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billgato
07-18-2010, 8:40 PM
I am interested in buying a pistol from my friend. However, he got the gun about 3-5 years ago and didn't register it. Can I buy still buy it from him or will either of us get into trouble during the transfer process?

Did a search and didn't find anything that matched my question. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Bill Gato

Sinixstar
07-18-2010, 8:44 PM
A lot of it depends on how he 'got the gun'....

frankm
07-18-2010, 8:47 PM
If he bought the gun in a PPT without paperwork in California, you might get in trouble if Calif has it registered to someone else.

billgato
07-18-2010, 8:51 PM
So is there a way for my friend to check for the status of the gun if he is not currently the registered owner? My friend is not into guns and probably didn't know the laws on transferring the ownership of the gun.

Should he go and register it now before selling it to me?

Bill Gato

Ron-Solo
07-18-2010, 8:55 PM
As long as it is not reported stolen, both of you can go to a licensed firearms dealer and complete a "Private Persons Transfer" thru the dealer. It is a face to face transaction and the maximum fee the dealer can charge is $35.

You will also need a handgun safety certificate and secondary proof of residence such as a utility bill in your name, car registration, or government issued identification that shows your address.

There is NOT a "registration" requirement in California and the DROS procedure is a background check rather than a registration, so the fact that it is not "registered" is irrelevant.

billgato
07-18-2010, 9:02 PM
So prior to going the do the PPT, is there a way to check the status of the handgun to be sure it has not been used in a crime?

Bill Gato

Sinixstar
07-18-2010, 9:27 PM
As long as it is not reported stolen, both of you can go to a licensed firearms dealer and complete a "Private Persons Transfer" thru the dealer. It is a face to face transaction and the maximum fee the dealer can charge is $35.

You will also need a handgun safety certificate and secondary proof of residence such as a utility bill in your name, car registration, or government issued identification that shows your address.

There is NOT a "registration" requirement in California and the DROS procedure is a background check rather than a registration, so the fact that it is not "registered" is irrelevant.

Not entirely correct.

PPTs must go through an FFL in CA.
As far as handguns go - Registration is part of that transfer process. There is in fact a registration requirement for handguns in California.

Pre-Registration-Requirement handguns are grandfathered. If you had a handgun before the registration law went into effect, you're fine. However, once you transfer it - that gun is now registered to the person you transferred it to.

Same thing when you move into the state - you have to file a declaration of personal import. This is essentially registering your out-of-state purchased handgun. This is a requirement that you must meet within 60 days of moving to the state.

So - while there's no requirement to register grandfathered pre-registration guns, there is also no legal way to obtain one that does not cause the handgun to be registered to the new owner. That's where you get into some legal gray area.

Sinixstar
07-18-2010, 9:27 PM
So prior to going the do the PPT, is there a way to check the status of the handgun to be sure it has not been used in a crime?

Bill Gato

sure - take it the DOJ, tell them you think the gun may have been used in a crime and ask them to do a ballistic test.

Now let me know when you get it back, as it means the end is near.

billgato
07-18-2010, 9:33 PM
Thanks for your help. It seems that there is no upside to buying this gun. I think it's best to look elsewhere.

I love how quickly you Calgunners come to the aid of a member in need of assistance.

Bill Gato

OleCuss
07-18-2010, 9:35 PM
Not entirely correct.

PPTs must go through an FFL in CA.
As far as handguns go - Registration is part of that transfer process. There is in fact a registration requirement for handguns in California.

Pre-Registration-Requirement handguns are grandfathered. If you had a handgun before the registration law went into effect, you're fine. However, once you transfer it - that gun is now registered to the person you transferred it to.

Same thing when you move into the state - you have to file a declaration of personal import. This is essentially registering your out-of-state purchased handgun. This is a requirement that you must meet within 60 days of moving to the state.

So - while there's no requirement to register grandfathered pre-registration guns, there is also no legal way to obtain one that does not cause the handgun to be registered to the new owner. That's where you get into some legal gray area.

As a further aside to what you're talking about?

There is a further Twilight Zone in which your pistol can reside. A lot of handgun registrations from somewhere in the time frame of the mid to late 1980s were destroyed. So you can have a handgun you purchased and legally registered (as required by law) but it is no longer registered. In order to sell that handgun I'm told you must first register that handgun (for the second time) and then you can sell it.

Personally, I think that it is best to retain such firearms as you were fully compliant with the law but the government still doesn't know you have it. That is a desirable situation, IMHO.

OleCuss
07-18-2010, 9:36 PM
Thanks for your help. It seems that there is no upside to buying this gun. I think it's best to look elsewhere.
.
.
.
Bill Gato

A wise man.

Sinixstar
07-18-2010, 9:41 PM
A wise man.

agreed.

ke6guj
07-18-2010, 9:50 PM
As a further aside to what you're talking about?

There is a further Twilight Zone in which your pistol can reside. A lot of handgun registrations from somewhere in the time frame of the mid to late 1980s were destroyed. So you can have a handgun you purchased and legally registered (as required by law) but it is no longer registered. In order to sell that handgun I'm told you must first register that handgun (for the second time) and then you can sell it..you were told wrong. There is no legal requirement that a handgun that you want to sell must first be registered in your name.

