Frequently Asked Questions

Ammunition Purchases

  1. Who is authorized to conduct ammunition purchases and transfers?
  2. When will I have to start going through an eligibility check to purchase ammunition?
  3. What do I need to bring to a vendor in order to purchase ammunition? What type of documentation? (non-exempt purchasers)?
  4. What is my eligibility to purchase ammunition based on?
  5. What is the difference between a Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check and a Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check (single ammunition transaction)?
  6. How will I be notified of an approved or rejected ammunition eligibility check? Will the Department provide information to persons who are denied?
  7. What can I do if I was rejected on a Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check because my information did not match an Automated Firearms System (AFS) entry?
  8. How do I establish a record in the Automated Firearms System?
  9. As a customer, when I attempt to purchase ammunition, how do I know which eligibility check to advise the vendor to submit for me?
  10. What are the fees associated with each of the ammunition eligibility checks?
  11. How long does it take to get a determination from the Department for each type of eligibility check?
  12. What is an Ammunition Transaction Number (ATN)?
  13. I tried to purchase ammunition and was rejected. The vendor provided me with an Ammunition Transaction number (ATN) and told me I could get information on my rejection through the Department’s website. Where exactly do I go to get that information and what information will I need to provide?
  14. If I don’t have a firearm recorded in my name, can I still purchase ammunition?
  15. As a California resident, can I bring ammunition from another state into California?
  16. Can a person purchase ammunition multiple times using one approved Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check?
  17. I went through a Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check, was approved, and purchased ammunition. Since the Department has record of my ammunition purchase, does that mean I now meet the requirements to undergo the Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check ($1 eligibility check) to purchase ammunition?
  18. How does a person transition from a Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check to Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check, in order to not have to pay the $19 fee every time?
  19. I want to purchase a firearm and ammunition at the same time. Do I have to pay for two separate eligibility checks: one for ammunition and one for the firearm?
  20. Are there age restrictions for the purchase of ammunition?
  21. Am I required to sign any paperwork for an ammunition purchase?
  22. Is each purchase and quantity of ammunition stored within the Department’s databases, resulting in a registry for ammunition?
  23. Is there a limit on how much ammunition I can purchase during an ammunition transaction?
  24. Does the caliber of the ammunition I’m purchasing have to match the firearm information that is on record with the Department?
  25. I only own one firearm. If I were to sell the firearm or transfer the firearm ownership to someone else, would I then be precluded from purchasing ammunition using the Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check?
  26. Do I have to provide the ammunition vendor with a physical address to purchase ammunition, or is a P.O. Box acceptable?
  27. For the Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check, California Ammunition Vendors are required to provide the purchaser with their Ammunition Transaction Number so they can check the status of their eligibility check through the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS). Does that mean that each person would then have to create a CFARS account in order to monitor their status?
  1. Who is authorized to conduct ammunition purchases and transfers?

    Effective January 1, 2018, ammunition transactions may only be conducted by licensed California Ammunition Vendors. (Pen. Code §§, 30312.)

  2. When will I have to start going through an eligibility check to purchase ammunition?

    Effective July 1, 2019, persons seeking to purchase or transfer ammunition will have to undergo an eligibility check, and be approved by the Department, prior to the sale or transfer, except as otherwise specified. Departmental approval shall occur electronically through a licensed California Ammunition Vendor. (Pen. Code §§, 30352, 30370.)

  3. What do I need to bring to a vendor in order to purchase ammunition? What type of documentation? (non-exempt purchasers)

    A valid California driver license, California identification card, or Military identification. (Pen. Code §, 28180.). If your California driver license or identification card has “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” on the front, you must also present proof of lawful presence in the United States by providing one of the following documents:

    • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card.
    • Certified copy of U.S. birth certificate.
    • Certification of Birth Abroad (FS-545), Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350) or Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (FS-240), issued by the U.S. Department of State.
    • Valid, unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. immigrant visa and approved Record of Arrival/ Departure (I-94) form.
    • Certified copy of birth certificate from a U.S. Territory.
    • Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Citizenship.
    • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card.

