Is A Gun Safe Required In California: The State’s Requirements In Gun Storage

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Every state in America has standard regulations about owning a gun and how to store them. California’s Department of Justice has several laws when it comes to gun safety. An approved California DOJ gun safe requires extreme protection of weapons. Unlike other states, California has written 108 gun-related rules, including safe gun storage. That’s why you must follow the steps of purchasing a gun in California that even residents may not be familiar with it. So after reading this, don’t be confused if someone asks you – is a gun safe required in California?

Important: The information provided in this guide is for educational purposes only. It does not translate as legal advice.

California Gun Safe Standards

Remember that the Regulatory Gun Safe Standards conforms to construction requirements of the safe and may not conform to burglary or fire rating standard. There are three options that California DOJ allows to purchase for storing firearms such as gun cabinet, lockbox, and long gun safe or wall safe. 

We decided to bring you the principle requirements of California when it comes to safe gun storage. You can also visit the California Department of Justice Regulatory Standards on firearms safety devices website. 

An acceptable gun safe is either one of the following:

  1. A gun safe that meets all of the following standards: 
    • Shall be able to contain firearms and provide for their secure storage fully. 
    • 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 of 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.  
    • Boltwork shall have a minimum of three steel locking bolts of at least 1/2-inch thickness. It must intrude from the door of the safe into the body of the safe. It can also be from the body of the safe into the door of the safe. They operate with a separate handle and secured by the lock. 
    • A gun safe shall be capable of repeated use. The exterior walls shall be constructed of a 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. 
    • 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, jewelers lugs, and active or inactive locking bolts. 
  2. A gun safe that can 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). 

California vs. New York: Gun Safe Law

These laws vary from each state in the premise that it may be used as a standard requirement for storing a firearm safely.

California Firearm Safety Standards

In shading light to the public, we included some standard requirements in buying a firearm. As we always keep on saying, remember to visit the regulatory board for any updates about firearms and gun safety.

To buy a firearm in California, you must: 

  • Be 21 years old or older
  • Provide a California driver’s license
  • Undergo a background check which is performed by the licensed firearms dealer
  • Be resident of California
  • Provide a Firearm Safety Certificate

The DOJ will process the background check and should approve the ability of the buyer to take care of the gun. The purchaser must demonstrate proper gun safety and handling of a firearm.

The CA DOJ must approve the firearm safety device, such as a trigger lock. You should store the gun unloaded in locked storage. You can store the weapon in a California-approved gun safe that is different from the ammunition storage. You must use a locking device and place the firearm in a storage container for total safety.

New York Firearm Safety Standards 

You should visit the New York SAFE regulatory board website to check the laws about firearms safety. You will also find there the standard requirements for buying a gun and the safety storage devices. 

To buy a firearm in New York, you must: 

  • Be New York resident 
  • Be 21 years old or older 
  • Have no prior felony or serious offense convictions 
  • Have good moral character 
  • Have a legal reason for wanting to possess a gun 
  • Be ready to open a business for which the license is being applied 

You should safely store your firearm if you have a child less than sixteen years of age in your household. You are also required to securely store your gun if you live with a convicted, a felony, and domestic violence crime individual. You should also safely store your firearm if you live with someone who has mental health condition or is under an order of protection. 

Is a Gun Safe Required in California

When it comes to the size of the firearm safe, there is no requirement asked by the state of California. However, the materials used to provide protection and security to the gun safe must be checked.

All guns purchased must have a California DOJ-approved safety certificate and mark. Any lock that makes a weapon unusable when the firearm is engaged. It must have a safety device to protect the gun from discreet firing.

If you purchase a new firearm from a local gun dealer, it must include a locking device upon purchase. But if you’re buying a gun from a private seller, you will need to provide your locking device for your weapon. Additionally, you will have to show proof of purchase of a safety device from the last 30 days you buy the firearm.

California Approved Gun Safes

Before buying any locking devices, you should check the California DOJ website to verify the storage unit passed the requirements. You can also refer to the instructions of the owner’s manual that came with your gun safe and a firearm.

The website is continually updating its requirements so you can find accurate information about the list of approved safety devices for weapons.

There is a wide range of safety devices available to the public at different prices. Some storage container has a locking system that is designed to prevent the firearm from loading and firing. There is also safety storage that keeps the gun out of sight.

Here are some California gun lock safety tips:

  • Always keep the lock and cable outside the trigger 
  • You should push the wire into the padlock to keep it lock 
  • Store the gun and the storage in a hidden location 
  • Replace the lock if the protective coating becomes damaged from the steel cable 
  • Prevent working on the firearms action while the lock is in place 


The California DOJ sets the standards for an approved gun safe to meet the construction, locking system, and protection capabilities. Keep in mind that each gun safes law differs from each state that you must follow. It’s best to visit the state’s regulatory board so you will know the requirement in gun safety. Hopefully, you’ve learned so much about – ‘is a gun safe required in California’ rather than entertained. As final words, having a firearm takes a huge responsibility that you must take full commitment.

  • March 18, 2020
  • Blog