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Frequently Asked Questions

Firearms Dealers

General FAQs

  1. What are California's licensing requirements for firearms dealers?
  2. How much is the annual Centralized List fee and when must it be paid?
  3. What is a California Firearms Dealer (CFD) number?
  4. Do I need to send copies of my dealer's Federal Firearms License and local firearms license(s) to DOJ?
  5. How is DROS information submitted?
  6. How do I get copies of the blank DROS worksheet?
  7. How can I correct or cancel a DROS submission?
  8. What identification is required for a person to purchase a firearm?
  9. What happens if there is a problem with the purchaser's driver's license?
  10. What is the waiting period for firearms purchasers?
  11. Who is exempt from the waiting period?
  12. What are the firearm warning label and firearm safety device requirements?
  13. What documentation is acceptable proof of residency for handgun purchasers?
  14. What proof of residency are peace officers required to provide?
  15. What are the Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) requirements?
  16. What are the handgun safety testing requirements?
  17. Is there a maximum number of handguns that a person may purchase?
  18. What are the signature requirements for the DROS worksheets/computer printouts?
  19. What fees do I charge in addition to the DROS?
  20. What fees can I charge for handling a Private Party Transfer (PPT)?
  21. What records of purchases must I maintain and for how long?
  22. Am I required to give a copy of the DROS information to the purchaser?
  23. How will I be notified regarding DROS denials and delays?
  24. Does a DROS background check expire?
  25. If a purchase transaction is delayed by DOJ, how does it affect the delivery within 30-days restriction?
  26. Am I required to provide customers with anything upon DOJ denial of a firearm transaction?
  27. How do I handle the paperwork when a purchaser returns a defective firearm?
  28. Can I require a prospective employee to obtain a Personal Firearms Eligibility Check (PFEC) as a condition of employment?
  29. What is an Employee Certificate of Eligibility (COE)?
  30. Is an Employee Certificate of Eligibility (COE) required for every employee?
  31. If I require my employee to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), who is responsible for paying the $78 fee?
  32. What is required if I permanently close my firearms dealership?
  33. What does a Large-Capacity Magazine Permit allow me to do?

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  1. What are California's licensing requirements for firearms dealers?

    California firearms dealers must obtain and maintain the following:

    • A valid Seller's Permit issued by the State Board of Equalization,
    • A valid Certificate of Eligibility issued by DOJ,
    • Any regulatory business license, or licenses, required by local government,
    • A valid Federal Firearms License,
    • A local license granted by the duly constituted licensing authority, valid for one year from the date of issuance, and in one of the following forms:
      1. In the form prescribed by the Attorney General; or
      2. A regulatory or business license that states on its face, "Valid for Retail Sales of Firearms" and endorsed by the signature of the issuing authority; or
      3. A letter from the licensing authority stating the jurisdiction does not require any form of regulatory or business license or does not otherwise restrict or regulate the sale of firearms.
    • A listing on the DOJ Centralized List of Firearms Dealers.

    To apply to be put on the Centralized List of Firearms Dealers, complete and submit an Application for Centralized List of Firearms Dealers (BOF 4080) to DOJ. For more information on dealer licensing, contact the BOF Firearms Dealer Licensing at (916) 227-2153.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 26700 and 26715)

  2. How much is the annual Centralized List fee and when must it be paid?

    The Centralized List annual renewal application and fee must be submitted to DOJ by January 31st of each year regardless of the date of initial placement on the Centralized List. The Centralized List portion of the annual fee is $20.00 per licensee at each dealership. There is also an annual inspection fee of $95.00 per dealership location. Dealerships located in jurisdictions that have a local firearms dealer inspection program are exempt from the $95.00 inspection fee. Upon request, a list of such jurisdictions is available from DOJ.

    (Pen. Code, § 26720)

  3. What is a California Firearms Dealer (CFD) number?

    The CFD number is a unique number assigned by DOJ to each fully licensed firearms dealer location in California pursuant to Penal Code section 26700. The CFD number serves as the dealer's identifier for submitting DROS information and for other business dealings with DOJ.

