reflect the same expiration date as your original FSC.

  14. Do I need a Firearm Safety Certificate if I am receiving a firearm from my mother or father?
    • Yes. Prior to taking possession of the firearm, you must have a valid FSC. Pursuant to Penal Code section 27875, subdivison (c), within 30 days of the transfer, you must also report the acquisition to DOJ on Form BOF 4544, pdf.

  15. Do I have to carry my Firearm Safety Certificate with me whenever I possess or transport my firearm?
    • No. Mere possession/ownership of a firearm does not require an FSC. However, you do have to present your FSC to the firearms dealer at the time you begin a transaction to purchase/acquire a firearm.

  16. Is a Firearm Safety Certificate required when a firearm is being loaned?
    • It depends on the specific circumstances. Generally, a person being loaned a firearm must have a current FSC. However, an FSC is not required if the loan does not exceed three days in duration and the person loaning the firearm is at all times within the presence of the person being loaned the firearm.

  17. I am moving into California and intend to bring my firearm with me. Do I need a Firearm Safety Certificate?
    • No, you do not need an FSC to move into California with your firearm. However, there are important rules related to personal firearm importation that must be followed, and which are explained on this website. (Pen. Code, § 17000.)

  18. What is the "safe handling demonstration" requirement?
    • The safe handling demonstration is a statutory requirement that firearm purchasers/recipients execute a series of specific steps related to safely loading and unloading the firearm. The safe handling demonstration must be performed under the supervision of a DOJ Certified Instructor, and the purchaser must sign an affidavit attesting to the completion of the safe handling demonstration. The performance steps of a successful safe handling demonstration can be found beginning on page 45 of the Firearm Safety Certificate Study Guide, pdf .

  19. When must the safe handling demonstration take place?
    • The safe handling demonstration must be performed on or after the date the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) is submitted to DOJ, and prior to the delivery of the firearm. You may find it helpful to perform the safe handling demonstration prior to actually initiating the DROS to ensure that you will be able to take possession of the make and model you select.

  20. What are the exemptions to the safe handling demonstration requirement?
    • The exemptions to the safe handling demonstration include all the exemptions from the FSC requirement.

      The FSC program also provides for an exemption when physical disability deprives an individual the necessary agility to execute the safe handling demonstration. A signed, written letter from a licensed physician attesting that a physical disability precludes an individual from being able to perform the safe handling demonstration is required for this exemption. This exemption applies to the safe handling demonstration only. There is no exemption from the FSC requirement based on physical disability.