2019 California Ammunition Laws

CaliGunner – by Jim

As someone who wants to help Californian’s understand firearm laws, I wanted to put together some of the most common questions regarding the purchase of ammunition in the golden state.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, this is meant to be helpful information not legal advice. 

Do I Need to Pass a Background Check to Buy Ammo in CA?

Starting July 1 of 2019, you must meet the following criteria to purchase ammunition in California:

  • Be a current resident of California
  • Pass “Eligibility Check” aka Background check
  • Be 21 years of age or older to purchase handgun ammunition
  • Be 18 years of age or older to purchase rifle or shotgun ammunition

On July 1st of 2019 phase 2 of Proposition 63 begins and applies to gun stores and gun shows throughout the state. At this point ammunition sales require a $1 fee (paid by you of course) for a point-of-sale background check, or eligibility check as the DOJ calls it.

What Does the “Eligibility Check” Check Exactly?

This background check will cross-reference your name, current address, date of birth, Driver’s License or other form of government ID with the info you have on file with the DOJ’s Automated Firearms System when you purchased and registered your firearm. If you’re not currently a gun owner or in the system, the DOJ will conduct a special one-time check for $19.

It will also scan your record for felonies which would make you ineligible for ammo purchases. It’s basically the same search that is performed when you purchase a firearm. If all your information checks out and you are clear, you can legally purchase ammunition.

The DOJ says the check should take 60-90 seconds, there is no wait period beyond that.

Where Can I Purchase Ammo in CA?

Ammunition sales must be conducted face-to-face with an FFL or licensed ammunition vendor. There may be some local sporting goods stores that apply for an ammunition license, you’ll need to check on this yourself.

Can I Purchase Ammunition Online?

In the past, you could scour the internet for the best deals all over the country and have it all sent to your doorstep with a credit card. Now days it is a little more tricky, you have two options:

  • Have ammunition first shipped to local licensed ammunition vendor and pay an additional fee (likely defeating the savings of buying it online) to receive ammunition face-to-face.


  • Apply for FFL03 and COE which would allow ammunition dealers everywhere in the country to legally ship to you directly (if they are willing to, many will not bother shipping to CA)

With the first option, you would need to find a local licensed dealer willing to receive your ammo. Since they will not be making a profit on the ammo coming from another vendor, they will likely charge a substantial fee to make it worth their while. I have heard of some awesome places only charging $5 for any amount of ammo.

For the second option, you have to do a little more work. COE will run you initially around $80 (live scan fees and COE fee) then it is $25 annually as long as you don’t let it expire.

FFL03 is $30 for 3 years. The application asks how many firearms you have purchased as a C&R (Curious and Relics). As long as you never purchase a C&R firearm, you will never get an audit.

Getting ammo shipped to your door will be up to the online retailer even if you have all the legal paperwork in place. Most will not want to deal with the hassle California has created.

Can I buy Ammo out of State and Bring it Back In?

The law says the following, “Commencing January 1, 2018, a resident of California shall not bring or transport into the state any ammunition that he or she purchased or otherwise obtained from outside of this state unless he or she first has that ammunition delivered to a licensed ammunition vendor for delivery to that resident pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 30312.”

You are free to purchase ammo in other states as long as you do not bring it back with you. First time violations will be infractions, after that its a misdemeanor.

Are There Limits on Ammo Purchases?

Currently, there are no restrictions on the amount of ammunition you can purchase after you pass the eligibility check.

Am I Limited to the Calibers I Own?

Currently, there are no restrictions on buying calibers of ammunition you do not own.

Can I Make my Own Ammo?

There is nothing in the provisions of Prop. 63 that regulates reloading components (powders, primers, projectiles/bullets). Reloading components are not governed by the laws created by Prop 63, however, the leadership of CA could likely come after reloading components in the future.

Be sure to check out my articles on reloading: Reloading for Beginners and Everything You Need to Reload Ammunition.

What Does the Law Say Specifically on Ammunition Purchases?

Want to read and interpret the law yourself? Here is the actual Penal Code section 30370:

(a) Commencing July 1, 2019, the department shall electronically approve the purchase or transfer of ammunition through a vendor, as defined in Section 16151, except as otherwise specified. This approval shall occur at the time of purchase or transfer, prior to the purchaser or transferee taking possession of the ammunition. Pursuant to the authorization specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 30352, the following persons are authorized to purchase ammunition:

1) A purchaser or transferee whose information matches an entry in the Automated Firearms System (AFS) and who is eligible to possess ammunition as specified in subdivision (b). (2) A purchaser or transferee who has a current certificate of eligibility issued by the department pursuant to Section 26710. (3) A purchaser or transferee who is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing ammunition in a single ammunition transaction or purchase made pursuant to the procedure developed pursuant to subdivision (c). (b) To determine if the purchaser or transferee is eligible to purchase or possess ammunition pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), the department shall cross-reference the ammunition purchaser’s or transferee’s name, date of birth, current address, and driver’s license or other government identification number, as described in Section 28180, with the information maintained in the AFS. If the purchaser’s or transferee’s information does not match an AFS entry, the transaction shall be denied. If the purchaser’s or transferee’s information matches an AFS entry, the department shall determine if the purchaser or transferee falls within a class of persons who are prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition by cross-referencing with the Prohibited Armed Persons File. If the purchaser or transferee is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, the transaction shall be denied.

(c) The department shall develop a procedure in which a person who is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing ammunition may be approved for a single ammunition transaction or purchase. The department shall recover the cost of processing and regulatory and enforcement activities related to this section by charging the ammunition transaction or purchase applicant a fee not to exceed the fee charged for the department’s Dealers’ Record of Sale (DROS) process, as described in Section 28225 and not to exceed the department’s reasonable costs.

