Patriot Info Blog America How to Buy a Gun in California Without a Real ID

How to Buy a Gun in California Without a Real ID

Title: How to Buy a Gun in California Without a Real ID


The state of California has strict regulations pertaining to gun purchases, including requirements for identification. However, individuals without a Real ID may wonder if they can still legally purchase a firearm. In this article, we will explore the process of buying a gun in California without a Real ID, along with frequently asked questions surrounding this topic.

Buying a Gun in California without a Real ID:

1. Research California’s gun laws: Before embarking on the gun purchasing process, it is essential to familiarize yourself with California’s firearm regulations. Understanding the laws will help ensure compliance and a smooth purchasing experience.

2. Acquire a Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC): Regardless of identification, anyone wishing to purchase a firearm in California must possess a valid Firearm Safety Certificate. This involves passing a written test on firearm safety and basic laws. The FSC can be obtained from a licensed firearms dealer or a DOJ-certified instructor.

3. Find a licensed firearms dealer: Identify a licensed firearms dealer in your area who is willing to facilitate the gun purchase. These dealers are authorized by the state to conduct firearm transactions and will guide you through the process.

4. Establish residency: Even without a Real ID, proof of residency is still required. Acceptable alternatives include a valid California driver’s license or identification card (non-Real ID), utility bills, rental agreements, or property deeds. Ensure that the documents are recent, clearly indicating your name and California address.

5. Complete the Firearms Transaction Record (Form 4473): The dealer will provide you with a Firearms Transaction Record, also known as Form 4473. This form requires personal information, including name, address, and date of birth. Be meticulous while filling it out, as any errors may delay the process.

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6. Provide alternative identification: If you lack a Real ID, you can substitute it with other types of identification. Acceptable options include a valid U.S. passport, U.S. military identification card, or a government-issued document that demonstrates legal presence in the United States, such as a Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Document.

7. Undergo a background check: Once the forms are completed, the licensed firearms dealer will initiate a background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ). This check confirms eligibility to purchase firearms, considering factors such as criminal history and mental health records.

8. Waiting period and firearm pickup: In California, there is a mandatory ten-day waiting period for firearm purchases, which applies to all buyers. After this period, assuming the background check is successful, you can return to the dealer to pick up your firearm.


Q1. Can I buy a gun in California without any identification?
A1. No, identification is required to purchase a firearm in California. However, a Real ID is not the only acceptable form of identification. Alternative documents such as a valid U.S. passport, U.S. military identification card, or government-issued identification proving legal presence can be used.

Q2. Are there any restrictions on purchasing firearms without a Real ID?
A2. The process of purchasing firearms in California without a Real ID follows the same regulations as those with a Real ID. The primary difference lies in the form of identification provided.

Q3. Can I buy a gun if I am not a U.S. citizen?
A3. Non-U.S. citizens who are legal residents of California can purchase firearms, provided they meet all other eligibility criteria. The required identification documents may vary for non-U.S. citizens; consult the California DOJ for specific requirements.

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Q4. Can I buy a gun if I have a criminal record?
A4. Individuals with certain criminal convictions are prohibited from purchasing firearms in California. The background check conducted by the DOJ will identify any disqualifying factors, including criminal history.


While having a Real ID simplifies the gun purchasing process, it is not the only means to legally buy firearms in California. By following the steps mentioned above and possessing alternative identification, individuals without a Real ID can navigate the process smoothly. It is crucial to adhere to California’s firearm regulations to ensure compliance and safety.

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