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Can I Buy Ammunition Online In California?

California is not the nation’s gun-friendliest state. However, you may still purchase weapons and ammo. The Golden State has different requirements. Therefore it’s essential to be aware of them so that you can keep shooting without breaching the law.

Ammo is Vital

Without ammo, a gun is worthless. The cartridge does the actual firing; the rifle is only a platform. You must train with ammo to improve your marksmanship or learn how to shoot. Dry firing is helpful, but it is insufficient.

However, compared to many other states, California makes it more challenging to purchase ammo. For instance, there is little intervention when purchasing ammo online or from a gun dealer in the nearby states of Arizona and Nevada. If you’re wondering how to acquire ammunition in California, the procedure is more complex but manageable.

Ammunition Online

How to buy ammo

Californians approved Proposition 63 in 2016. This ballot initiative imposed fines for failing to report lost or stolen guns to the police and outlawed the ownership of magazines carrying more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Most states only need a background check when buying a federal firearms licensee (FFL) handgun. But to purchase ammunition, a private individual must also go through the Dealer’s Record of Sale (DROS) procedure.

This makes the procedure much more challenging. Ammunition can no longer be ordered online and delivered to your house. According to Proposition 63, you must purchase ammunition from a licensed dealer, such as an FFL, if you desire to do so.

purchasing ammunition

When purchasing a firearm, you must provide identification and be at least 18 years old for long-gun ammunition (such as rifle cartridges and shotgun shells) and 21 years old for handgun ammunition. Your driver’s license must comply with REAL ID requirements if you plan to use it as identification in California.

The REAL ID Act developed new specifications for state driver licenses, which Congress approved in 2005.

The top right corner of a California driver’s license that complies with REAL ID requirements must display a golden bear and star emblem. You will need to present extra papers to confirm your identity if you don’t have a REAL ID driving license, such as a current U.S. passport.

After passing an eligibility check and receiving the California Department of Justice’s approval, you must sign a Dealer Record of Sale of Ammunition.

  1. Licensing

You do not require a Firearm Safety Certificate to purchase a firearm, in contrast (FSC).

  1. Eligibility

You cannot lawfully acquire ammo if you are not allowed to own weapons. However, how is this decided?

In California, there are three different kinds of eligibility checks for ammunition:

  • Check for Standard Ammunition Eligibility
  • Check for Basic Ammunition Eligibility
  • Verification of Certificate of Eligibility
  • Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check

The Automated Firearm System (AFS) database will be checked against by the California Department of Justice (CDOJ) as part of the Standard Eligibility Check. Your information will include your name, date of birth, residence, and driving license. The DOJ will compare your information with the Prohibited Armed person file if an entry is identified.

The transaction may go forward even if the Department cannot locate a match. A Standard Eligibility Check costs $1 and usually takes just a few minutes to process.

No AFS Record

The transaction cannot be completed if no entry is discovered. However, this does not necessarily imply that you fall into one of the restricted categories. You must have a record in the Automated Firearm System for the standard check to function. The Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) should immediately record your ownership when you buy a firearm.

However, the CDOJ was not allowed to keep track of this information if you purchased a rifle or shotgun before January 1, 2014. The data before that date thus deal with assault weapons and voluntary reporting.

2). A Check for Basic Eligibility

The DOJ will examine its data in the Basic Ammunition Eligibility Check. It costs $19 and might take up to 10 days to complete. You receive an Ammunition Transaction Number from the ammunition dealer. Using the California Firearms Application Reporting System, you can do this to verify the status of your eligibility check (CFARS).

  1. The eligibility certificate

You should let the seller know whether you have a Certificate of Eligibility from the CDOJ. He’ll examine the eligibility verification on the certificate. Similar to the Standard Check, this is $1.

Just one transaction and one regular check

The Standard Ammunition Eligibility Check costs $1 and can only be used once per transaction. This implies that you must go through a new eligibility check and pay a further charge each time you purchase ammunition from a dealer.

Outside Ammo

If you live in California, you must have the ammo delivered to a licensed ammunition distributor if you want to bring it into the state from another state. The procedure will be the same as when you purchase ammunition from a gun shop.

Online ordering

Californians can no longer order the ammunition from a gun store or internet vendor and have it delivered to their home. To obtain it, you must have the vendor mail it to an FFL and finish the background check.

Unfortunately, you will now be required to pay the transfer fee to the FFL, just as you would have if you had ordered a gun. As a result, purchasing ammunition online may become less viable since it is less affordable.

However, if you are an FFL, you may altogether skip this procedure. That doesn’t imply that you must run a business selling firearms. Applying for a 03 FFL – Collector of Curios and Relics — is possible. A California Certificate of Eligibility is also required.


One must be aware of the California ammunition buying process to stay out of trouble with the law. The Proposition 63 provisions are now being reviewed by the courts. So pay attention to how these future decisions develop.

Fortunately, reloading materials, including bullets, cartridge casings, propellant powders, and primers, are exempt from Proposition 63.

Alternatively, purchase ammunition in quantity from a reputable supplier if you can. This will result in lower background check expenses for you.


According to the Department of Justice’s frequently asked questions, buyers of ammunition must have a current California driver’s license, California identity card (for non-drivers), or military identification. Notably, California does not permit the purchase of ammunition by non-residents. California sold 7,325 non-resident hunting permits in 2018, bringing in close to $1.2 million in income from license and tag sales. But visitors can bring ammunition into California without having it sent to a seller or a background check. Additionally, a friend who is in the military but is not a citizen of California told us that he was allowed to buy ammo at one store but not at another.

You must additionally provide another document verifying your legal status in the country if your license has “Federal limits apply” printed in the top right corner (this is the new license handed to illegal immigrants and persons who didn’t think they would require the unique federally compatible REAL ID). The following are acceptable forms of identification: a valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card; a certified copy of an American birth certificate; a U.S. Certificate or Consular Report of an American Citizen’s Birth Abroad; a valid, unexpired foreign passport with a valid U.S. immigrant visa and an approved Record of Arrival/Departure (I-94) form; a certified copy of an American birth certificate from the U.S.

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