    If your name, as it appears on the California driver license or identification card that has “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” on the front, differs from the name on the document(s) above, you must present one of the following certified documents:

    • An adoption document that contains your legal name as a result of the adoption.
    • A name change document that contains your legal name both before and, as a result of, the name change.
    • A marriage certificate.
    • A dissolution of marriage document that contains your legal name as a result of the court action.
    • A certificate, declaration or registration document verifying the formation of a domestic partnership.
    • A dissolution of domestic partnership document that contains your legal name as a result of the court action. (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4045.1.)
  4. What is my eligibility to purchase ammunition based on?

    Eligibility to purchase ammunition is based on one of the following criteria:

    • The person has a current Certificate of Eligibility issued by the Department. (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4305.)
    • The person’s information matches an entry in the Automated Firearms System (name, date of birth, current address, and driver license or other government identification) and does not fall within a class of persons who are prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition. The Department shall make this determination by cross-referencing the Prohibited Armed Persons file (also known as the Armed and Prohibited Persons System). (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4302.)
    • The person is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing ammunition. The Department determines eligibility based on a comprehensive review of its records (similar to a firearm eligibility check).
    • The person was approved by the Department to receive a firearm from the California Ammunition Vendor, pursuant to Penal Code section 28220, if that California Ammunition Vendor is a licensed California Firearm Dealer, and the ammunition is delivered to the person in the same transaction as the firearm. In this scenario, the dealer will use the approved firearm eligibility check as the approval to purchase ammunition, and will submit the ammunition purchase to the Department during the delivery of the firearm.

    No person prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm shall own, possess, or have under his or her custody or control, any ammunition or reloaded ammunition. (Pen. Code §, 30305.)

  5. What is the difference between a Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check and a Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check (single ammunition transaction)?

    The Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check will cross-reference the ammunition purchaser’s name, date of birth, current address, and driver license or other government identification number with the information maintained in the Automated Firearm System (AFS.) If the purchaser’s information does not match an AFS entry, the transaction shall be denied. If the purchaser’s information matches an AFS entry, the department shall determine if the purchaser falls within a class of persons who are prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition by cross-referencing with the Prohibited Armed Persons File (also know as the Armed and Prohibited Persons System). If the purchaser is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, the transaction shall be denied. Determinations for this type of eligibility check can be completed in approximately 2 minutes. If it is determined you are eligible, you can complete the purchase of ammunition shortly after the determination is received by the California Ammunition Vendor. The fee is $1.

    The Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check (single ammunition transaction) requires the Department to conduct a comprehensive review of it’s records to determine the person’s eligibility to own or possess ammunition. This eligibility check is similar to a firearms eligibility check and may take days to determine eligibility. For this type of eligibility check, the California Ammunition Vendor will have to provide you with an Ammunition Transaction Number so that you can monitor the status of the eligibility check through the Department’s California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS). Once CFARS indicates your eligibility check has been approved, you can go back to the California Ammunition Vendor that submitted your eligibility check and complete your ammunition purchase. The fee is $19.
    (Pen. Code § 30370, Cal. Code of Reg. tit. 11, §§ 4302, 4303.)

  6. How will I be notified of an approved or rejected ammunition eligibility check? Will the Department provide information to persons who are denied?

    Once an ammunition eligibility check is submitted, California Ammunition Vendors will receive ammunition eligibility determination updates through the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) Entry System (DES).

    If the Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check is rejected, the California Ammunition Vendor shall provide the person with the Ammunition Transaction Number (also known as a DROS Number) that can be used to obtain the reason for the rejection through the California Firearm Application Reporting System (CFARS). (Cal. Code of Reg., tit. 11, §§ 4302, 4303.)

    If a Certificate of Eligibility Verification check is denied, the person should log on to the CFARS, access their Certificate of Eligibility account, and ensure the Certificate of Eligibility number that was provided to the California Ammunition Vendor is correct, that it matches the personal information provided, and that the Certificate of Eligibility is active.

    If the Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check is denied, the Department will update the status on both the DES and the CFARS, and will notify the person of the reason for the denial via U.S. Mail.

  7. What can I do if I was rejected on a Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check because my information did not match an Automated Firearms System (AFS) entry?

    Persons who have entries in the AFS will be able to update their information through the California Firearms Application Reporting System. For more information regarding this process, please visit the Automated Firearms System Personal Information Update page.

