Are Online Gun Sales Legal in California?

With the social landscape shifting around firearm ownership and California’s permits, licenses, and renewals driving up the costs, some people have decided to move on and exchange their firearms to another person in a private sale. Although this may sound simple in theory, there are a lot of restrictions put on the sales and transfer of guns in California, both privately and publicly. Certain rules must be followed, even to pass on a firearm as a gift. One may think to turn to the Internet to complete their transactions, however, it is more complicated than this and that is rarely (if ever) a legal option.

Who Can Sell Guns in California?

Penal Code 26500 PC of California law determines that selling, transferring, or leasing a gun without a valid permit or license is a misdemeanor. This means that only fully licensed firearms dealers can conduct gun sales. Licensed firearms dealers in California don’t only sell new guns from their own inventories but are also responsible for brokering the sale or transfer of guns between private parties.

If you were looking to sell or gift a firearm to someone, both you and the person receiving the firearm would need to meet all the requirements necessary for purchasing and owning a gun through a legal, authorized dealer. In addition to this, all private party firearm transfers in the state of California must take place in person at the location the authorized dealer has on their licensing. The only time this rule does not apply is when a gun is being transferred from a parent to a child or grandparent to grandchild.

Who Can Own Guns in California?

Before you head to your local firearms dealer to sell or purchase a firearm from another person, it would be beneficial to know who can own guns in California, because these requirements must be met to transfer your firearm to another person. To be eligible for gun ownership, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age, unless you have a valid hunting license or are an active federal officer or member of the Army
  • Have no prior felony convictions and no restraining orders against you
  • Have no convictions of certain misdemeanors within the last ten years, including assault, battery, armed criminal action, theft of a firearm, etc.
  • Successfully receive a Handgun Safety Certificate before you take possession of the weapon

Being aware of your eligibility for gun ownership and the eligibility of the person you plan to transfer any weapon to saves a lot of time and hassle when you start the process.

The Process of Transferring Gun Ownership in California

Knowing that there are a lot of steps in the process of transferring the ownership of a firearm to another person may deter some people, however, being prepared for the process and understanding how it works makes it much simpler. Here’s how transferring a firearm in California works:

  • You and the person you plan to transfer the weapon to arrive to a local authorized firearm dealer with multiple forms of legal identification as well as certifications relevant to the weapon being transferred
  • The dealer helps you both fill out the DROS (Dealer Record of Sale) paperwork as well as any other necessary paperwork (background checks, etc.)
  • The person receiving the transfer pays a fee of up to $47.19 for the first firearm (which includes the DROS fee and a $10 fee for the transfer) and $10 more for each additional firearm
  • The licensed dealer will hold the firearm(s) for the 10-day waiting period, which is mandatory when transferring a weapon
  • Within 30 days of the transfer taking place, the recipient will need to submit proof of the transaction to the Department of Justice

Staying compliant with the various rules and regulations put in place by the state of California regarding gun sales and gun ownership is beneficial because it absolves you of liability once the weapon is officially in the transferee’s name. It’s only possible to hold someone liable for crimes committed with a firearm if they are the legal owner of the firearm.

For example, if you gave your friend a firearm without following the protocols and they committed a crime using said gun, you could potentially be liable in the prosecution of that crime. However, if all the legal processes are followed accurately and the transfer takes place via a licensed dealer, you will not be liable for crimes committed with the weapon once it’s out of your hands. You could only be held liable if it is proven that the crimes were premeditated with your involvement before the transfer took place.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you have made a gun sale or given a firearm to someone without following the proper procedures, you may be wondering what can be done to rectify the situation. If you have been accused of fraud or any other crime stemming from the transfer of a firearm in the state of California, you will benefit from a strong legal defense. The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch will work tirelessly to defend you with over 20 years’ worth of experience working on criminal cases. Contact us today at (559) 484-2112 or via our contact page.

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