California Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) Program
Effective: January 1, 2015
(Senate Bill 683)
What is the Firearm Safety Certificate Program?
Pursuant to Senate Bill 683 (Stats 2013, ch. 761), effective January 1, 2015, the existing Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) program will be expanded and renamed the Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) program. Under the FSC program, requirements that currently apply to handguns only, will apply to all firearms (handguns and long guns).
What are the exemptions from the Firearm Safety Certificate requirement?
There are a variety of FSC requirement exemptions. In addition to the previous HSC exemptions, a person issued a valid hunting license is exempt from the FSC requirement for long guns only [Penal Code 31700(c)].
If I already have a Handgun Safety Certificate, will I still need a Firearm Safety Certificate?
A valid HSC can still be used to purchase/acquire handguns until it expires. For long gun purchases/acquisitions made January 1, 2015, and thereafter, an FSC will be required. An FSC can be used for both handgun and long gun purchases/acquisitions.
Will 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
Can I get a Firearm Safety Certificate prior to January 1, 2015?
No. DOJ Certified Instructors are not authorized to issue FSCs until the statutory provisions establishing the FSC program go into effect on January 1, 2015.
How will I be able to obtain 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 given by DOJ Certified Instructors who are generally located at firearms dealerships.
How much will 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.
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.
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, after 24 hours have elapsed you may retake another version of the test from the same DOJ Certified Instructor without any additional fee. The DOJ Certified Instructor is required to offer or make available to you the FSC Study Guide or refer you to view the webinar.
How long will a Firearm Safety Certificate be valid?
An FSC will be valid for five (5) years from the date of issuance.
Will I need a Firearm Safety Certificate if I receive 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.
Will a Firearm Safety Certificate be 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.
I am moving into California and intend to bring my firearm(s) with me. Will I need a Firearm Safety Certificate?
No, you do not need an FSC to move into California with your firearm(s). However, pursuant to Penal Code section 17000, there are important personal firearm importation responsibilities that are explained on this website.
Effective January 1, 2003, the Basic Firearms Safety Certificate Program was replaced with the Handgun Safety Certificate Program. These new statutes affect the general public in two principal ways. First, unless exempt, individuals must possess a Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) prior to purchasing or acquiring a handgun. Second, unless exempt, individuals must perform a safe handling demonstration prior to taking delivery of a handgun from a licensed dealer.
HSCs are acquired by taking and passing a written test on handgun safety, generally at participating firearms dealerships and private firearms training facilities. A Handgun Safety Certificate Study Guide.pdf to help individuals prepare for the Handgun Safety Certificate Test. There is also a Handgun Safety Certificate Video available for purchase at firearms dealerships or from DOJ Certified Instructors at $5.00 each.
The handgun safety demonstration protocols and DOJ Certified Instructor standards have been established and implemented by DOJ. An explanation of the handgun safety demonstration can be found starting on page 45 of the Handgun Safety Certificate Study Guide.pdf.
For additional information regarding the Handgun Safety Certificate Program. Please choose from the following:
We offer both a full 4 hour class including the written handgun safety test or the written handgun safety test only. To register for our 4 hour class or handgun safety test, please go to our registrationpage.