How to Get a C&R License in California

by K.T. Parker; Updated September 26, 2017
Antique weapons manufactured before 1899 are exempt from C&R licensing.

A Curio and Relic license is needed when someone wishes to own a curio or relic weapon. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives established the regulations for C&R licenses nationally. Some states have other requirements, in addition to the applicant possessing a federal C&R license. California's requirements to obtain a C&R license are similar to the federal requirements, with special requirements for owning a handgun or other concealable C&R weapon.

Step 1

Obtain form ATF Form 7CR from the BATFE website. Completely fill out the application, providing any requested documents. Submit the application, along with the fee, which is $30 as of July 2011. The BATFE will approve or deny your application usually within a few weeks. If approved, the license is valid for three years before you must reapply.

Step 2

Provide your local chief law enforcement officer, such as the sheriff, two copies of ATF Form 7CR. Also determine if there are city or county regulations relating to C&R weapons.

Step 3

Buy a weapon classified as a curio or relic, meaning it was manufactured before 1959. Antiques manufactured before 1899 are automatically exempt from needing a C&R license. In California, buyers may not purchase a curio or relic online, inside the state or across state lines that can be concealed, such as a pistol, unless purchased from a class-one licensed FFL dealer.

Step 4

Pass the background check and wait 10 days to collect your purchase, if it is a handgun. Both are required even for curios or relic concealable weapons, with a purchasing limit of one pistol per 30 days. Those possessing a class-three C&R license, plus a certificate of eligibility -- obtainable through the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms -- are exempt from the purchasing limit. Rifles are exempt from purchasing limits, waiting periods and background checks.

Step 5

Fill out and submit the Curio or Relic Handgun Report, available on the CADOJ, Bureau of Firearms' website, if you purchased a pistol or other concealable weapon. There is a $19 processing fee, payable to the CADOJ, Bureau of Firearms, as of July 2011.


  • Consider owning a hunting license before applying for a C&R license. BATFE requires a copy of your hunter's license or permit. The BATFE considers you likely ineligible for a C&R license if you don't have a hunting license.


  • If your C&R weapon was purchased out-of-state, you must file the Curio or Relic Handgun Report form within five days of its arrival in California. Failure to do so could result in criminal prosecution.

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