Buying and selling firearms in California
- 1 Buying handguns from a California FFL
- 2 Buying rifles and shotguns from a California FFL
- 3 Buying from a Private Party - PPT
- 4 Standard dealer requirements apply
- 5 Standard handgun requirements apply
- 6 Locks, Safes, and Laws
Buying handguns from a California FFL
Buying rifles and shotguns from a California FFL
Buying from a Private Party - PPT
Private party Transfers - PPT - are authorized by Penal Code 12082
12082. (a) A person shall complete any sale, loan, or transfer of a firearm through a person licensed pursuant to Section 12071 in accordance with this section in order to comply with subdivision (d) of Section 12072. The seller or transferor or the person loaning the firearm shall deliver the firearm to the dealer who shall retain possession of that firearm. The dealer shall then deliver the firearm to the purchaser or transferee or the person being loaned the firearm, if it is not prohibited, in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 12072. If the dealer cannot legally deliver the firearm to the purchaser or transferee or the person being loaned the firearm, the dealer shall forthwith, without waiting for the conclusion of the waiting period described in Sections 12071 and 12072, return the firearm to the transferor or seller or the person loaning the firearm. The dealer shall not return the firearm to the seller or transferor or the person loaning the firearm when to do so would constitute a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 12072. If the dealer cannot legally return the firearm to the transferor or seller or the person loaning the firearm, then the dealer shall forthwith deliver the firearm to the sheriff of the county or the chief of police or other head of a municipal police department of any city or city and county who shall then dispose of the firearm in the manner provided by Sections 12028 and 12032. The purchaser or transferee or person being loaned the firearm may be required by the dealer to pay a fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10) per firearm, and no other fee may be charged by the dealer for a sale, loan, or transfer of a firearm conducted pursuant to this section, except for the applicable fee that the Department of Justice may charge pursuant to Section 12076. Nothing in these provisions shall prevent a dealer from charging a smaller fee. The fee that the department may charge is the fee that would be applicable pursuant to Section 12076, if the dealer was selling, transferring, or delivering a firearm to a purchaser or transferee or a person being loaned a firearm, without any other parties being involved in the transaction.
You must use a California FFL
12082 specifies a dealer licensed according to Penal Code 12071.
Both parties must be California residents
There are two reasons for this:
- If one party is not from California, the transfer becomes INTERSTATE and is governed by Federal Law (18 USC 922(a)(3) and (a)5))in addition to California Law and
- The Dealer Record of Sale software (DROS -- see page 40 in the .pdf) will accept only California or military identification documents.
Standard dealer requirements apply
The buyer must submit all the necessary DROS information and wait the mandatory ten days before picking up the gun.
The buyer must have a firearms safety device for each gun. Penal Code 12088.1
12088.1. (a) All firearms sold or transferred in this state by a licensed firearms dealer, including private transfers through a dealer, and all firearms manufactured in this state, shall include or be accompanied by a firearms safety device that is listed on the Department of Justice's roster of approved firearms safety devices...
Standard handgun requirements apply
The buyer must have the Handgun Safety Certificate (Penal Code 12071(a)(8)(B))and perform the safe handling demonstration required by Penal Code 12071(a)(8)(D)
Handguns transferred through PPT are exempt from the Roster.
Locks, Safes, and Laws
There are two sets of laws to satisfy.
California law requires a firearms safety device with each gun delivered (Penal Code 12088.1). California law will accept many items to satisfy this requirement, and maintains a list, the Roster of Firearm Safety Devices Certified for Sale.
California will accept a gun lock, with conditions:
(e) The sale or transfer of a firearm shall be exempt from subdivision (a) if all of the following apply: (1) The purchaser or transferee purchases an approved safety device no more than 30 days prior to the day the purchaser or transferee takes possession of the firearm. (2) The purchaser or transferee presents the approved safety device to the firearms dealer when picking up the firearm. (3) The purchaser or transferee presents an original receipt to the firearms dealer which shows the date of purchase, the name, and the model number of the safety device. (4) The firearms dealer verifies that the requirements in (1) to (3), inclusive, have been satisfied. (5) The firearms dealer maintains a copy of the receipt along with the dealers' record of sales of firearms.
California will accept a gun safe as a firearms safety device (Penal Code 12088.1)
(d) The sale or transfer of a firearm shall be exempt from subdivision (a) if both of the following apply: (1) The purchaser or transferee owns a gun safe that meets the standards set forth in Section 12088.2. Gun safes shall not be required to be tested, and therefore may meet the standards without appearing on the Department of Justice roster. (2) The purchaser or transferee presents an original receipt for purchase of the gun safe, or other proof of purchase or ownership of the gun safe as authorized by the Attorney General, to the firearms dealer. The dealer shall maintain a copy of this receipt or proof of purchase with the dealers' record of sales of firearms.
HOWEVER, Federal Law has introduced a complication with handgun purchases.
18 USC 922(z) requires
(z) Secure Gun Storage or Safety Device.— (1) In general.— Except as provided under paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to sell, deliver, or transfer any handgun to any person other than any person licensed under this chapter, unless the transferee is provided with a secure gun storage or safety device (as defined in section 921 (a)(34)) for that handgun.
and 18 USC 921(a)(34) has the definition
(34) The term “secure gun storage or safety device” means— (A) a device that, when installed on a firearm, is designed to prevent the firearm from being operated without first deactivating the device; (B) a device incorporated into the design of the firearm that is designed to prevent the operation of the firearm by anyone not having access to the device; or (C) a safe, gun safe, gun case, lock box, or other device that is designed to be or can be used to store a firearm and that is designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination, or other similar means.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has yet to issue a regulation which recognizes 18 USC 921(a)(34)(C).
In practice, that means that California and Federal law are different on what is acceptable -- and safe for dealers to accept. For long guns, California FFLs may accept the safe affidavit; for handguns, because BATFE has not yet ruled, the safe affidavit is usually NOT acceptable, and buyers may expect to purchase a gun lock with each handgun.