  4. Do I need to send copies of my dealer's Federal Firearms License and local firearms license(s) to DOJ?

    Yes. It is your ongoing responsibility to provide DOJ with current copies of all required licenses and copies of renewals within thirty days of a license's expiration date. Any dealer who fails to provide copies of renewals will be subject to removal from the Centralized List and a $20.00 reinstatement fee.

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  6. How is DROS information submitted?

    Once listed on the Centralized List of Firearms Dealers, DOJ will forward you documentation on how to enroll and access the DROS Entry System using a personal computer, magnetic card swipe reader and printer. The dealer collects the DROS information and documentation from the purchaser and submits it to DOJ electronically via their personal computer. When the DROS is accepted, a unique DROS number is assigned to the transaction and the required 10-day waiting period begins.

    (Pen. Code, § 28205)

  7. How do I get copies of the blank DROS worksheet?

    Copies of the most current DROS worksheet may be downloaded and printed from this website's Dealer Notices, Forms, and Information page.

  8. How can I correct or cancel a DROS submission?

    Within 60 days of a handgun DROS submission, you may correct or cancel a handgun DROS via the DROS Entry System with your personal computer. After 60 days, you must complete a DROS Cancellation/Correction for Handguns (Form BOF 958) and submit it to DOJ.

    In the event of a correction, only one handgun data field (e.g., make, serial #, and caliber) may be modified. If additional fields require modification, the DROS must be canceled and a new DROS submitted. A handgun DROS must also be canceled if the transaction is not completed within 30 days. All correspondence and documentation must be retained for three years for inspection purposes.

    Long gun DROS submissions cannot be corrected or canceled.

    (Pen. Code, § 28220, subd. (e))

  9. What identification is required for a person to purchase a firearm?

    Clear evidence of identity and age is defined as a valid California driver's license or a valid California identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Military identification is also acceptable if accompanied by permanent duty station orders indicating a posting in California, but the dealer must retain copies of both documents.

    Temporary driver licenses and temporary identification cards (issued without photo) are not accepted forms of proof of identity and age.

    (Pen. Code, § 16400)

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  11. What happens if there is a problem with the purchaser's driver license?

    If DROS information conflicts with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driver license files or if the license is suspended or invalid, DOJ will cancel the transaction and notify the firearms dealer. The purchaser should contact DMV to correct or update information in DMV's files. Once the DMV issue has been cleared, a new DROS may be initiated.

    (Pen. Code, § 26815, subd. (c))

  12. What is the waiting period for firearms purchasers?

    The waiting period for the purchase of a firearm is ten (10) 24-hour periods from the date and time of the acceptance of the DROS information by DOJ and the assignment of the unique DROS number.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 26815, 27540)

  13. Who is exempt from the waiting period?

    The most common exemptions to the 10-day waiting period include:

    • California law enforcement officers who have a letter signed by the head of the agency stating they are full time paid peace officers authorized to carry a firearm in the performance of their duties and authorizing the purchase. The dealer must retain the original letter and attach it to the DROS record.
    • Persons who have special weapons permits issued by DOJ. The dealer must retain a copy of the permit and attach it to the DROS record. Persons who have a Curio & Relic Collector's license issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and who have a valid Certificate of Eligibility only when purchasing curio and relic firearms. The dealer must retain a copy of the Federal Firearms License, Collector's license and the COE.
    • Dealers transferring a handgun from inventory to their personal collection. The dealer is still required to submit DROS records for each handgun transferred. There is no DROS submission or waiting period requirement for dealers transferring long guns to themselves for personal use. The ATF's acquisition/disposition log requirements still apply.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 26950, 26955, 26960, 26965, 26970, 27650, 27655, 27660, 27665, 27670)

  14. What are the firearm warning label and firearm safety device requirements?

    Each firearm sold by firearms dealers must be accompanied by a child safety warning label. The DOJ has certified independent laboratories to test safety devices for compliance with the adopted standards. Any manufacturer of firearm safety devices who wants to have a particular device certified for sale in California must submit the device to a DOJ-certified testing laboratory. The DOJ-certified laboratory will test the device and forward the test results to DOJ. Subject to DOJ application and fee requirements, qualifying devices may be approved by DOJ for inclusion on the Roster of Firearm Safety Devices.

