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View Full Version : Firearm registration - it's NOT required


Librarian
01-06-2009, 1:53 AM
It's true - firearms are not required to be registered in California.

It's also true that almost any kind of transfer has been required to go through an FFL since 1991, and the DROS process registers the guns involved. Information collected on DROS forms for HANDGUNS is much more detailed than for other guns.

But there were millions of guns in California before 1991. If they have not been transferred in California since then, there is no requirement that there be any official California record of them.

Non-FFL Transfers

Rifles and shotguns, over 50 years old, are not covered under California's 'required FFL' law. No report is required if these are purchased from an FFL out of state, or from an individual in California. No C&R license is required.

The DOJ has a forms page (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/) for other non-FFL registration.

People who move here, and bring in HANDGUNS from out of state have been required to register them with the New Resident (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/ab991frm.pdf) form since 1998. No report is required for anything not a handgun. And people who moved here with guns before 1998 are not required to register any guns they brought here then. [PC 12072(f)(2)]

Intrafamilial transfers of HANDGUNS do require filing the Operation of Law (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/oplaw.pdf) form, and that is registration. No report is required for anything not a handgun.

C&R holders who buy C&R HANDGUNS out of state and bring them to California are required to register them with the Curio or Relic (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/curioapp.pdf) form. That is registration. No report is required for anything not a handgun.

Any individual can voluntarily register a gun using the DOJ Firearm Ownership Record (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/volreg.pdf) form. This might be interesting if clear title is important to the current owner. It may also be interesting if carrying a loaded, concealed weapon without CCW - if the carrier is not the registered owner of the handgun, the penalty may be a year in state prison rather than a year in county jail.

Any individual can file a No Longer In Possession form (not online 1/6/09 0230), effectively UN-registering a gun from that owner.

See also the Calguns Foundation Wiki (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Firearms_registration).

MP301
01-06-2009, 4:08 AM
The intent, I was informed, of making it a felony instead of a misdemeanor for getting caught CCW with an unregistered handgun was to enhance the punishment for those caught with a stolen gun.

Obviously its never a good idea to CCW without a permit, but if you did and you were carrying one of those guns that you legally purchased before 1991, your just as screwed. I dont have a problem with more punishment for the bad guy, but I think the law should have been written better to not include the lawful owner.

The actor, Dennis Farina, can tell you all about it......

http://www.sacbee.com/102/story/930109.html

SteveH
01-06-2009, 11:57 AM
Any teeth in the handgun registration regulations at all?

Is there a CPC section for possession of unregistered handgun?

_Odin_
01-06-2009, 12:14 PM
Rifles and shotguns, over 50 years old, are not covered under California's 'required FFL' law. No report is required if these are purchased from an FFL out of state, or from an individual in California. No C&R license is required.

So, in aquiring a rifle that is older than 50 years from a private party (not an FFL) and one does not have a C&R licence, it's not required to do a 4473 form or conduct this transfer through a FFL?

This is nice to know :D

Could you link me to the section of the PC which outlines this?

Suvorov
01-06-2009, 12:17 PM
Great concise information! Perhaps we can make this a sticky as similar questions seem to pop up quite often?

postal16
01-06-2009, 12:26 PM
Rifles and shotguns, over 50 years old, are not covered under California's 'required FFL' law. No report is required if these are purchased from an FFL out of state, or from an individual in California. No C&R license is required.

Can you point me to the reference on this...basically if I were to want to give a Iraq vet a 1903 Springfield as a gift, that is kosher?

Thanks

Librarian
01-06-2009, 12:30 PM
So, in aquiring a rifle that is older than 50 years from a private party (not an FFL) and one does not have a C&R licence, it's not required to do a 4473 form or conduct this transfer through a FFL?

This is nice to know :D

Could you link me to the section of the PC which outlines this?

PC 12078 (t) (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/12070-12086.html)

(2) Subdivision (d) and paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 12072 shall not apply to the infrequent sale, loan, or transfer of a firearm that is not a handgun, which is a curio or relic manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof, as defined in Section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or its successor.