  8. How do I establish a record in the Automated Firearms System?
    • Record ownership of a firearm you possess, but were not previously required to report, by submitting a Firearm Ownership Report to the Department.

      If your last firearm purchase of a long gun was prior to January 1, 2014, there is a possibility you may not have a record in the Automated Firearms System (AFS) despite having purchased or transferred your firearm through a firearms dealer. The Department was statutorily prohibited from retaining information regarding sales of rifles or shotguns prior to January 1, 2014. As a result, records of rifles and shotguns prior to January 1, 2014, in the AFS are limited to assault weapon registrations (Pen. Code, § 30500, et seq.), voluntary reports of ownership, and other records entered by the Department and California law enforcement agencies.

      You may submit the Firearm Ownership Report through the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS). For more information regarding this process, please visit the Firearms Reporting and Law Enforcement Gun Release Application page.
    • Record ownership through a purchase or transfer of a firearm from a licensed firearm dealer in California.
  9. As a customer, when I attempt to purchase ammunition, how do I know which eligibility check to advise the vendor to submit for me?

    It depends on your circumstances. There are three types of ammunition eligibility checks that consist of different criteria:

    • Certificate of Eligibility Verification Check – You may use this eligibility check if you have a current Certificate of Eligibility.
    • Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check – You may use this eligibility check if your information matches an entry in the Automated Firearms System (AFS) (name, date of birth, current address, and driver license or other government identification) and you do not fall within a class of persons who are prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition.
    • Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check – You may use this eligibility check if you do not have a current Certificate of Eligibility, if you do not have a current record in the AFS, or if you do not have a record at all in the AFS. The Department will determine your eligibility based on a comprehensive review of its records (similar to a firearm eligibility check).

  10. What are the fees associated with each of the ammunition eligibility checks?
    • Certificate of Eligibility Verification Check - $1
    • Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check - $1
    • Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check - $19

    (Pen. Code §, 30370, Cal. Code of Reg., tit. 11, §§ 4302, 4303, 4305.)

  11. How long does it take to get a determination from the Department for each type of eligibility check?
    • Certificate of Eligibility Verification Checks – A determination may be completed in approximately 2 minutes.
    • Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check - A determination may be completed in approximately 2 minutes.
    • Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check - A determination may take days to complete. Once this type of eligibility check is submitted, a California Ammunition Vendor should provide the person with their Ammunition Transaction number (also known as a DROS number). The person will need to check the status of their eligibility check through the Department’s California Firearms Application Reporting System (https://cfars.doj.ca.gov/login.do). Once the eligibility check is approved, the person can return to the California Ammunition Vendor and complete the ammunition purchase transaction.
  12. What is an Ammunition Transaction Number (ATN)?

    An ATN is issued within the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) Entry System (DES), upon a California Ammunition Vendor’s submission of an ammunition transaction (eligibility check or ammunition purchase submission). The ATN is a tracking mechanism for a specific transaction. It is also known as the DROS number.

  13. I tried to purchase ammunition and was rejected. The vendor provided me with an Ammunition Transaction number (ATN) and told me I could get information on my rejection through the Department’s website. Where exactly do I go to get that information and what information will I need to provide?

    To get information regarding your rejection, visit the California Firearms Application Reporting System website at the following address https://cfars.doj.ca.gov/login.do. Once the main page appears, select the “Ammunition Eligibility Check” link on the left hand side. Once you access the page, you will need to provide your ATN (also known as DROS number) and your date of birth.

  14. If I don’t have a firearm recorded in my name, can I still purchase ammunition?

    Yes. Certificate of Eligibility validations and Basic Ammunition Eligibility Checks (single transaction or purchase) may be completed without having a firearm recorded in the Automated Firearm System. (Pen. Code, § 30370, Cal. Code of Reg., tit. 11 §§ 4303, 4305.)

  15. As a California resident, can I bring ammunition from another state into California?

    No. Effective January 1, 2018, it is unlawful for a resident of the State of California to bring or transport any ammunition acquired outside of the State of California unless it is first delivered to a licensed California Ammunition Vendor, unless exempt. (Pen. Code, § 30314.)