    For more information, please see the frequently asked questions for Firearm Safety Devices.

    (Pen. Code, § 23620, et seq.)

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  16. What documentation is acceptable proof of residency for handgun purchasers?
    1. Utility bill from within the past three months that bears on its face the individual's name and either of the following:
      1. The individual's current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or
      2. The individual's residential address as it appears on his or her California Driver License or California Identification Card, or change of address attachment thereto.

      “Utility bill" means a statement of charges for providing service to the individual's residence by either a physical connection (i.e., hard wired Internet, telephone connection or cable connection, or a water or gas pipeline connection) or a telemetric connection (i.e., satellite television or radio broadcast service) to a non-mobile, fixed antenna reception device.

    2. Residential lease that bears the individual's name and either of the following:
      1. The individual's current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or
      2. The individual's address as it appears on his or her California Driver License or California Identification Card, or change of address attachment thereto.
          "Residential lease" means either of the following:
        1. A signed and dated contract by which the individual (tenant) agrees to pay a specified monetary sum or provide other consideration for the right to occupy an abode for a specified period of time; or
        2. A signed and dated rental agreement by which the individual (tenant) agrees to pay a specified monetary sum or provide other consideration at fixed intervals for the right to occupy an abode.
    3. Property deed that bears the individual's name and either of the following:
      1. The individual's current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or
      2. The individual's address as it appears on his or her California Driver License or California Identification Card, or change of address attachment thereto.
          "Property deed" means either or the following:
        1. A valid deed of trust for the individual's property of current residence that identifies the individual as a grantee of the trust; or
        2. A valid Certificate of Title issued by a licensed title insurance company that identifies the individual as a title holder to his or her property of current residence.
    4. Current, government-issued license, permit, or registration, other than a California Driver License or California Identification Card, that has a specified expiration date or period of validity. The license, permit, or registration must bear the individual's name and either of the following:
      1. The individual's current residential address as declared on the DROS form; or
      2. The individual's address as it appears on his or her California Driver License, California Identification Card, or change of address attachment thereto.

      Examples of acceptable proof of residency:

      • Current DMV registrations.
      • Electricity, gas, cable bill with purchaser's name on it from within the last 3 months.
      • Signed, dated and notarized rental agreement/contract.

      Examples of documents that are NOT acceptable proof of residency:

      • Hunting or fishing license (these documents are not issued by the government).
      • Cellular phone bill.

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  18. What proof of residency are peace officers required to provide?

    Peace officers, including reserve and retired peace officers, may present valid credentials issued by a California law enforcement agency in lieu of the other required residency documentation. This consideration is given to peace officers who do not want to provide documentation of their residence address for security reasons and who otherwise do not object to having their credentials copied by the firearms dealer for inclusion with the DROS record.

  19. What are the Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) requirements?

    Prior to the submission of DROS information for a handgun purchase, each person purchasing a handgun must present an HSC or show proof of exemption. The dealer does not have to keep a copy of the HSC but if an exemption is claimed, a copy of the HSC exemption document must be attached to the DROS record.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 26840, 31615)

  20. What are the handgun safety testing requirements?

    The DOJ certifies laboratories to test handguns. No handgun may be sold, manufactured, etc., in California unless it has been safety tested by a DOJ-certified laboratory, found to have passed safety/reliability standards, and approved for sale by DOJ. Firearm manufacturers and importers, who wish to certify a handgun model for sale or manufacture within California must submit three copies of the handgun model directly to a DOJ-certified laboratory for testing.