(d) A vendor is prohibited from providing a purchaser or transferee ammunition without department approval. If a vendor cannot electronically verify a person’s eligibility to purchase or possess ammunition via an Internet connection, the department shall provide a telephone line to verify eligibility. This option is available to ammunition vendors who can demonstrate legitimate geographical and telecommunications limitations in submitting the information electronically and who are approved by the department to use the telephone line verification.

(e) The department shall recover the reasonable cost of regulatory and enforcement activities related to this article by charging ammunition purchasers and transferees a per transaction fee not to exceed one dollar ($1), provided, however, that the fee may be increased at a rate not to exceed any increases in the California Consumer Price Index as compiled and reported by the Department of Industrial Relations, not to exceed the reasonable regulatory and enforcement costs.

(f) A fund to be known as the “Ammunition Safety and Enforcement Special Fund” is hereby created within the State Treasury. All fees received pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Ammunition Safety and Enforcement Special Fund and, notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, are continuously appropriated for purposes of implementing, operating, and enforcing the ammunition authorization program provided for in this section and Section 30352 and for repaying the start-up loan provided for in Section 30371.

(g) The Department of Justice is authorized to adopt regulations to implement this section.


5 thoughts on “2019 California Ammunition Laws

  1. “Starting July 1 of 2019, you must meet the following criteria to purchase ammunition in California:

    Be a current resident of California
    Pass “Eligibility Check” aka Background check
    Be 21 years of age or older to purchase handgun ammunition
    Be 18 years of age or older to purchase rifle or shotgun ammunition”

    F%&K THAT!!!!!

    I stocked up in CA years ago… just before the bullsh#t THUMBPRINT LAW went into effect.

    1. Unconstitutional? Illegal? No, a direct violation of the supreme law of this land, the people’s Bill of Rights, which is the supreme law of this land before it was ever attached as the preamble of that Masonic constitution. Hence what they are doing is unlawful.
      Your thought is correct, but we have to start using the right terminology and get completely away from this fraudulent legalese.

  2. This makes no sense at all, how stupid can politicians be ? Police take hours to come out on calls if they come at all ! A weapon is for protection for your home and family. This sounds like a communist plot to destroy the constitution ! Where is NRA and all the fees paid into their accounts ! People of California need TO protest or the criminals will have free hand to rape ,kill,rob and home invasions will become common place ! COMMON SENSE SHOULD TELL YOU THE CRIMINALS WON’T REGISTER THEIR AMMO ARE WEAPONS AND YOU CAN”T KEEP THE ILLEGALS OUT HOW ARE OYU GOING TO KEEP THEM FROM BEING AMMO IN TO NE STATE ! ALL YOUR DOING IS PUTTING THE HARD WORKING LAW ABIDING CITIZEN IN DANGER ! WHERE ARE YOUR BRAINS GOV ! PLEASE ALLOW THE PEOPLE TO DEFEND THEIR HOMES AND FAMILIES WITHOUT BEING PUNISHED ! WHERE DID AMERICA GO ?????

    1. “A weapon is for protection for your home and family.”

      Wrong, Chad. The 2nd Article to our Bill of Rights was put in place for us to destroy anyone who tries to infringe upon our individual liberty. It is not the Constitution/government authority. It is the Bill of Rights, of which the 9th Article declares no government can ever have the authority to infringe or alter in any way, and the 10th Article declares that the states are under the same restraints.
      You are delusional calling yourself a law abiding citizen. What you are abiding by is violations to the ratified law that is the people’s Bill of Rights and represents the people’s authority over their servants, if this were the Republic our forefathers were promised, which it is not.
      You say “please allow”. If we had the government guaranteed in our original Constitution, our servants allow us nothing. We allow them to exist, but under that treasonous fraudulent 14th Amendment, the United States Corporation was formed and the status of the American national is turned from free man to subjugated human property.
      We don’t beg these mother f-kers for anything.
      They come for your guns, your bullets, or any other implement for war, use it or lose it. We are not beggars. We are individual free sovereign nationals. We have been infiltrated for the purpose of our destruction and the confiscation of our property. And of course, these foreign actors want us to be unable to defend ourselves.
      Nut up, dude. We don’t say “please allow the people to defend their homes without being punished”. We exercise that 2nd Article right and kill every one of these communist mother f-kers.
      In consideration of the 9th Article, that is if you’ve ever read the Bill of Rights, are you going to allow your servants, which these pricks are not, to write infringements down on a piece of paper and you just obey? If so you are a coward and unworthy of your sovereignty.
      Our rights were fought for and won at the barrel of a gun by men with balls and they didn’t say “please allow” they just blew the f-kers away that thought they were going to subjugate them.
      The Bill of Rights is the supreme law of this land and it absolutely declares the American national, not to be confused with the fraudulent 14th Amendment SUBJECT CITIZEN, as the absolute and final authority for the united States of these Americas. The United States Corporation and the 14th Amendment and everything put in place via the unlawful content of the two are treason.
      We don’t beg communist traitors. We put their asses in the ground. What we are fighting is an unlawful entity with zero authority over any individual freeman sovereign national. (Title 28 Definition 15) It is not only our right, but it is our duty to blow their communist heads right off their shoulders.
      You obviously don’t read this site or I wouldn’t have to be telling you this and putting you in the position of deciding whether you are a free man or a peasant, peon, subjugated coulee.
      Wake the f-k up, grow some f-king balls, and realize that the foreign pricks doing this to you only make up 12 to 18 % of the total population and that we, the American people, without question, are the largest armed force to ever exist on this planet, and if we eat shit we do it willingly as pathetic cowards.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.