What is a California Handgun Safety Certificate?

In California Handgun safety is the law. The State of California feel that every handgun owner should understand and follow handgun safety practices, have a basic familiarity with the operation and handling of a handgun, and be fully aware of the responsibility of handgun ownership. Laws were put into effect in order to make sure individuals are aware of how to own, possess and safely use a handgun within the State of California so Penal Code section 26840, subdivision (b) states that "any person who acquires a handgun must have a Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC), unless they are exempt from the HSC requirement".

How can I get a Handgun Safety Certificate?

In order to obtain an HSC, a person must pass a Department of Justice (DOJ) written test on handgun safety. The test is administered by DOJ Certified Instructors, who are often located at firearms training facilities such as ours. (Click here for course and testing information)

How can I study for the test? (download guide here)

This study guide provides you with the basic handgun safety information necessary to pass the test. Following the handgun safety information in this guide will also help reduce the potential for accidental deaths and injuries, particularly those involving children, caused by the unsafe handling and storing of handguns. Included in this study guide is a general summary of the laws that govern the sale and use of firearms. A glossary is also provided at the end of this study guide that contains definitions of the more technical terms used. Simply reading this study guide will not make you a safe handgun owner. To be a safe handgun owner you must practice the handgun safety procedures described in the guide.

Is this Handgun Safety Certificate the only thing I need to purchase a handgun in California?

NO, you must also pass a background check known as the Dealers Record of Sale (DRO's). This background check is completed once you pay for the firearm. Most of the time the results are immediate but the State of California also requires the hold your firearm for 10 days before they can release it to you. They have this 10 day period for several reasons. Reason number one is known as the "cooling off" period, this is intended to allow those who purchase a gun to seek revenge. The second reason is that the background checks although immediate sometimes can find negative results which can keep you from purchasing a firearm days later. So the 10 days allows for those issues to come up.

Once the ten days are up you can go pick up your handgun only after doing one last thing... you must demonstrate "safe handling" of the firearm. In general the demonstration done by you requires that you lock and unlock the firearm using a safety locking device. Then you must show how to use the slide, load ammo, remove the magazine, and apply the safety and several other manipulations of the handgun.

Click here for more information on when and where to take the test or course