Becoming A Firearm Dealer And/Or Ammunition Vendor In California

Thank you for your interest in becoming a firearm dealer and/or ammunition vendor in California. Gun laws in California regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of California. The following will provide you with important information about the statutory requirements for becoming a firearm dealer and/or ammunition vendor, and other requirements for doing business in California.

It is unlawful for a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL) with a FFL Type 01, 02, 07, 08, 09, 10, or 11 to obtain firearms in accordance with his or her status as a FFL unless he/she is on one of the Centralized Lists: Centralized List of Firearms Dealers (CL), Centralized List of Exempted Federal Firearms Licensees (CLEFFL), or Centralized List of Firearm Manufacturers (CLM). The FFL shall apply for and obtain a valid license(s) from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct firearm business. A firearm dealer and/or manufacturer may have more than one license type with the DOJ. An Ammunition Vendor is not required to obtain a FFL in order to be an Ammunition Vendor, but is required to be licensed through the DOJ. The DOJ's Licensing staff will conduct a background on applicants to determine whether they are prohibited from possessing and/or having access to firearms/ammunition. The DOJ currently issues the following licenses: CL, CLEFFL, CLM, and Ammunition Vendor License (Non-Firearms Dealer).

Centralized List (CL) of Firearm Dealers – FFL Type 01, 02, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11

Firearms initially enter the consumer market through gun dealers who are the critical link between manufacturers or distributors and the general public. The sale of all firearms, including Private Party Transfers, must be processed through a licensed firearm dealer in California. The CL dealer conducts retail sales, internet sales, pawn broker/consignment transactions, accepted for auction, or manufacturing.

Penal Code sections 26700 – 27140
Business & Professions Code section 21628.2

Licensing – Required
  • A valid federal firearm license
  • Any regulatory or business license, or licenses, required by local government
  • A valid Seller's Permit issued by the State Board of Equalization
  • A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) issued by the DOJ
  • A license granted by the duly constituted licensing authority of any city, county, or city and county
  • A valid listing on the DOJ Centralized List of Firearm Dealers
  • Certificate of Eligibility Application – BOF 4008

Penal Code section 26700

DOJ Certified Instructor Certification – Required

DOJ Certified Instructors have an important role in the sales and delivery of firearms in California. Their primary roles and responsibilities are described below in the Firearm Safety Certificate requirements and Safe Handling Demonstration requirements.

Penal Code sections 31610 – 31670

California Firearms Licensee Check (CFLC) – Required

California state law prohibits all FFL holders (other than FFL Type 03 or Type 06) from delivering, selling, or transferring a firearm to a FFL in California unless, prior to delivery, the Licensee intending to deliver, sell, or transfer the firearm obtains a verification number from the DOJ. The CFLC program allows the FFL to obtain firearms shipment verification numbers via the Internet prior to shipping firearms to any FFL in California.

Penal Code section 27555

Consignment/Pawn License – Optional License

California state law requires a licensee to report electronically any secondhand /pawned firearms to the DOJ daily. This includes any firearms taken in trade, taken in pawn, accepted for sale on consignment, or accepted for auction. This does not include a licensee purchasing a firearm from an individual as a "buy/acquisition" for the business inventory. The firearm dealer must obtain ta license through the local licensing authority in the city/county in which the business resides. Once the license has been issued, you must complete the required consignment and/or pawn access application process through the DOJ.

Business & Professions Code section 21628.2

Large-Capacity Magazine Permit (LCMP) – Optional Permit

Any firearms dealership licensed pursuant to Penal Code section 26700 may apply for a DOJ Large-Capacity Magazine Permit (LCMP) to engage in the lawful importation and exportation of large-capacity magazines and the activities associated thereto, as specified in Penal Code sections 32310 through 32450.

Penal Code sections 32310 – 32450

Dangerous Weapons (DW) License/Permit(s) Application – Optional License/Permit

An applicant must have a FFL Type 09, 10, or 11 to apply for a Dangerous Weapons (DW) License/Permit through the DOJ. In addition to the DW license/permit they may also have a FFL Type 01, 02, 07, or 08. The applicant, through a statement of "Good Cause" must provide clear and convincing evidence that there is a bona fide market or public necessity for the issuance of the license/permit and that the applicant can satisfy that need without endangering public safety. Additionally, the applicant shall provide documentation as outlined in the California Code of Regulations, title 11, sections 4125 through 4153. DOJ staff will conduct an in-depth background investigation on the applicant to determine whether they are suitable to hold a DW License/Permit. Suitability is determined by a number of factors including, but not limited to, financial and criminal history, honesty, and character.

