California Firearm Requirements: Safety Device vs. Gun Safe

Effective January 1, 2002, no firearm may be sold, transferred, or manufactured within California unless that firearm is accompanied by a DOJ-approved firearms safety device (California Penal Code section 23620)

Firearms Safety Device Requirement

All firearms (long guns and handguns) purchased in California must be accompanied with a firearms safety device (FSD) that has passed required safety and functionality tests and is listed on the DOJ's official roster of DOJ-approved firearm safety devices. The current roster of certified FSDs is available on the DOJ website at http://oag ca gov/firearms/fsdcertlist

The FSD requirement also can be satisfied if the purchaser signs an affidavit declaring ownership of either a DOJ-approved lock box or a gun safe capable of accommodating the firearm being purchased.


  • What is a firearm safety device?

    A firearms safety device is a device, other than a gun safe, that locks and is designed to prevent children and unauthorized users from firing a firearm. The device may be installed on a firearm, be incorporated into the design of the firearm, or prevent access to the firearm.

    The device must have been submitted, tested and passed safety and functionality tests and is listed on the Department of Justice Roster of Approved Firearm Safety Devices.

  • What is considered to be a gun safe?

    The State of California Department of Justice regulatory gun safe standards are not burglary or fire rating standards; it is a construction standard. An acceptable gun safe is either one the following:

    1. A gun safe that meets all of the following standards:
      1. Shall be able to fully contain firearms and provide for their secure storage.
      2. Shall have a locking system consisting of at minimum a mechanical or electronic combination lock. The mechanical or electronic combination lock utilized by the safe shall have at least 10,000 possible combinations consisting of a minimum three numbers, letters, or symbols. The lock shall be protected by a case hardened (Rc 60+) drill resistant steel plate, or drill resistant material of equivalent strength.
      3. Boltwork shall consist of a minimum of three steel locking bolts of at least 1/2-inch thickness that intrude from the door of the safe into the body of the safe or from the body of the safe into the door of the safe, which are operated by a separate handle and secured by the lock.
      4. A gun safe shall be capable of repeated use. The exterior walls shall be constructed of minimum 12-gauge thick steel for a single walled safe, or the sum of the steel walls shall add up to at least 0.100 inches for safes with two walls. Doors shall be constructed of a minimum one layer of 7-gauge steel plate reinforced construction or at least two layers of a minimum 12-gauge steel compound construction.
      5. Door hinges shall be protected to prevent the removal of the door. Protective features include, but are not limited to: hinges not exposed to the outside, interlocking door designs, dead bars, jeweler's lugs and active or inactive locking bolts.
    2. A gun safe that is able to fully contain firearms and provide for their secure storage, and is certified to/listed as meeting Underwriters Laboratories Residential Security Container rating standards by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).


DOJ Approved Handgun Safes
*Safes used for gun storage in the state of California must be DOJ Approved*


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