    Upon approval of the test report and payment of listing fees, the handgun is listed on the DOJ Roster of Certified Handguns (RCH). The RCH lists qualifying handguns according to: make/model/caliber/barrel length. A change in any one of the RCH categories is considered a new model and requires a new certification.

    Only handgun models listed on the RCH may be manufactured, imported for sale, or sold in California. Private party and law enforcement transactions are exempt.

    A listing of certified handgun models is currently available on this website at http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/. Listings are also available upon request by fax.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 32000 through 32015)

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  22. Is there a maximum number of handguns that a person may purchase?

    Yes. A person is generally limited to making no more than one application to purchase a handgun within any 30-day period. Handgun transactions related to law enforcement, private party transfers, returns to owners, and other specified circumstances are exempt from the one-handgun-per-30-day restriction.

    (Pen. Code, § 27535)

  23. What are the signature requirements for the DROS worksheets/computer printouts?

    The purchaser must sign the DROS printout. For private party transactions, the seller must also sign the printout. The salesperson is required to sign as a witness to the purchaser's signature and identification.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 28160, 28165)

  24. What fees do I charge in addition to the DROS?

    In addition to the state's $19.00 DROS fee, you must also charge a $1.00 Firearms Safety fee and a $5.00 Safety and Enforcement fee. If the transaction being processed is a dealer sale, consignment return, or return from pawn, you may impose other charges as long as this amount is clearly shown as a "dealer fee" and not misrepresented as a state fee.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 23690, 28300)

  25. What fees can I charge for handling a Private Party Transfer (PPT)?

    If the transaction is a PPT, in addition to the state fees, you may charge up to $10.00 or less per firearm for conducting the PPT. For example:

    • For a PPT involving one or more handguns, the total allowable fees are $35.00 for the first handgun, and $31.00 for each subsequent handgun.
    • For PPTs involving one or more long guns, the state fees are limited to $25.00 for the whole transaction plus up to $10.00 dealer fee per firearm transferred.

    (Pen. Code, § 28055)

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  27. What records of purchases must I maintain and for how long?

    A computer-generated hardcopy of the DROS signed by the purchaser and dealer must be retained by the dealer in consecutive order for three years.

    (Pen. Code, § 28215, subd. (c))

  28. Am I required to give a copy of the DROS information to the purchaser?

    Upon request, the dealer must provide the purchaser a copy of the signed DROS record. In private party transactions, the seller is also entitled to a copy of the DROS record upon request.

    (Pen. Code, § 28215, subd. (e))

  29. How will I be notified regarding DROS denials and delays?

    If DOJ determines that a purchaser is ineligible to possess a firearm, the dealer will be notified not to deliver the firearm electronically via the DROS Entry System, via telephone, and a letter via U.S. Mail.

    The same process is used to notify dealers when a DROS has been placed on delay.

    (Pen. Code, § 28220)

  30. Does a DROS background check expire?

    Yes. If a purchaser does not take physical possession of the firearm within 30 days of submission of the DROS information, the dealer must cancel the sale and, if the firearm was a handgun, send DOJ a cancellation form for that transaction. If the purchaser still wants the firearm, the dealer must submit a new DROS including fees.

    (Pen. Code, § 26835)

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  32. If a purchase transaction is delayed by DOJ, how does it affect the delivery within 30-days restriction?

    The 30-day delivery restriction begins upon notification from DOJ that the delay has been lifted and that the dealer is authorized to deliver the firearm within 30-days of the notification. The firearms dealer must retain all notifications and correspondence.

  33. Am I required to provide customers with anything upon DOJ denial of a firearm transaction?

    Yes. If DOJ instructs a firearms dealer to cancel a firearms transaction, the firearms dealer is required to provide the prohibited individual with a Power of Attorney for Firearms Transfer and Disposal (BOF 110).

