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Frequently Asked Questions

Firearm Safety Devices

  1. What is the Firearm Safety Device (FSD) law?
  2. Are there any exceptions to the Firearm Safety Device (FSD) requirement?
  3. Does the Firearm Safety Device (FSD) requirement apply to a firearm that is returned from pawn or consignment?
  4. Can a firearms dealer refuse to submit a DROS for a Private Party Transfer if the firearm does not include a Firearm Safety Device (FSD)?
  5. If a customer needs to purchase a Firearm Safety Device (FSD), should it be purchased at the same time as the firearm or when the firearm is delivered?
  6. Is presentation of a receipt always required for an exemption based on ownership of an approved lock box?
  7. How does a dealer or purchaser know which Firearm Safety Device (FSD) is appropriate for the firearm being purchased?

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  1. What is the Firearm Safety Device (FSD) law?
    • Generally, all firearms (other than federally defined antiques) purchased in California must be accompanied with an FSD that has passed required safety and functionality tests and is listed on the Department of Justice Roster of Approved Firearm Safety Devices. The current roster is available on the Bureau of Firearms website at http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/fsdcertlist.

  2. Are there any exceptions to the Firearm Safety Device (FSD) requirement?
    • Yes. The FSD requirement does not apply to the following:

      • Persons who can demonstrate the purchase of a Department of Justice-approved safety device in the 30 days prior to taking possession of the firearm by presenting the device to the firearms dealer and providing the firearms dealer with a receipt showing the purchase date and model name of the device.
      • The commerce of any firearm defined as an "antique firearm" pursuant to federal law.
      • The commerce of any firearm intended to be used by a salaried, full-time peace officer for law enforcement purposes.
      • Transfers of firearms to persons who demonstrate ownership of a qualifying gun safe. Ownership may be demonstrated by displaying to the firearms dealer: 1) a receipt indicating purchase of, or an affidavit, signed under penalty of perjury, stating that the purchaser owns a gun safe; and 2) an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury, stating the gun safe meets the standards set forth in DOJ regulations. (Pen. Code, §§ 23635-23690.)

  3. Does the Firearm Safety Device (FSD) requirement apply to a firearm that is returned from pawn or consignment?
    • No. The return of a pawned or consigned firearm to the person who originally pawned or consigned it is not subject to FSD requirements.

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  5. Can a firearms dealer refuse to submit a DROS for a Private Party Transfer if the firearm does not include a Firearm Safety Device (FSD)?
    • No. Generally, under California law, a firearms dealer may not refuse to conduct a private party transfer. However, private parties must demonstrate compliance with the FSD requirements before the firearms dealer may deliver the firearm. If the purchaser is unable to demonstrate compliance with the FSD requirement, the firearm must be returned to the seller. (Pen. Code, §§ 28050-28070.)

  6. If a customer needs to purchase a Firearm Safety Device (FSD), should it be purchased at the same time as the firearm or when the firearm is delivered?
    • We recommend that the FSD be purchased when the firearm is delivered. Pursuant to Penal Code section 23635, subdivision (c), the firearm purchaser must present the original receipt for the FSD with a purchase date no more than 30 days prior to the day he or she takes possession of the firearm. If the FSD and firearm is purchased at the same time and the Dealer’s Record of Sale (DROS) process is delayed beyond 30 days, the receipt would no longer be valid. (Pen. Code, § 23635.)

  7. Is presentation of a receipt always required for an exemption based on ownership of an approved lock box?
    • Yes. For an exemption from the Firearm Safety Device requirement based on ownership of a lock box, a receipt for the lock box is required along with an affidavit that the lock box is on the Department of Justice Roster of Approved Firearm Safety Devices. The firearms dealer must keep a copy of the receipt with the affidavit and DROS.

  8. How does a dealer or purchaser know which Firearm Safety Device (FSD) is appropriate for the firearm being purchased?
    • The manufacturer of an approved FSD has the option of providing a listing of specific firearms that can be used with the FSD and/or a generic description (e.g., pistols and revolvers with a trigger guard up to 2 1/2 inches long and up to 1 7/8 inches wide) of firearms with which the FSD can be properly utilized. A firearm model must be listed on the FSD manufacturer's list (if provided) or meet the generic description (if provided) to be considered to be compatible with a particular device.

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