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View Full Version : In CA how can I transfer ownership of a 9mm pistol from a deceased friend


allingoodfun
03-20-2010, 1:18 AM
A few years back I had a friend who passed in a car accident. While his wife was moving out of their home she found his 9mm pistol and asked me to take it. Which I did and put in my storage unit and forgot about it... Now I have long since lost contact with the wife and still have the weapon, how do I go about legally xfering ownership to myself?

bwiese
03-20-2010, 1:36 AM
1.) It's not a great idea to publicly disclose illegal conduct on forums like this. Again, always best to pose questions hypothetically - "What if someone dies and...."

2.) If he had really willed the gun to you and wife was executor, you
could have taken possession of that gun back then.

3.) It appears but is certainly not guaranteed the DOJ will look aside if you file a voluntary registration + $19 fee with them. They seem to be
happy enough in rere solo instances like this to get the gun on the books.

Gray Peterson
03-20-2010, 6:54 AM
1.) It's not a great idea to publicly disclose illegal conduct on forums like this. Again, always best to pose questions hypothetically - "What if someone dies and...."

2.) If he had really willed the gun to you and wife was executor, you
could have taken possession of that gun back then.

3.) It appears but is certainly not guaranteed the DOJ will look aside if you file a voluntary registration + $19 fee with them. They seem to be
happy enough in rere solo instances like this to get the gun on the books.

Have to agree. Do a VOLREG form and it should cover you.

MindBuilder
03-20-2010, 1:14 PM
I'm not a lawyer and I don't even know the law on this stuff very well, so I could easily be wrong about all this, but trying to register it seems a little dangerous to me.

It depends on how much it's worth to you. If you're poor, so it would be hard to get another gun, or you have a strong sentimental attachment to it, then trying to do a voluntary registration might be worth the risk. The problem is that you could fail the background check even if you really ought to pass. For example, there could be confusion between your name and the name of some criminal, or you could be prohibited for some reason you didn't realize was prohibitive, like a misdemeanor disorderly conduct conviction. Make sure you get a handgun safety certificate before attempting to register it. If you send in the registration form, you've basically created a signed statement establishing your guilt.

One possibility may be to destroy the frame and put the parts on a new frame, or sell the parts. Selling it to a licensed dealer may be safe if the gun obtained by your friend before 1991 and therefore wasn't registered. If it was registered, then that might be dangerous. You might wait for one of those no questions asked buybacks, but I've heard they run checks on all the guns they get so that could still cause problems for you or your friend's wife. Even if they declined to press charges, it could be a black mark on your "record".

Another possibility may be to wait for the statute of limitations for failure to register expires and register it then. I think that might be three years, but I'm just guessing. The statute of limitations might not apply until the authorities find out the crime was committed. Possession without registration might be a continuing crime, so the statute of limitations might never run out, but I think there was precedent a while back that said that a criminal couldn't be convicted of failure to register because that would require him to incriminate himself, in violation of the 5th Amendment. I'm probably characterizing that precedent wrong so find out from someone who knows what they're talking about. So after the statute of limitations on your initial failure to register is expired, you may(or may not) be able to register safely.

Destroying the gun or getting rid of it in some off the books way could be dangerous because there is a chance that national gun registration will become required. They may confiscate dealer sales records and try to trace unregistered guns. Indeed, the current democratic Congress may try to do that if they think they already sunk their majority with health care reform. Tracing millions of unregistered guns would be hugely expensive, so they may not try, but they might.

Have you been thinking of moving out of state? If you do that and take the gun with you, that might open up other options that may be legal, like selling it in a private sale or to a dealer who wouldn't check the registration with the California government. Maybe even if you don't move out of state, you could legally sell it to an out of state dealer. I'd check the legality of that option first. Getting the gun on the books in a way that wouldn't raise any alarms would be highly desirable.

Consider the possibility that Calguns.net may be getting a subpoena for your IP address real soon, if not already.

When you get a lawyer, make sure you get one who specializes in gun laws. Many lawyers are very poorly informed about gun laws. You can't afford to pay them to get up to speed.

I believe all the options I've mentioned are legal, but check to be sure they're legal first before doing them. Don't take this as legal advice because I'm not a lawyer and I don't know enough about the details of your situation to give decent advice even if I was a lawyer. These are just some Ideas to consider.

The Director
03-20-2010, 2:00 PM
^ dude, your tinfoil hat is on too tight.

HowardW56
03-20-2010, 2:54 PM
^ dude, your tinfoil hat is on too tight.

I'd listen to Bill's suguestion before I would that of a newbe...

THe vol reg is the best way to go... The OP doesn't say how many years ago this happened... The statute may have run...

allingoodfun
03-20-2010, 4:23 PM
this happened many years ago... more than 10.

And if calguns.net gets a subpoena for my IP address I would laugh at the person who requested it. It would be much easier for that person to just send me a PM telling me what I need to do, because if they have the legal authority to request something like that, then they should know exactly what i need to do to fix this.

regardless of what you may think "Big Brother" isnt always watching and I think that if they were I would be the very least of their worries... I mean if nothing else I am a seemingly responsible person who is attempting to do the right thing and register a weapon. But who knows... the federal marshals might be headed to my house right now.

bwiese
03-20-2010, 5:18 PM
#1: Wrong. If someone's asking you about this, STFF and get a lawyer.
PERIOD.

#2: there's really nothing that can "fix" this other than returning
the gun to the woman and then executing a PPT. But you say
you are no longer in contact so that's out.

#3: the material I wrote above happens to be what we hear of
current policy behavior of DOJ staff. They don't seem to want
to chase people down FOR A SINGLE INCIDENCE IN THE PAST
OF THIS SPECIFIC ISSUE and would rather just get the gun on
the books.

[quote]
regardless of what you may think "Big Brother" isnt always watching and I think that if they were I would be the very least of their worries...

Um, they do and have, and various CA LE do watch here too.


I mean if nothing else I am a seemingly responsible person who is attempting to do the right thing and register a weapon. But who knows... the federal marshals might be headed to my house right now.

WTF would the *Federal* marshals care about CA *state law???


Also, various idiots seem to interpret the above as a way of regularly NOT using an FFL to do gun transfers - which is plainly wrong and illegal. This is the behavior that'll get you in trouble.