AMMO BACKGROUND CHECK Q & A

I. Is there a waiting period & background check to purchase ammunition?
  • Effective July 1, 2019, persons seeking to purchase or transfer ammunition will have to undergo an eligibility check.

There are three types of ammunition eligibility checks that consist of different criteria:

  • Certificate of Eligibility Verification Check (Fee: $1) – You may use this eligibility check if you have a current Certificate of Eligibility.
  • Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check (Fee: $1) – You may use this eligibility check if your information matches an entry in the Automated Firearms System (AFS) (name, date of birth, address on record, and driver license or other government identification) and you do not fall within a class of persons who are prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition.
  • Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check (Fee: $19) – You may use this eligibility check if you do not have a current Certificate of Eligibility, or if you do not have a current record in the AFS, or if you do not have a record at all in the AFS. The Department will determine your eligibility based on a comprehensive review of its records (similar to a firearm eligibility check). NOTE: using this type of Eligibility Check does NOT create a record in the AFS database. It only checks your eligibility for one purchase.

The Certificate of Eligibility Verification Check and the Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check usually take only a few minutes to complete.

II. What do I need to purchase ammunition?
  • A valid California driver license, California identification card, or Military identification. (Pen. Code §, 28180.). If your California driver license or identification card has “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” on the front, you must also present proof of lawful presence in the United States by providing one of the following documents:
  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card.
  • Certified copy of U.S. birth certificate.
  • Certification of Birth Abroad (FS-545), Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350) or Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (FS-240), issued by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Valid, unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. immigrant visa and approved Record of Arrival/ Departure (I-94) form.
  • Certified copy of birth certificate from a U.S. Territory.
  • Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Citizenship.
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card.
III. I have moved since I purchased a firearm in CA and my address is different, how do I purchase ammo?
  • The best way to update a change of address is to create an account with California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS) and using the information from your Dealer’s Record of Sale (DROS) from your last firearms purchase, update your address in the AFS system (select “Automated Firearms System (AFS) Personal Information Update”). This will speed up and smooth your ammo purchases and you will be able to use the $1 Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check.
IV. Do I have to provide proof of address for ammunition purchase?
  • No. If the address you declare exactly matches your records in the AFS system, there is no requirement for providing proof of address for ammunition purchase. It is required for handgun purchases only. If you have moved, see FAQ #III above to learn how to update your AFS record.
V. I have never purchased a firearm in CA or it was before 2005 and I don’t have an AFS record, but I am a regular ammunition consumer, how do I buy ammunition and not pay $19 fee each time?
  • To prevent having to undergo the hassle and expense of the more expensive and time-consuming Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check every time you purchase ammo there are two paths, one is simpler and less expensive. The first is to use the “voluntary registration” feature on the CFARS website to register your firearm. This is a one-time $19 fee. The second method is to obtain a CA Certificate of Eligibility (COE), from the same CFARS website, which is much more expensive and includes a live scan expense. Here are common questions about a COE: https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/cert-eligibility. With either of these methods, creating a record in the AFS system, you can use the $1 Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check process.