The California Gun Attorney

California Licensee Check

California Firearms Licensee Check


Published by The Law Offices of Bruce Colodny
Revised & Copyright © 2017

What Is The California Firearms Licensee Check?

As of July 1, 2008 California Penal Code section 12072(f)(1) requires Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) wherever located, other than Type 03 FFLs (Licensed Collector of Curio or Relic Firearms) or Type 06 FFLs (Licensed Manufacturer of Ammunition) intending to deliver, sell, or transfer firearms to a licensed firearms dealer, pawnbroker, importer or manufacturer in California to obtain prior Firearms Shipment Approval from the California Department of Justice (CADOJ).


What Purpose Does The California Firearms Licensee Check Serve?

The approval process, called CFLC for short, ensures that the intended recipient of the firearm(s) has a valid Federal Firearms License and currently meets all California and local requirements for lawfully dealing in firearms. If the receiving FFL has met all of these requirements they will be already be enrolled on the CADOJ Centralized List (CL) of approved firearms dealers, and they will have a five digit Centralized List number which the transferor will need to know to request Firearms Shipment Approval.


What Are The Fees To Obtain CADOJ Authorization To Transfer A Firearm?

There are no Firearms Shipment Approval fees, nor are there any fees for a transferring FFL to enroll in the CFLC program.


Does CFLC Apply To Private Party Transfers Of Firearms To A California FFL?

No, Firearms Shipment Approval is only required for transfers originating from FFLs.


Does CFLC Apply To Transfers To A Californian With A Type 03 FFL Collector Of Curio Or Relic Firearms?

No, Firearms Shipment Approval is only required for transfers to a dealer, pawnbroker, importer or manufacturer.


Does CFLC Apply To Transfers To A California Gunsmith?

Yes, a Firearms Dealer Type 01 FFL is required to conduct a gunsmithing business.


Does CFLC Also Apply To Return Of Firearms By A Gunsmith To A California FFL Dealer?

Yes, CFLC applies anytime a receiving FFL is in California and the transferor is also an FFL. Again, the CFLC requirements do not apply to a Type 03 FFL, collector of curio or relic firearms, nor do to they apply to a Type 06 FFL, manufacturer of ammunition. Also, remember that although a CFLC is not required for transfers to or from a Type 03 FFL Collector of Curio or Relics, a Californian with a Type 03 FFL may not use it to legally receive or transfer curio or relic firearms unless they also has a current Firearms Certificate of Eligibility (COE) issued or renewed within the past year by the CADOJ Bureau of Firearms.


Does CFLC Apply To Transfers At Gun Shows?

Yes, Firearms Shipment Approval is required before any FFL may transfer a firearm to a California FFL, whether the transfer takes place at a gun show, at the transferor's business, or at the recipient's business. CFLC also applies if the FFLs never meet and the firearm is to be shipped to the receiving California FFL.


How Can An FFL Obtain CADOJ Authorization To Transfer A Firearm?

First, the FFL must enroll in the CFLC program. To enroll online follow this link to the CADOJ "Log In to CFLC" screen HERE   then under the heading "Not yet enrolled in CFLC?" click on "enroll in CFLC". FFLs may also apply to enroll by completing and mailing or faxing a Firearms Bureau form BOF08-301 CALIFORNIA FIREARMS LICENSEE CHECK (CFLC) ENROLLMENT APPLICATION, available online HERE at CADOJ will send you an enrollment confirmation letter which will contain your CFLC Logon ID and Password.


What Information Is Needed To Enroll For CFLC?

Not much at all:

1. Your Business Name (as it appears on your FFL)

2. Your FFL Number

3. Your FFL Expiration Date

4. If you are operating under an ATF Letter of Continuing Authority (LOA), give expiration date.

5. Your Business Physical Address

a) Number, Street, Suite

b) City

c) State

d) Zip Code

6. Your Business Telephone Number

7. Your Business Fax Number

8. Contact Person Last Name

9. Contact Person First Name

Once you have enrolled in the CFLC program you may use your CFLC Logon ID and Password to request a Firearms Shipment Approval number unique to your request. To obtain Firearms Shipment Approval you will also need the five digit Centralized List (CL) number of the California FFL to whom you intend to transfer the firearms.


What Information Is Needed To Request Shipment Approval?

Just eight items:

1. Shipper FFL Number

2. Number of Handguns to be shipped

3. Number of Long guns to be shipped

4. Shipper's invoice number

5. Shipper's contact name (same as used to enroll in CFLC)

6. Shipper's contact phone

7. Shipper's Fax number

8. Receiving FFL's five digit Centralized List (CL) Number

To obtain Firearms Shipment Approval return to the CADOJ , Log in HERE to CFLC" screenand follow the on-screen instructions.


