View Full Version : transfer ownership of a lost shotgun

03-29-2009, 10:52 AM
Here's the scenario:

A shotgun (Mossberg 500) was bought legally in Florida and the owner (Bob)moved to CA. During the move, he forgot where he put the shotgun. After a couple of year, he moved to Germany.

Owner of the house (Bob's friend - John) in CA where Bob stayed found the shotgun after 8yrs while cleaning the detached garage used as a storage. He called Bob in Germany and Bob said John can keep it.

Can John register the shotgun under his name? If not, what should John do with the shotgun?

03-29-2009, 11:06 AM
I'm probably not the right person to comment definitively on the legality of the inadvertent transfer that took place between Bob and John, but I will point out that it is not necessary to register a shotgun in CA.

Just thinking out loud here: I don't think that Bob did anything illegal in the process of his moves. He was not required to register the shotgun upon moving to CA (this would be different if it was a handgun, I think).

The problem that I see is that unless the shotgun is a long-gun over 50 years old, CA law required the transfer between Bob and John to be performed through a licensed dealer, with the corresponding background check and waiting period. It's not technically registered in this process (that is, the dealer does not send the serial number to the CA government), but a record of the transfer is kept by the dealer in his/her bound book.

So, I think that this scenario would be an illegal transfer under CA law (unless the shotgun is over 50 years old). I don't know what options are available in a case like this, where the original owner of the gun is not available to perform a transfer at a dealer. John could probably surrender the shotgun to law enforcement, but I sure hope that there is a better legal option than that.

03-29-2009, 11:19 AM
The best option is to have Bob continue to store the shotgun at John's residence with a written agreement to store it at that location for a small fee (i.e. $1 for 10yrs) or something similar. Once that has been completed, Bob and John should make arrangements to see when Bob can swing by on his next vacation to the US to properly complete the paperwork to legally transfer the shotgun to John. I think this is the best solution for any long gun under 50 years old.