In most states, the requirements for obtaining a handgun license, commonly known as a "blue card," are that you are 21 years of age or older and have passed your state's requisite gun-safety exam. Private institutions offer preparation for the exam, but you can also study with a basic handgun safety course guide. However, if you have a criminal record, in most states you will be unable to acquire handgun licensing. Along with your application, you will need recent photos of your head and face, a copy of your state or federal identification card and your social security card.
Complete a certified firearms safety course or review the "Set Your Sights on Handgun Basics" study guide. The safety exam contains multiple choice and true-or-false questions from the information covered in "Set Your Sights on Handgun Basics" (see first listing in Resources below).
Sign up for the Rhode Island handgun-safety exam at a certified Department of Environmental Management (DEM) location. Most firearms dealers and sporting goods stores administer the exam. The exam is also available in Spanish.
Apply for the blue card online at Rhode Island's DEM website (see Resources below), or you can find the application at your local police station. You will need a copy of your state or federal identification card for the application.
Purchase or download online the California Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) booklet (see Resources). It is required to have a copy of this booklet to receive a blue card in California.
Enroll in the California state Department of Justice's (DOJ) written test on handgun safety. The DOJ has testing available at most firearm dealerships.
Complete the blue-card application online or at your local police station (see Resources). You will need a copy of your state or federal license to complete the application.
Collect your personal information: social security number, U.S. identification card number, current address and information regarding your criminal record or past drug use. You will also need a credit card number to pay the application fee.
Apply for the blue card online at the Texas Department of Public Safety's website (see Resources below).
Renew your blue card at the Texas Department of Safety's website, as well.
- Individual states, including ones not listed here, may have different requirements for blue cards. To learn more about blue card applications from states not listed here, contact your local police department.
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