  16. Can a person purchase ammunition multiple times using one approved Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check?

    No. The Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check approval can only be used to purchase ammunition in one transaction. Once the Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check has been used, it is no longer valid. (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4303 (d)(1).)

  17. I went through a Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check, was approved, and purchased ammunition. Since the Department has record of my ammunition purchase, does that mean I now meet the requirements to undergo the Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check ($1 eligibility check) to purchase ammunition?

    No. The purchase of ammunition does not establish the necessary record in the Automated Firearms System (AFS). The AFS is a repository of firearm records maintained by the Department, as established by Penal Code section 11106. The AFS is populated by way of firearm purchases or transfers at a California Firearm Dealer, registration of assault weapons (during specified registration periods), a person’s report of firearm ownership to the Department, Carry Concealed Weapons Permit records, or records entered by law enforcement agencies.

    Until you establish a record in the AFS, you will not meet the requirements of a Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check and will have to continue to undergo the Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check.

  18. How does a person transition from a Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check to Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check, in order to not have to pay the $19 fee every time?

    A person does not “transition” from one type of eligibility check to another; authorization is granted pursuant to the requirements of Penal Code section 30370 as implemented by California Code of Regulations, title 11, sections 4302 and 4303. If a person’s information does not match an entry in the Automated Firearms System, and the person does not hold a current Certificate of Eligibility, the person may only be eligible for a Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check. If a person’s personal information matches an entry in the AFS, the person is eligible for both a Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check and a Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check.

  19. I want to purchase a firearm and ammunition at the same time. Do I have to pay for two separate eligibility checks: one for ammunition and one for the firearm?

    No. The California Ammunition Vendor/Firearms Dealer will submit your firearm eligibility check to the Department. If your firearm eligibility check is approved, when you go to pick up your firearm on (or after) the 10th day, the dealer will have the ability to add an ammunition transaction to the delivery of the firearm. An additional fee will not be assessed. (Pen. Code, § 30352, subd. (c)(2).)

  20. Are there age restrictions for the purchase of ammunition?

    Yes. You must be at least 18 years old to purchase long gun ammunition or reloaded long gun ammunition and at least 21 years old to purchase handgun ammunition or reloaded handgun ammunition. (Pen. Code, § 30300.)

  21. Am I required to sign any paperwork for an ammunition purchase?

    Yes. You will be required to sign the Dealer Record of Sale of Ammunition once you have been approved on the eligibility check and the vendor submits your ammunition purchase. (Pen. Code, § 30352.)

  22. Is each purchase and quantity of ammunition stored within the Department’s databases, resulting in a registry for ammunition?

    Pursuant to Penal Code section 30352, the Department shall retain sales and transfer information of ammunition purchases in a database known as the Ammunition Purchase Record File.

  23. Is there a limit on how much ammunition I can purchase during an ammunition transaction?

    No. There is nothing in statute or regulations that limit the amount of ammunition that can be purchased.

  24. Does the caliber of the ammunition I’m purchasing have to match the firearm information that is on record with the Department?

    No.

  25. I only own one firearm. If I were to sell the firearm or transfer the firearm ownership to someone else, would I then be precluded from purchasing ammunition using the Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check?

    Yes. Pursuant to Penal Code section 30370, subdivision (b), if the person’s information does not match an entry in the Automated Firearm System, the transaction shall be denied.

  26. Do I have to provide the ammunition vendor with a physical address to purchase ammunition, or is a P.O. Box acceptable?

    A physical address is required. P.O. Boxes are not acceptable. (Pen. Code, § 30352, subd. (a), Cal. Code, tit. 11, § 4302, 4303, 4305.) If your driver license or identification card lists a P.O. Box instead of your physical address, you must provide your physical address to the ammunition vendor to enter as prompted by the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) Entry System (DES). Please note: The ammunition vendor might require documentation of your physical address or have additional requirements, pursuant to their own business processes.

  27. For the Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check, California Ammunition Vendors are required to provide the purchaser with their Ammunition Transaction Number so they can check the status of their eligibility check through the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS). Does that mean that each person would then have to create a CFARS account in order to monitor their status?

    In order to check the status of a Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check, you are not required to create an account. The “Ammunition Eligibility Check” link sits on the main page.

Back To Top