Purchasing a firearm in California
All firearms purchases and transfers, including private party transactions and sales at gun shows, must be made through a licensed dealer under the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) process. California imposes a mandatory 10-day waiting period before a firearm can be released to a buyer or transferee. A person must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun. To buy a handgun, a person must be at least 21 years of age, and either 1) possess a FSC plus successfully complete a safety demonstration with the handgun being purchased or 2) qualify for an FSC exemption.
As part of the DROS process, the buyer must present "clear evidence of identity and age" which is defined as a valid, non-expired California Driver's License or Identification Card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. A military identification accompanied by permanent duty station orders indicating a posting in California is also acceptable.
If the buyer is not a U.S. Citizen, then he or she is required to demonstrate that he or she is legally within the United States by providing to the firearms dealer with documentation that contains his/her Alien Registration Number or I-94 Number. Nonimmigrant Aliens must also provide a current hunting license or permit. This information is recorded in block 20c on the 4473.
Purchasers of handguns are also required to provide proof of California residency, such as a utility bill (government owned utility), residential lease, property deed, or government-issued identification (other than a driver’s license or other DMV-issued identification). (PC Section 12071)
Federal 4473 Requirements
Valid picture ID. If the picture ID address does not match the 4473 address, then items below must be obtained.
Another valid, government-issued document showing the transferee's residence address. This alternate documentation should be recorded in question 20.b., with issuing authority and type of identification presented.
1. It must be a government issued document. Non-municipal utility bills and DMV brown change of address cards do not apply. The document should be printed or typed and not handwritten.
2. This is required for any firearm transaction whether long gun, handgun or other firearm.
Common examples are: CA vehicle registration, CA DMV printout, CCW, government utilities, and any printed hunting license documents.
CA DROS Requirements
Long Gun and Handgun requirements:
Proof of Identification: California Driver’s License or California ID Card or Military ID with orders to a duty station in California along with valid State Driver’s License/ID.
All handgun DROS must be accompanied by a copy of proof of residency.
Utility Bill from within the past three months that bears on its face the individual's name and 4473 address. Utility Bill means a statement of charges for providing service to the individual's residence by either physical or a telemetric connection.
California Compliant Handguns
Handguns in California must be state compliant. California approved firearms are listed here; http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/
Firearms Safe Handling Certificate
The Firearms Safety Certificate Program replaced the Basic Firearms Safety Certificate. Unless exempt, individuals must possess a Firearms Safety Certificate (FSC) prior to purchasing or acquiring a handgun. The FSC Test and Certificate is $25.00.
Second, unless exempt, individuals must perform a safe handling demonstration prior to taking delivery of a handgun from a licensed dealer.
FSCs are acquired by taking and passing a written test on handgun safety, generally at participating firearms dealerships and private firearms training facilities.
Prior to purchasing or acquiring a handgun, unless exempted, you must have a valid Firearms Safety Certificate (FSC). You must present your FSC to the firearms dealer at the time you begin a transaction to purchase/acquire a handgun.
California FSC FAQs; https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/fscfaq