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08-23-2005, 8:43 PM
Here's another one of those questions that got me thinking...

Let's say I register a handgun. It's on the list and everything's kosher. Then I decide to change the handgun in such a way that it's not the same model handgun as I registered, but still on the list. For example, I buy a Glock 23, then buy a G19 upper and swap it out. According to what's written on the side of the pistol at that point, it's no longer what I registered it as. The serial number is registered, but not as a G19.

Would that get me into trouble somewhere down the line? Say for instance, I get wrecked on the freeway heading back from the range, and an LEO spots it in the wreckage (unloaded, cased & locked in what's left of my trunk, of course) and he decides to run the number. Would I get handcuffed to the hospital bed, or would the DOJ or ATF come visit me in ICU?

Work with me here guys - I know this scenario would be an unusually bad run of luck, but the basic question remains: can I legally alter my pistol from what it's been registered as?

Thanks!

bwiese
08-23-2005, 9:57 PM
The 'safe gun' laws only mandate that guns sold =to you via an FFL dealer (other than private-party transfers) are exactly conforming to the approved, specified model.

There is NO law in CA (or Fed law) that prevents you from changing calibers, barrel/slide lengths, hammer styles, etc. once you own the gun.

For handguns, if you tire of this modified gun and want to sell it, you can execute a private-party transfer to another person in CA (a 'consignment sale' is a variation of this). If you sell this gun to an FFL in CA for him to sell later like any other gun in his inventory, it must be (1) still on the approved list and (2) back to its original stock configuration.

There is no similar limitation on rifles.

Handguns are kinda registered anyway when transferred/purchased. If you register a handgun you've had for ages, form asks for caliber but there is no law broken if you change caliber, bbl length, etc.

Assault weapons are specially registered and the form asks for caliber. The caliber is just another piece of information, whereas the key items for AW registration are make/model/ serial#. There is no law banning caliber changes on assault weapons. The caliber of a reg'd AW can be updated if you care to call/write DOJ - in fact, many folks w/AWs with multiple calibers (like ARs in 223/9mm/7.62x39) have them listed as caliber "8888" which means multicaliber.

(50BMG is exception to caliber rule. No more 50BMGs can be acquired/created in CA - with the specific exception of already-registered AWs, which can legally be configured to accept 50BMG without additional registration/permission.)


Bill Wiese
San Jose

08-25-2005, 7:02 AM
Originally posted by bwiese:
There is NO law in CA (or Fed law) that prevents you from changing calibers, barrel/slide lengths, hammer styles, etc. once you own the gun.

Thanks! Just to clarify, what about the name of the gun? In my example, the model number engraved on the slide no longer matches what's on the 4473 or DOJ paperwork.

bwiese
08-25-2005, 10:19 AM
Originally posted by jif:
Just to clarify, what about the name of the gun? In my example, the model number engraved on the slide no longer matches what's on the 4473 or DOJ paperwork.

What the slide says is irrelevant and not of any legal force.

Even the caliber designation on body/frame/ receiver, if present, is irrelevant for end-user - if he wants to shoot 40S&W out of a 1911, no worries.

The only thing that really needs to NOT change or be altered on the receiver (frame) is the serial# - that's a felony. This might include a mfgr name too, not sure - but that is only for the receiver (frame).

Again, there's no requirement for the current operating caliber of a gun to match the original caliber marked anywhere on the gun.

The 'registration' or DROS paperwork you filled out when purchasing or later volutarily registering it just captures the gun's status at that time.

[The only area where this MIGHT be a slight issue is for CCW (concealed weapon permit) issuance. I believe there may be a requirement in some (all?) areas of CA demanding that CCW guns are of the caliber registered - or perhaps, you've just gotta carry the caliber that you have listed on your CCW.]


Bill Wiese
San Jose