Moving a Gun to California

If you’re moving to California and own guns, it’s important to take time to familiarize yourself with firearms laws in California. Below are a few basics that will help you navigate gun laws in California.

NOTE: Federal and state firearms laws can change frequently. This article is a summary of helpful guidelines, and is not to be treated as legal advice or a restatement of law. To determine which laws apply to your specific circumstance, you are strongly urged to consult a local attorney. It is your responsibility to stay up to date and comply with state and federal gun laws.

In the State of California, all transfers and purchase of firearms must be conducted through a licensed California dealer. A 10-day waiting period applies to all purchases before the firearm will be released to the transferee or purchaser, the purchaser must be at least 18 years old to purchase a rifle or a shotgun, and at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun. Evidence of age and identity must be presented through a non-expired, valid California Driver’s License, or ID card, that has been issued by the DMV. An exception is made for an individual with a military ID that is accompanied by orders from a permanent duty station indicating a post in California.

Moving to California

If you are moving to California and are bringing firearms licensed and/or registered in another state, you are required to transport those firearms unloaded and in locked receptacles. Be aware that the utility and glove compartments of a vehicle do not qualify as a locked receptacle. Assault weapons, machine guns, and devices that are ammunition feeding greater than 10 rounds may not be transferred into California. Though there is no limit to how many handguns you can own at one time in California, you can only purchase one handgun in a given 30-day period.


Residency must also be provided upon a purchase, which can be validated with items such as a residential lease or utility bill, and the purchaser must already possess either a Firearm Safety Certificate (“FSC”) or qualify for an exemption of same. To obtain an FSC, an individual must pass a written test on firearm safety that is issued by the Department of Justice and administered by their Certified Instructors. These instructors are commonly found at local firearms dealerships. Firearm owners must follow and comprehend all safety practices, be familiar with basic handling and operation of their firearm, and be fully aware of the responsibility that comes along with ownership.

Concealed Carry

If you want to obtain a Carry Concealed Weapon license, you will need to contact the local police department or sheriff and they will provide the application and discuss the process. Any CCW license issued outside of California will not be recognized.


Take heed on where you store your gun. If a child (under 18 years old) gains access to your firearm, and causes injury or death to themselves or another person, you could be guilty of a felony. The only exception to being charged would be if you can prove the firearm was in an inaccessible, locked receptacle or that the firearm engaged a locking device that caused the gun to be inoperable.

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