Librarian
01-06-2009, 12:37 PM
Any teeth in the handgun registration regulations at all?

Is there a CPC section for possession of unregistered handgun?

Dunno about the first. As to PC section, only the sentence enhancement I mentioned from PC 12025(b)(6).

Bruce
01-06-2009, 3:45 PM
Is there a CPC section for possession of unregistered handgun?

The closest is 12031(f)PC:

California Penal Code Section 12031

(a) (1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when
he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a
vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an
incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a
prohibited area of unincorporated territory.
(2) Carrying a loaded firearm in violation of this section is
punishable, as follows:
(A) Where the person previously has been convicted of any felony,
or of any crime made punishable by this chapter, as a felony.
(B) Where the firearm is stolen and the person knew or had
reasonable cause to believe that it was stolen, as a felony.
(C) Where the person is an active participant in a criminal street
gang, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 186.22, under the
Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (Chapter 11
(commencing with Section 186.20) of Title 7 of Part 1), as a felony.

(D) Where the person is not in lawful possession of the firearm,
as defined in this section, or is within a class of persons
prohibited from possessing or acquiring a firearm pursuant to Section
12021 or 12021.1 of this code or Section 8100 or 8103 of the Welfare
and Institutions Code, as a felony.
(E) Where the person has been convicted of a crime against a
person or property, or of a narcotics or dangerous drug violation, by
imprisonment in the state prison, or by imprisonment in a county
jail not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed one thousand
dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
(F) Where the person is not listed with the Department of Justice
pursuant to Section 11106, as the registered owner of the pistol,
revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the
person, by imprisonment in the state prison, or by imprisonment in a
county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine not to exceed one
thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that fine and imprisonment.

There are people who have handguns they bought from good old Charlie back in the days before PPT's. There's no law requiring registration, but if you're caught with it in a 12031 situation, it becomes a felony, even though it is your gun!

rayra
01-06-2009, 8:03 PM
Nice shopping list of 'loopholes' for the marxists in sacramento to go after in the next session.
We may not have 'registration' by law, but we certainly have it in practice, despite the appearance given by your omission that we don't.

When I was improperly charged with concealed carry and my 1911 confiscated 5yrs ago, my subsequent arraignment included an attempt to also charge me with committing the supposed crime with a gun not registered in my name. Of course the moronic *******s neglected to notice or mention that the last registered owner of the pistol had the same last name as me.
I was prepared for that, interrupted the proceedings and produced an affadavit from my father attesting to the legal transfer nearly two decades previous, and ~10yrs prior to the law change requiring reporting of intrafamilial handgun transfers.
In my subsequent (and successful) efforts to defeat the false charges, I obtained a copy of the deputy's incident report, which was written the same day of the accident and citation. That report contained the results of some sort of trace search which listed the last known owner of that pistol. That pistol was in my father's name, and it was purchased and gifted to me for Christmas of 1984. That purchase in L.A. was the ONLY time that firearm was introduced into CA records, via DROS. And yet 19yrs later despite this 'no registration' you allude to, the officer has the info at his fingertips.

So, nice summary. But try not to give the wrong impression with it. We DO have defacto registration.

Mssr. Eleganté
01-06-2009, 8:40 PM
I still hold that there is currently a way for many of us to legally acquire handguns and legally not have to register them. It goes like this...

1. You have to have lived in California since before 1998

2. You have to inherit a handgun from somebody who is a resident of another State.

3. The person you inherit the handgun from can't be your grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, or spouse.

4. You must travel out of state to pick up the inherited handgun.

Federal law allows you to inherit a firearm from any out of state resident. The law only requires that the firearm be legal for you to own in your State. The law does not require that you follow all of the procedures for acquiring a gun in your home State like it does if you are buying from an out of state FFL. The gun only has to be legal for you to own in your State of residence when you inherit it.

If you have lived in California since before 1998 then you do not meet the definition of a "personal handgun importer", so you are not required to use that form to register any handguns you bring into California with you, no matter when you acquired them out of state.