Is A Firearms Shipment Approval Number Required For Each Firearm To Be Transferred?

No. Firearms Shipment Approval covers all of the firearms in one single shipment.


How Can I Obtain Firearms Shipment Approval If I Do Not Have Internet Access?

If you are located outside of California, you may request Firearms Shipment Approval by calling the telephone number listed on your CFLC enrollment verification letter or by faxing or mailing a Firearms Bureau Form BF08-300 Firearms Shipment Approval Letter Request Form available online from and fax requests are processed from 8:00 AM till 5:00 PM Monday through Friday only.


How Is CADOJ Approval Of A Firearms Transfer Documented?

The transferor receives a Firearms Shipment Approval Number. This number must be provided to the California FFL receiving the firearm. The number may be provided by fax, telephone, email, or by inclusion on the shipping label. CADOJ advises that Firearms Shipment Approval Numbers should be kept with FFL related records. Receiving California FFLs must retain Firearms Shipment Approval numbers for three years.


What If An Approved Shipment Is Modified Or Cancelled?

If the number of firearms changes, or if the shipment is cancelled the transferor should use BOF08-319 FIREARMS SHIPMENT MODIFICATION / CANCELLATION FORM available at or the form may be requested by calling the phone number on your CFLC Enrollment Verification Letter.


What Information Is Supplied To Change Or Cancel A Shipment?

Just this:


2. Shipper's FFL number

3. Shipment Approval Number received earlier


a) Correct number of Handguns

b) Correct number of Long Guns

c) Shipper's Invoice Number

5. Receiving FFLs five digit Centralized List (CL) Number


How Are Out Of State FFLs Expected To Learn About The CFLC Program?

Before the July 1, 2008 effective date of the program the California Department of Justice reportedly made an informational mailing to all FFLs except licensed collectors.


What If An Out Of State FFL Does Not Wish To Participate In The CFLC Program?

No out of state FFL is compelled to transfer firearms to California FFLs. However, if an out of state FFL chooses to transfer firearms to a California FFL without Firearms Shipment Approval, the transferor's FFL may be revoked or not renewed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the transferor FFL may be subject to subject to criminal prosecution.


How Will The ATF Find Out About Unauthorized Transfers To California FFLs?

Failure to obtain Firearms Shipment Approval may be revealed during ATF compliance inspections, firearms traces, or law enforcement investigations. Also CADOJ compliance inspections of receiving and sending FFLs are expected to focus on Firearms Shipment Approval.


Why Would The ATF Be Concerned About Transferor Noncompliance With CFLC?

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 expressly permits more strict state or local regulation. For this reason the ATF periodically publishes a large compendium of state laws and county and municipal ordinances which is distributed by the ATF to all FFLs including Type 03 Collectors. Many FFLs have been revoked or not renewed due to repeated or willful failure to comply with state or local regulation and such non-compliance may also result in criminal prosecution.


If A California FFL Receives And Keeps A Firearm Without Firearms Shipment Approval, What Can Happen To The Receiving FFL?

The receiving FFL may be suspended or permanently removed from the CADOJ Centralized List of Firearms Dealers. In addition, or in the alternative, the receiving FFL may suffer revocation or non-renewal of their FFL due to failure to conduct their business in accord with California law. The receiving FFL may also be criminally prosecuted.


Why This Article Was Written?

The legislative mandate for the California Firearms Licensee Check program (CFLC) was not very specific, so the burden of filling in the details fell upon the Firearms Bureau of the California Department of Justice (CADOJ). The first Firearms Bureau Information Bulletin aroused awareness of the program, but also resulted in speculation and misunderstanding about the requirements and the burdens.

Attorneys of the Law Offices of Bruce Colodny began to receive questions about CFLC from friends in the trade who were firearms collectors or dealers in other states. We thought some FAQs about CFLC might be helpful, so we began with a few questions; however, as we learned more, we realized a web article would be more appropriate.

While the attorneys of the Law Offices of Bruce Colodny personally oppose the CFLC and believe that it is another example of politically-motivated and unnecessary California anti-gun legislation which was designed and intended to make the lawful sale and purchase of firearms within California more difficult, expect the CFLC to be enforced unless and until a court orders otherwise.

This article was drafted by Attorney Eric H. Archer for the Law Offices of Bruce Colodny.