Guide To California DOJ Gun Safe Requirements

Gun safes sold in California must meet CDOJ requirements or be listed as an Underwriters Laboratories Residential Security Container

The purpose of this article is to help clarify misinformation regarding gun safes. The information has been obtained from various sections of the California Penal Code including 23655. Note that the author is neither an attorney nor an expert in California Department of Justice certification.

Beginning July 1, 2001, the California Department of Justice shall compile, publish, and maintain a roster listing all of the firearm safety devices (FSD) that have been tested by a certified testing laboratory, have been determined to meet the department’s standards for firearm safety devices, and may be sold in this state (for storing pistols and long guns). Firearm safety devices used for random sample testing are obtained from sources other than the manufacturer.

The idea behind the California Department Of Justice (CDOJ) certification for FSD was to protect children by keeping weapons out of their hands.

Since Jan. 1, 2003, Firearm Safety Devices, which include gun safes without either the UL RSC Listing or CDOJ certification, may not be sold in California for storing pistols and long guns.

If a locksmith sells a cabinet, gun cabinet, lock box, gun safe, long gun safe or wall safe for the purpose of storing firearms in California, it must have either a CDOJ certification which can be found on the Department of Justice Web Site, a label on the container or have a UL RSC Listing. CDOJ approval enables safe manufacturers whose products do not meet the UL RSC Listing requirements to sell their lock containers including safes in California as long as they meet the CDOJ certification test.

The State of California Department of Justice Regulatory Gun Safe Standards are not burglary or fire rating standards; it is a construction standard. There are three options for a cabinet, gun cabinet, lock box, gun safe, long gun safe or wall safe for sale in California for the purpose of storing firearms, must pass one of three options.


Option 1:

  • Shall be able to fully contain firearms and provide for their secure storage;
  • 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 (Rockwell c scale 60+) drill-resistant steel plate, or drill-resistant material of equivalent strength;
  • Boltwork shall consist of a minimum of three steel locking bolts of at least ½ 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;
  • 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 .100 inches for safes with two walls. Doors shall be constructed of a minimum of two layers of 12-gauge steel, or one layer of 7-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, jeweler’s lugs and active or inactive locking bolts.


Option 2:

  • Is listed as an Underwriters Laboratories Residential Security Container;
  • Is able to fully contain firearms;
  • Provides for the secure storage of firearms.


Option 3:

  • Pass the California Department of Justice (CDOJ) certification test that is designed to replicate the forces that would be exerted on Firearm Safety Devices (FSD) using common household tools for an approximate 10-minute period. Each test will occur in a Certified FSD Laboratory.


For the purpose of this article, we will discuss only requirements that relate to a cabinet, gun cabinet, lock box, gun safe, long gun safe or wall safe developed to store firearms.


Key Provisions

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