If the handgun did not come from a grandparent, parent, child, or grandchild, then you are not required to register the handgun via the intra-familial form.

The only way CalDOJ can say that you are required to register a handgun acquired in this manner is if they consider it to be an "operation of law". But if CalDOJ considers inheritance to be an "operation of law" then that also means we would be able to inherit guns from non-family members within California without going through an FFL.

That's my new theory, anyway. :)

Librarian
01-06-2009, 8:59 PM
So, nice summary. But try not to give the wrong impression with it. We DO have defacto registration.

Never said anything different. State would claim that DROS is not registration, but we know it is.

There are worse versions of 'registration'; consider expected behavior with driver licenses when one moves - change of address is required. And DLs expire - both could be applied to guns.

'Registration lite' is still an abomination.

But, even including your experience, it's still the case in the Penal Code that pre-1991 owned guns, not transferred in California since then, have no requirement to be registered.

But they may have been registered: DROS in fact was state law back in the 1920's, if I recall correctly; transfers through FFLs would have been reported, on paper - thus the deputy's trace report. It's required transfers through FFLs that started in 1991.

jackrabbit
01-26-2009, 4:23 PM
I've spent the past two hours trying to educate myself on this issue, and your post told me more than all of my previous research. I've been in CA since 1994, and have never thought twice about the handgun I brought with me at that time. Recently, I read somewhere that it is a felony to own an unregistered handgun, and became concerned, especially about the need to register a handgun within 60 days of moving to CA. Well, I obviously didn't do that, and am well beyond 60 days at this point. I didn't know which was the bigger risk--trying to register late or not registering it at all. I was leaning towards the latter until an old neighbor lady offered to rent me her garage for my new Mustang. My mind conjured up an imaginary scenario where the lady gets burglarized, and the cops decide to search my place because I had access to her garage. Presto, they come across my unregistered handgun and then I'm in big trouble. Highly unlikely, but this is how my mind works. :eek:

If what you say is true, then I will be greatly relieved.

I have a question about this part of your post:

People who move here, and bring in HANDGUNS from out of state have been required to register them with the New Resident form since 1998. No report is required for anything not a handgun. And people who moved here with guns before 1998 are not required to register any guns they brought here then

Can you give me a source or reference for this? I'd like something a little more authoritative for my imaginary cops than "Librarian said so". ;)

AJAX22
01-26-2009, 4:26 PM
So... what if you bring a stripped frame (title 1 firearm) into the state and build it as a pistol here?

Its not being imported as a pistol, purchased as a pistol transfered as a pistol..... how does that influence registration requirements?

bohoki
01-26-2009, 5:08 PM
some firearms need to have been registered to be in your possession

Librarian
01-26-2009, 5:23 PM
If what you say is true, then I will be greatly relieved.

I have a question about this part of your post:

People who move here, and bring in HANDGUNS from out of state have been required to register them with the New Resident form since 1998. No report is required for anything not a handgun. And people who moved here with guns before 1998 are not required to register any guns they brought here then

Can you give me a source or reference for this? I'd like something a little more authoritative for my imaginary cops than "Librarian said so". ;)

The start date for that is in PC 12072(f)(2)
(2) (A) On or after January 1, 1998, within 60 days of bringing a
pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon
the person into this state, a personal handgun importer shall do one
of the following:
(i) Forward by prepaid mail or deliver in person to the Department
of Justice, a report prescribed by the department including
information concerning that individual and a description of the
firearm in question.
(ii) Sell or transfer the firearm in accordance with the
provisions of subdivision (d) or in accordance with the provisions of
an exemption from subdivision (d).
(iii) Sell or transfer the firearm to a dealer licensed pursuant
to Section 12071.
(iv) Sell or transfer the firearm to a sheriff or police
department.
Since that's the date, prior to that it wasn't required.

Librarian
01-26-2009, 5:26 PM
some firearms need to have been registered to be in your possession

That would be the case for 'assault weapons' and .50 caliber rifles. Since registration of those is no longer possible, I left them out.

