California Handgun Safety Certificate Program – HSC

This program has been revised  and is now called the Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) Program, effective 1/1/2015 – we are about to post new information including the new study guide – please standby.

Apologies for the delay, information was not made available to us until January 1 2015.


A Firearm Safety Certificate is now required by California residents to purchase either a long gun or a handgun unless exempt. Existing holders of HSC  can use the HSC to purchase handguns only until  it expires.


On January 1, 2015, California revised the HSC Program to the FSC program mentioned above.

On January 1, 2003, California introduced the Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) Program, replacing the former program known as Basic Firearms Safety Certificate (BFSC). Unless exempt, individuals must possess a Handgun Safety Certificate ( HSC ) prior to purchasing or acquiring a handgun. Second, unless exempt, individuals must also perform a safe handling demonstration prior to receiving a handgun from a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer (FFL).

HSCs are issued by passing a written test on handgun safety. The test has 30 questions and 23  correct answers are required to pass.  The test can be completed at participating private firearms training facilities or firearms dealers and is valid for five (5) years from the date of issue  –  cost of $25. Lost HSCs can be replaced only by the issuing authority who administered the original test for a reduced fee of $15. Otherwise the test will need to be re-taken at full cost – $25.

A Study Guide is available for purchase from firearms dealers or DOJ Certified Instructors for $0.50 each to help individuals prepare for the Handgun Safety Certificate, or you can download it from this site or the CA DOJ.

Alternatively a video is also available for purchase at $5.00 each.

DOJ Certified Instructor standards have been established and handgun safety demonstration protocols have been  implemented by DOJ. An explanation of the handgun safety demonstration can be found starting on page 45 of the HSC Study Guide (revised January 2012). A PDF version of the booklet is also available and can be downloaded  Handgun Safety Certificate Study Guide in PDF format.

Safe Sound and Tactical Group Instructors can administer the California HSC for you upon request.

Cost for HSC test and certificate issue $25. Valid 5 years.

Re-issue following loss $15