California Code of Regulations, title 11, sections 4125 – 4153

Ammunition Vendor License – CL dealers will be automatically enrolled

Pursuant to Penal Code section 30342, subdivision (a), commencing January 1, 2018, a valid ammunition vendor license shall be required for any person, firm, corporation, or other business enterprise to sell more than 500 rounds of ammunition in any 30-day period. However, pursuant to Penal Code section 16151, subdivision (b), firearms dealers licensed pursuant to Penal Code sections 26700 through 26915, shall automatically be deemed licensed ammunition vendors.

Penal Code sections 16151
Penal Code sections 30342

Employee Certificate of Eligibility – Requirement

Commencing January 1, 2018, a firearm dealer shall require any agent or employee who handles, sells, delivers, or has under his or her custody or control any firearms or ammunition to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Justice.

Penal Code sections 26915
Penal Code sections 30347

Centralized List of Exempted Federal Firearms Licensees (CLEFFL) – FFL Type 01, 07, or 08

Commencing January 1, 2008, Penal Code section 28450 requires the DOJ to establish and maintain a centralized list of persons who are federally licensed as dealers, manufacturers, or importers, with a licensed business premise within this state and who declare to the DOJ an exemption from the firearm dealer licensing requirements of Penal Code section 26700. The CLEFFL dealer does not conduct firearm sales to the public. The dealer may complete internet sales (firearms are shipped to a FFL to complete the sale), gunsmith, or manufacturer (manufacture less than 99 per year).

Penal Code sections 28450 – 28490

Licensing – Required
  • A valid federal firearm license
  • A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) issued by the DOJ
  • Provide the DOJ with a signed declaration enumerating the applicant's statutory exemptions from licensing requirements
  • Certificate of Eligibility Application – BOF 4008

Penal Code section 28450

California Firearms Licensee Check (CFLC) – Required

California state law prohibits all FFL holders (other than FFL Type 03 or Type 06) from delivering selling, or transferring a firearm to a FFL in California unless, prior to delivery, the Licensee intending to deliver, sell, or transfer the firearm obtains a verification number from the DOJ. The CFLC program allows the FFL to obtain firearms shipment verification numbers via the Internet prior to shipping firearms to any FFL in California.

  • California Firearms Licensee Check (CFLC) Enrollment Application – BOF 08-301

Penal Code section 27555

Centralized List of Firearms Manufacturers (CLM) – FFL Type 01, 02, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11

Commencing July 1, 1999, no person, firm, or corporation licensed to manufacture firearms pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code may manufacture firearms within this state unless that person, firm, or corporation is licensed pursuant to Penal Code sections 29030 through 29150. Subdivision (a) of Penal Code section 29010 does not apply to a person licensed to manufacture firearms pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code who manufactures fewer than 100 firearms in a calendar year within the state. The manufacturer conducts manufacturing of firearms (manufacture 100 or more firearms per year). The licensee must have a minimum FFL Type 07. Additional FFL Types are optional.

Effective January 1, 2001, pursuant to Penal Code section 31900 through 32110, requires handguns manufactured in California or sold to the public to pass a series of tests relative to safety and functionality, that includes firing, safety, and drop tests. This statute generally prohibits the manufacture, importation for sale, sale, lending/transfer of any "unsafe" handgun. The DOJ is required to compile, publish, and thereafter maintain a roster listing of those handguns that have been tested and certified by the DOJ as "not unsafe" and, therefore, may be sold in California.

  • License to Manufacture Firearms and Centralized List of Firearms Manufacturers Application-BOF 017
  • Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale
  • Handgun Testing Certified Laboratories

Penal Code sections 29010 – 29184
California Code of Regulations title 11, sections 4046 – 4075

Licensing – Required
  • A valid federal firearm license
  • Any regulatory or business license, or licenses, required by local government
  • A valid Seller's Permit issued by the State Board of Equalization
  • A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) issued by the DOJ

*A licensee shall require that each employee obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, which shall be renewed annually, before being allowed to come into contact with any firearm, or ammunition.

Penal Code section 29050

Ammunition Vendor (Non-Firearms Dealer)

Effective January 1, 2018, a valid ammunition vendor license shall be required for any person, firm, corporation, or other business enterprise (if the vendor is not on the Centralized List of Firearm Dealers) to sell more than 500 rounds of ammunition in any 30-day period. The Ammunition Vendor may be federally licensed.

Penal Code sections 30342 – 30365
California Code of Regulations title 11, section 4260 – 4265

Licensing – Required
  • A valid federal firearm license, if the applicant is federally licensed
  • Any regulatory or business license required by local government
  • A valid Seller's Permit issued by the State Board of Equalization
  • A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) issued by the DOJ

*A licensee shall require that each employee obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, which shall be renewed annually, before being allowed to come into contact with any firearm or ammunition.

Certificate of Eligibility – Required

An ammunition vendor shall require any agent or employee who handles, sells, delivers, or has under his or her custody or control any ammunition, to obtain and provide to the vendor a Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Justice issued pursuant to Penal Code section 26710.