Did you have others in mind?

Librarian
01-26-2009, 5:28 PM
So... what if you bring a stripped frame (title 1 firearm) into the state and build it as a pistol here?

Its not being imported as a pistol, purchased as a pistol transfered as a pistol..... how does that influence registration requirements?

Does it have to go through an FFL? If so, DROS covers it.

edward
01-26-2009, 5:29 PM
It's true - firearms are not required to be registered in California.

It's also true that almost any kind of transfer has been required to go through an FFL since 1991, and the DROS process registers the guns involved. Information collected on DROS forms for HANDGUNS is much more detailed than for other guns.

But there were millions of guns in California before 1991. If they have not been transferred in California since then, there is no requirement that there be any official California record of them.

Non-FFL Transfers

Rifles and shotguns, over 50 years old, are not covered under California's 'required FFL' law. No report is required if these are purchased from an FFL out of state, or from an individual in California. No C&R license is required.

The DOJ has a forms page (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/) for other non-FFL registration.

People who move here, and bring in HANDGUNS from out of state have been required to register them with the New Resident (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/ab991frm.pdf) form since 1998. No report is required for anything not a handgun. And people who moved here with guns before 1998 are not required to register any guns they brought here then.

Intrafamilial transfers of HANDGUNS do require filing the Operation of Law (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/oplaw.pdf) form, and that is registration. No report is required for anything not a handgun.

C&R holders who buy C&R HANDGUNS out of state and bring them to California are required to register them with the Curio or Relic (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/curioapp.pdf) form. That is registration. No report is required for anything not a handgun.

Any individual can voluntarily register a gun using the DOJ Firearm Ownership Record (http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/volreg.pdf) form. This might be interesting if clear title is important to the current owner. It may also be interesting if carrying a loaded, concealed weapon without CCW - if the carrier is not the registered owner of the handgun, the penalty may be a year in state prison rather than a year in county jail.

Any individual can file a No Longer In Possession form (not online 1/6/09 0230), effectively UN-registering a gun from that owner.

See also the Calguns Foundation Wiki (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Firearms_registration).

Question about that intra-familial form. Is that the form a minor with a valid Hand Gun safety certificate would use to receive a handgun from their parent.

I.E. - 19 yo w/ HSC prints out and has dad fill out the I-F form, mails away the check... does the 19 yo now possess the listed handgun?

AJAX22
01-26-2009, 6:01 PM
Does it have to go through an FFL? If so, DROS covers it.

No... say you get a stripped 1911 frame (made in 1945) with your C&R licence....

or you get one of the C&R Mac 10's (they exist)

or you, (as a new/dual resident) get an ar15 stripped pistol lower receiver...

there are a ton of scenarios where you could wind up with a title 1 firearm frame without going through a dros....

If so... then what?

Librarian
01-26-2009, 6:07 PM
Question about that intra-familial form. Is that the form a minor with a valid Hand Gun safety certificate would use to receive a handgun from their parent.

I.E. - 19 yo w/ HSC prints out and has dad fill out the I-F form, mails away the check... does the 19 yo now possess the listed handgun?

Yes, and yes.

Actually, the 19-year-old fills out the form; it's the handgun receiver who files and pays. There's one little "ACQUIRED FROM" box at the bottom of the form. Child "Bill Smith" would enter "Joe Smith (Father)" or some such.

Librarian
01-26-2009, 6:11 PM
No... say you get a stripped 1911 frame (made in 1945) with your C&R licence....

or you get one of the C&R Mac 10's (they exist)

or you, (as a new/dual resident) get an ar15 stripped pistol lower receiver...

there are a ton of scenarios where you could wind up with a title 1 firearm frame without going through a dros....

If so... then what?Don't know - that's way more ambitious than I have ever dealt with.

Maybe Oaklander knows; he's built AK pistols, I believe.

ETA: looks like this thread on AK pistol registration has more info
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=148639

jackrabbit
01-26-2009, 6:55 PM
Thank you very much, Librarian. What a relief! Now, not only can I keep my car clean, I can also go shopping for a new gun without worrying about the old one.