    (Pen. Code, § 26815)

  34. How do I handle the paperwork when a purchaser returns a defective firearm?

    If a firearm is brought to you for service or repair, you may return it to the person who submitted it for repair without undergoing the DROS process. If the firearm must be replaced, a new DROS is required.

    (Pen. Code, § 28100, subd. (b)(10))

  35. Can I require a prospective employee to obtain a Personal Firearms Eligibility Check (PFEC) as a condition of employment?

    No. Pursuant to Penal Code section 30105, subdivision (h), no person or agency may require or request another person to obtain a Personal Firearms Eligibility Check (PFEC.) However, licensed California firearms dealers are authorized to require their employees to have a Certificate of Eligibility as evidence that the employee is not prohibited from possessing firearms.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 26915, 30105)

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  37. What is an Employee Certificate of Eligibility (COE)?

    The Employee COE is issued to persons who apply for a COE as employees of a licensed California firearms dealer, and are found to be lawfully eligible to possess firearms. A person who has an existing or non-employee COE may be associated with a licensed firearms dealer by the submission of a COE Report of Employment form. This form may also be used to notify DOJ if an employee COE holder goes to work for a different firearms dealer.

    (Pen. Code, § 26915)

  38. Is an Employee Certificate of Eligibility (COE) required for every employee?

    No. Each firearms dealer determines which employees, if any, must have a COE. However, there may also be local laws or regulations that require Employee COEs.

    (Pen. Code, § 26915)

  39. If I require my employee to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), who is responsible for paying the $78 fee?

    California law does not address the issue of who is responsible for COE fees.

  40. What is required if I permanently close my firearms dealership?

    You must submit written notification of your CFD # and the effective date of the closure to:

    Department of Justice
    Bureau of Firearms, Firearms Dealer Licensing
    P.O. Box 160467
    Sacramento, CA 94816-0467

    You must retain completed DROS forms for three years from the date of sale, after which they may be destroyed. Contact ATF regarding federal requirements for closing a firearms business.

  41. What does a Large-Capacity Magazine Permit allow me to do?

    A Large-Capacity Magazine Permit allows licensed California firearms dealers to import and export large capacity magazines (ammunition feeding device that have the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds) from/to an out-of-state source.

    Permits are issued, upon request, to licensed firearms dealerships that have a marketplace for the sale, import, or export of large capacity ammunition feeding devices. To apply for a DOJ Large-Capacity Magazine permit, complete and submit a Large-Capacity Magazine Permit Application (BOF 050) to DOJ.

    (Pen. Code, §§ 16740, 32315 and 32430)

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DROS Internet Process

  1. Can I initiate a DROS at a gun show without swipingthe purchaser's DMV issued driver's license or identification card if I am unable to use my DOJ-issued or privately owned PC at the show/event?
  2. How can I comply with the requirement to capture the purchaser's DMV information using a magnetic card swipe reader if the reader malfunctions or the stripe on the back of the card is defective?
  3. Why do I have to swipe the card prior to delivery of a firearm sold at a gun show instead of making a photocopy of the purchaser's DMV card as discussed in the answer to question number two?
  4. How do I get a user ID and password so I can begin using my PC to submit DROS applications to the DOJ?
  5. How can I get magnetic card swipe readers to use with PC(s) I have in my dealership/home?
  6. Will DOJ DROS denial and/or rejection notices continue to automatically print out when I turn on my PC in the same manner they do with the current Monorail PC systems?
  7. Where can I obtain a copy of the DROS System User Manual?
  8. Can I load my own personal software on my DOJ-issued PC?
  9. Is the DROS Internet software that came loaded on my new HP Vectra PC compatible with anti-virus and/or firewall software?

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  1. Can I initiate a DROS at a gun show without swiping the purchaser's DMV issued driver's license or identification card if I am unable to use my DOJ-issued or privately owned PC at the show/event?

