Bureau of Firearms

The mission of the Bureau of Firearms (BOF) is to serve the people of California through education, regulation and enforcement actions regarding the manufacture, sales, ownership, safety training, testing and transfer of firearms. BOF staff are leaders in providing firearms expertise and information to law enforcement, legislators and the general public in a comprehensive program to promote legitimate and responsible firearms possession and use by California residents. The bureau includes the organizational units summarized below:

Administration and Special Projects Section provides administrative and special project support to the entire BOF. Section responsibilities include administering the BOF annual budget, analyzing all firearms-related legislation, providing personnel services, maintaining the BOF webite and all BOF information technology issues, and providing procurement and contract services.

Enforcement Section provides firearms expertise and training to the BOF and law enforcement agencies, conducts dangerous weapon background investigations, monitors security of firearms under the control of the BOF, and testifies as expert witnesses in administrative and legislative hearings and also in state and federal court trials and other proceedings. The Enforcement Section is also responsible for investigating, disarming, apprehending, and ensuring the prosecution of persons who are prohibited or become prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm as a result of their mental health status, a felony/violent misdemeanor conviction, and/or a domestic restraining order, as well as conducting covert operations of firearms dealers at stores and gun shows.

Purchaser and Employment Eligibility Clearance Section processes firearms sale/transfer reports sent electronically or by telephone from firearms dealers. The section must determine within 10 days of a firearms purchase or transfer whether the person is prohibited by law from acquiring or possessing firearms in California. During this 10-day waiting period, this section must stop the sale/transfer of a firearm to prohibited persons. This section also determines whether applicants for peace officer positions or armed security guard licenses may possess firearms.

Armed and Prohibited Persons Section utilizes the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS), a database populated with data from a number of existing DOJ databases, to identify criminals who are prohibited from possessing firearms subsequent to the legal acquisition of firearms or registration of assault weapons. The APPS program is a highly sophisticated investigative tool that provides law enforcement agencies with information about gun owners who are legally prohibited from possessing firearms.

Licensing and Permits Section issues licenses and/or permits to persons to possess, manufacture or sell machine guns, assault weapons, destructive devices, and short-barreled rifles/shotguns, determines eligibility to possess firearms on Carry Concealed Weapons (CCW) permit applicants, and processes assault weapon registrations. This section administers the Certificate of Eligibility and Centralized List of Firearms Dealers Programs and the Handgun Safety Certificate Program where persons purchasing a handgun must first obtain a HSC certificate. This section also issues verification numbers to out-of-state Federal Firearms Licensees attempting to deliver, sell or transfer firearms to California Federal Firearms Licensees, processes gun show producer documents and reviews gun show event plans.

Training, Information and Compliance Section provides firearms-related instruction and expertise to dealers, law enforcement, superior and juvenile courts, mental health facilities, district attorneys, legislators and the general public and inspects firearms dealerships and manufacturers to ensure compliance with firearms laws and regulations. This section also certifies handgun and firearm safety device testing laboratories and maintains a roster of handguns and firearm safety devices certified for sale in California.