AC Gould
01-27-2009, 1:13 AM
... That pistol was in my father's name, and it was purchased and gifted to me for Christmas of 1984. That purchase in L.A. was the ONLY time that firearm was introduced into CA records, via DROS. And yet 19yrs later despite this 'no registration' you allude to, the officer has the info at his fingertips.

So, nice summary. But try not to give the wrong impression with it. We DO have defacto registration.
I have a question regarding this. As I recall, back in the early 80's the only form filled out was a 4473. There was no background check. No state registration. You waited the 15 days and picked up the handgun. There were no state forms completed, and as far as I know the only record kept was the dealer's 4473. Are you saying that somehow, the state has collected all the handgun info off of the old 4473's and placed them into a data base for LE use? Or are we to assume that the Feds have done so and make this info available to LE? If so, then we have defacto registration. Anyone know the facts?

Librarian
01-27-2009, 1:43 AM
I have a question regarding this. As I recall, back in the early 80's the only form filled out was a 4473. There was no background check. No state registration. You waited the 15 days and picked up the handgun. There were no state forms completed, and as far as I know the only record kept was the dealer's 4473. Are you saying that somehow, the state has collected all the handgun info off of the old 4473's and placed them into a data base for LE use? Or are we to assume that the Feds have done so and make this info available to LE? If so, then we have defacto registration. Anyone know the facts?

No, I'm quite sure no one has been skimming the info from the 4473s.

But manual DROS for handguns has been a CA dealer obligation since the 20's - that's de facto registration for dealer sales, for sure. The background check part came in with the Bradys.

I never bought a gun before 1991, so I don't know How It Used To Be. With no information, I can only guess that you may be forgetting the extra paperwork.

AC Gould
01-27-2009, 10:40 AM
...
But manual DROS for handguns has been a CA dealer obligation since the 20's - that's de facto registration for dealer sales, for sure. The background check part came in with the Bradys.



So, I think what I hear you saying, is the dealer kept a separate log/records of handgun sales and provided that info to the state? Would this be true even before the 4473 ( GCA 68 ) ? Are there any OLD dealers out there that can verify or explain this process?

Bruce
01-27-2009, 11:20 AM
No, I'm quite sure no one has been skimming the info from the 4473s.

But manual DROS for handguns has been a CA dealer obligation since the 20's - that's de facto registration for dealer sales, for sure. The background check part came in with the Bradys.

I never bought a gun before 1991, so I don't know How It Used To Be. With no information, I can only guess that you may be forgetting the extra paperwork.

In the 60's, it was a 3 day wait as a cooling off period. Then it went to five days with a background check in the 70's. Five days wasn't enough time so it went up to 10 days. It went up to 21 days for a while then back down to 10.

Librarian
01-27-2009, 11:50 AM
So, I think what I hear you saying, is the dealer kept a separate log/records of handgun sales and provided that info to the state? Would this be true even before the 4473 ( GCA 68 ) ? Are there any OLD dealers out there that can verify or explain this process?

Yes, that's correct. State printer provided the forms, and of course the 1920s were sort of before 1968 :)

See http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?p=1881160#post1881160 for more info on old-time DROS.

Nevermore
01-28-2009, 11:30 AM
Question: Is an FFL required in CA to sell/transfer a long arm which is on the Federal C&R list, but not yet 50 years old? PC12078(t) which talks about it only mentions C&R arms at least 50 years old; is there another section that talks about other federally defined C&R items?

Mssr. Eleganté
01-28-2009, 7:24 PM
Question: Is an FFL required in CA to sell/transfer a long arm which is on the Federal C&R list, but not yet 50 years old? PC12078(t) which talks about it only mentions C&R arms at least 50 years old; is there another section that talks about other federally defined C&R items?

To be exempt from California's Dealer transfer requirements, a firearm has to be a C&R long gun that is at least 50 years old. PC Section 12078(t)(2) is all you get.