    Yes. You may initiate a DROS at a gun show using a paper DROS worksheet. Upon return to your business location, you may manually input the information into your DOJ-issued or privately owned PC using the keyboard. Please remember, the 10-day waiting period does not begin until you submit the DROS to DOJ using your DOJ-issued or privately owned PC and receive a DROS number. Additionally, prior to the delivery of the firearm, you must swipe the purchaser's DMV issued driver's license/identification card through your DOJ-issued magnetic card swipe reader. Then, print out and attach the information to the copy of the DROS that is retained in your dealership records. Following this process complies with the requirement as long as the information on the purchaser's DMV printout matches the same information recorded on the DROS. Detailed instructions for this process are as follows:

    Click on the Windows "Start" menu located in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. From the "start" menu choose "Programs" then select "Accessories" then select "WordPad". Next, swipe the purchaser's DMV card through the reader and the information will automatically transfer to the WordPad screen on your PC. Finally, to print the information, choose "File" from within the WordPad program application and select "Print" and then click "OK".

  2. How can I comply with the requirement to capture the purchaser's DMV information using a magnetic card swipe reader if the reader malfunctions or the stripe on the back of the card is defective?

    If your DOJ-issued magnetic card swipe reader malfunctions or if the purchaser's DMV card's magnetic stripe is defective, you may manually enter the information using your keyboard. Additionally, you must retain a photocopy of the purchaser's DMV card along with the original DROS.

  3. Why do I have to swipe the card prior to delivery of a firearm sold at a gun show instead of making a photocopy of the purchaser's DMV card as discussed in the answer to question number two?

    Penal Code section 28180, subdivision (b)(2) specifically authorizes dealer's to obtain a photocopy of the purchaser's DMV card in the event the card cannot be swiped through the reader due to technical limitations. However, there exist no statutory/legal exemption from this requirement for transactions that occur at gun shows.

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  5. How do I get a user ID and password so I can begin using my PC to submit DROS applications to the DOJ?

    To request a user ID and password, you must contact the DROS Service Center at 1-800-974-DROS (3767) and select option number three for technical support. You will receive a user ID and password immediately, however, it will not be activated and ready to use for at least twenty-four hours.

  6. How can I get magnetic card swipe readers to use with PC(s) I have in my dealership/home?

    You may obtain additional MagTek brand Magnetic Card Swipe readers [part number 21080201 (wedge) or 20140107 (USB)] by calling the manufacturer directly at 310-667-6410 or toll free at 800-421-5208 ext. 6609 and ask to speak with Mark Baker. You must inform the manufacturer that you intend to use the device with the California DOJ DROS Entry System. MagTek Magnetic Card Swipe readers are also available from retail outlets. To contact a retail dealer call Gemini Computers at 888-943-6464 and ask to speak with Uri Rozic. You must inform the dealer that you intend to use the device with the California DOJ DROS Entry System and need to purchase one of the MagTek Magnetic Card Swipe readers as noted above. Please note that Verizon Business is not liable for any issues related to the purchase of and/or operation of Magnetic Card Swipe readers.

  7. Will DOJ DROS denial and/or rejection notices continue to automatically print out when I turn on my PC in the same manner they do with the current Monorail PC systems?

    No. To review and print DOJ DROS denial/rejection notices, you must follow the instructions listed on page sixty-five or the section titled "Reviewing DOJ Notices" of the DROS Entry Guide, pdf.

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  9. Where can I obtain a copy of the DROS Entry Guide?

    You can download a copy of the DROS Entry Guide from the following website address: DROS Entry Guide

  10. Can I load my own personal software on my DOJ-issued PC?

    Yes; however loading hardware or software to your DOJ-issued PC may invalidate/void the warranty.

  11. Is the DROS Internet software that came loaded on my new HP Vectra PC compatible with anti-virus and/or firewall software?

    Most off-the-shelf Anti-Virus and/or Firewall software is compatible for use on your DOJ-issued HP Vectra PC.

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