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I live in California. The Democrats control the Assembly, the Senate and the Governorship. The party pulling the string are not comfortable with citizens pulling a trigger for self-defense, anywhere, for any reason. Unless, of course, it’s them. reports that four Assembly members have asked for permission to take a gun to work: Democrat Tony Mendoza (fears of gang retribution) and Republicans Shannon Grove (self-defense for late night driving), Allan Mansoor (ex-cop) and David Valadao (to protect his rural dairy farm). Fair enough. But do these pols face the same hurdles as “average” Californians seeking to exercise their right to keep and bear arms? God I hope so. Here’s the drill . . .

1. Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC). $25

This is your first fence that you have to jump if you want to own a firearm in California. To get an HSC, you need to pass a written test based on official Handgun Safety Certificate Study Guide. You need a C grade (75 percent) or better to “earn” your right to own a handgun. You can take the test at a State-approved FFL dealer/firearms instructor. The qual also requires that handgun purchasers/recipients must . . .

execute a series of specific steps related to loading and unloading the handgun safely. The safe handling demonstration must be performed under the supervision of a DOJ Certified Instructor, and the purchaser must sign an affidavit attesting completion of the safe handling demonstration.

If you don’t point the gun at the examiner or drop the cartridges on the floor, he or she will fill out a Safe Handling Demonstration Affidavit. Your test and affidavit are shipped off to The Powers That Be (CA DOJ) for processing. It can take a week or more for the resulting HSC to hit your mailbox.

The Cert’s good for five years. There’s an exemption for Law Enforcement (Mr. Mansoor) and Active or Retired Military (Ms. Grove). But not just any Veterans; you have to have a retiree ID card. So, for example, a USMC expert marksman that was honorably discharged after four years spent hunting UBL or taking out the dead terrorist’s pals in the Sand Box is SOL.

If you fail the test, you get another free try. After that, it’s another $25. [ED: anyone remember the voter registration tests in the South used to keep African Americans from exercising their right to vote?]

2. NICS Background Check

The “instant” FBI criminal background check is mandatory because the system catches criminals when they try to legally purchase a handgun. If you get a “false positive,” you’ll have to untangle that knot first. Fast, easy or fun. Choose none.

3. Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) – $40

You can now buy a gun. But only the guns that the State, in its infinite wisdom, considers “safe” for self-defense (e.g., no semi-automatic firearms that hold over ten cartridges). California believes you should pay for forcing them to process the paperwork that “allows” you to exercise your Second Amendment right. Ch-ching.

4. 10-Day Waiting Period

Literally to the minute (they don’t even call it a cooling off period any more). If you need a gun sooner, you’re SOL.

5. Purchase a Cable Lock – $10 each

If the gun does not come with a cable-lock (and some don’t), you must buy one—even if you own a $2000 safe at home. I have four cable locks lying around looking for a use.

6. Another Safety Demo

When picking up a gun after waiting the requisite time, you must demonstrate to the DOJ-certified salesman that you can load, unload AND maintain muzzle control before walking out of the store with your new gun. Even if you have bought from the same guy your last three purchases over the last four months (see rule 7).

7. Wait Another 30 Days for Another Gun

No more than one handgun can be purchased every 30 days.

8. Observe All Local County and City Laws

There are too many to mention. OK, just one . . .

The only people who can purchase ammunition in Fresno without risking a visit from the Spanish Inquisition (with el flash bangs) are law enforcement Concealed Carry Weapons permit holder.

If you’re just a regular Joe looking for range ammo or bullets for home defense, the store must log the sale (caliber and quantity) and record the purchase (including a photocopy of your Driver’s License and a thumbprint). You can not buy ammo over the Internet. Period.

All of these laws were concocted to make The Golden State safer. In light of early prisoner releases, illegal drug-trafficking, many city PD and county sheriff cutbacks and our $25B deficit, I would submit that we are just a tad short on that “safer” feeling we were supposed to get.

I would also submit that the process makes us less safe. With every level of hindrance, you dissuade a certain percentage of otherwise law-abiding citizens from wanting to go through the steps to either purchase a handgun. In the long run, this makes society less safe. Criminals don’t have the same challenges to overcome.

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  1. “At every level of hindrance, you dissuade a certain percentage of otherwise law-abiding citizens from wanting to go through the steps to either purchase a handgun or obtain their CCW permit”…
    Well of course that is the intent. I am surprised they don’t require a 10k run and a Certificate of Celebrity or Political Status. But, just remember, it is for the children!

  2. Holy crap. I wouldn’t / couldn’t live in California if they GAVE me a house on the ocean in Malibu. I did serve in the Navy for 3 years out of San Diego… 20 years ago. But, I can’t imagine living there now (that I’m older and wiser). 🙂

    That’s some crazy stuff they require.

  3. The good news is we can currently buy ammo online and have it delivered by UPS/FedEx and, in Sacramento County (where I live), we can now get a CCW using only “for self defense” as the reason. I just received my permit approval in the mail yesterday and now I only have to get my DOJ/FBI check ($122) and go back to the Sherrif’s office to pick up my CCW. (I already took the mandatory class and qualified on my two weapons.)

    • Congrats on the approval. Livescan will take 2-3 weeks. And then you go back to SO to Sign and Thumb – the SO will mail you, via certified letter, the laminated rice paper. Make sure you are home so you don’t have to go to the Post Office to pick it up. You might want to get a final appt. scheduled online BEFORE the DOJ, if you can anticipate the clearance. They say 30-90 days, but assuming you don’t have anything in your background, it will most likely be 3 weeks or less.

      On the ammo, you may want to look at some laws winding its way through the legislature

      At one point, it was not possible to get ammo through the internet in Sacramento City (perhaps the county is different). But I think they may have changed their implementation of this local ordinance. However, I know some online sellers will not ship based on your ZIP.

      Good luck with the rest of the process on your CCW.

  4. Honestly, CA gun laws are so ill-conceived (by people who clearly know nothing about guns outside of movie- or popular-knowledge) that the result is they cause a lot of superfluous work for the state to do (taxpayers fund it), cause a lot of trouble and inconvenience for law abiding gun owners, and do absolutely nothing to affect gun crime. The whole exercise of CA gun laws is like running frantically on a hamster wheel while it’s being carried backwards. I think the solution to the problem would to be to let people who have a lot of knowledge about guns, gun law, and statistics to formulate gun laws. For example, law abiding gun owners.

  5. “I think the solution to the problem would to be to let people who have a lot of knowledge about guns, gun law, and statistics to formulate gun laws. For example, law abiding gun owners.”

    It’s up to law abiding gun owners to un-elect the schmucks that are passing these stupid laws.

  6. “It’s up to the law abiding gun owners to un-elect the schmucks that are passing these stupid laws.”

    You are obviously NOT from Ca. We try to “un-elect” these idiots, but we are out numbered. We try, with each election, but it’s an up hill battle.

    • That is correct, however the dealer can impose more fees, so long as it is clearly stated (which I missed). My confusion came from that additional cost. This also applies to private party transfers. Thanks for the correction, Correction.

  7. I was stationed in California for nine years while I was active duty. I miss the area I lived in, but I do not miss the overly restrictive gun laws. Fees galore, waiting periods, no “hi-cap” magazines, and some firearms will never see the light of day in the People’s Communist Republic of California. Don’t even mention trying to buy a non-compliant AR or getting a concealed carry permit.

    California is a beautiful state and I’m sure I will go back and visit, but I’m happy to be back in Virginia.

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