The seller of this handgun can take it to a local FFL to do a PPT transfer to the buyer. If the handgun isn't stolen, it will be transfered to the buyer and registered to him, even if it was originally registered in a 3rd person's name. CADOJ realizes that unpapered transfers happen and it appears that they would just prefer that any new transfers happen properly through an FFL. If they cause issues with unregistered handguns being transfered through an FFL and try to confiscate it, they'll just chase all unpapered handguns deeper into the black market.

OleCuss
07-18-2010, 9:57 PM
you were told wrong. There is no legal requirement that a handgun that you want to sell must first be registered in your name.

The seller of this handgun can take it to a local FFL to do a PPT transfer to the buyer. If the handgun isn't stolen, it will be transfered to the buyer and registered to him, even if it was originally registered in a 3rd person's name. CADOJ realizes that unpapered transfers happen and it appears that they would just prefer that any new transfers happen properly through an FFL. If they cause issues with unregistered handguns being transfered through an FFL and try to confiscate it, they'll just chase all unpapered handguns deeper into the black market.

Thank you for the correction.

But is it possible that a portion of the reason the DOJ doesn't push the issue is that they know that they have a bunch of guns which were legally registered and that the DOJ effectively unregistered them (inadvertent as the unregistering may have been)?

Crom
07-18-2010, 9:58 PM
you were told wrong. There is no legal requirement that a handgun that you want to sell must first be registered in your name.

The seller of this handgun can take it to a local FFL to do a PPT transfer to the buyer. If the handgun isn't stolen, it will be transfered to the buyer and registered to him, even if it was originally registered in a 3rd person's name. CADOJ realizes that unpapered transfers happen and it appears that they would just prefer that any new transfers happen properly through an FFL. If they cause issues with unregistered handguns being transfered through an FFL and try to confiscate it, they'll just chase all unpapered handguns deeper into the black market.

I understand it this way too. Prior to 1991 private party transfers did not have to go through an FFL. So it is quite possible for the example to happen as you describe it.

http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Time_Line_of_California_Firearms_Laws

billgato
07-18-2010, 10:15 PM
But since the history of the gun is unknown, it could open up avenues that my friend would not want to go through. Chances are there are no issues with the pistol. However, it is probably best left alone as it is.

My friend better make sure the gun is never used in such a way that it gets further scrutiny (such as in self-defense).

I will advise him of your advice.

Bill Gato

chiselchst
07-18-2010, 10:31 PM
Prior to the PPT, can't he just call his local LEA and have them run the numbers to confirm it's not stolen? (I think that is what he meant..?)

ke6guj
07-18-2010, 10:48 PM
Prior to the PPT, can't he just call his local LEA and have them run the numbers to confirm it's not stolen? (I think that is what he meant..?)

many LEAs will require you to bring in the handgun to have the numbers run so that if it comes up stolen, they can confiscate it on the spot. If they told someone that the handgun was stolen over the phone and that it needed tobe turned in, how many times do you think that would happen?

So what is the difference between taking it to an LEA to have the numbers run, vs. taking it to an FFL to have it PPT'ed and having CADOJ run the numbers during the 10-day wait?

billgato
07-18-2010, 11:31 PM
Would my friend get into trouble for not having registered it in the first place? If something comes up and the registration comes up to someone else, he could end up getting into trouble.

Probably best to leave everything alone. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Bill Gato

Sinixstar
07-19-2010, 12:15 AM
Would my friend get into trouble for not having registered it in the first place? If something comes up and the registration comes up to someone else, he could end up getting into trouble.

Probably best to leave everything alone. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Bill Gato

Honestly - it all depends on the gun, the situation, and the circumstances about how he came to own it.

CA gun laws are vague, confusing, convoluted and non-nonsensical. As such, there are very few black and white answers to any legal gun question. Even when you think you've found one, there's exemptions, exceptions, loopholes, and counties where it doesn't apply.

There's situations where having that gun could land him in jail, some where it might get confiscated but not much else, and some where it just wouldn't much matter. To make matters worse, it also depends on the gun it's self. If it's an old enough gun - and conceivably predates the '91 PPT-FFL requirement, transferring it to would fly under the radar. However, if it had been registered at any point, and it was transferred to your friend outside of the PPT-FFL process, that was an illegal transfer. Now when he tries to transfer it to you, his name isn't going to match the name of the registered owner, and it will raise red flags. The question is how big of a flag will it raise and will with the outcome be? I personally wouldn't want to mess with it out of simple CYA tenancies.

It's also worth noting that there is no separate "registration" process for the most part. If he bought the gun and went through an FFL - it is effectively transfered. If he bought the gun face-to-face cash and carry at somebody's house, it was an illegal transfer. But again - whether that would jam things up really depends on if the gun was registered to the previous owner in the first place.

So - as has been said - without more information about the history of the gun and how your friend, and arguably even the previous owner, came in possession of it - and without more knowledge on the law - It's probably best just to avoid it. You're not going to end up in any trouble if you go to an FFL and try to transfer it, but your friend might.

Ron-Solo
07-19-2010, 12:20 AM
Not entirely correct.

PPTs must go through an FFL in CA.

True, but the DROS procedure is not registration

As far as handguns go - Registration is part of that transfer process. There is in fact a registration requirement for handguns in California.

FALSE. There is no law that requires a handgun to be registered in California. DROS is a "Dealer Report Of Sale" and is not "registration" per se

Pre-Registration-Requirement handguns are grandfathered. If you had a handgun before the registration law went into effect, you're fine. However, once you transfer it - that gun is now registered to the person you transferred it to.

Same thing when you move into the state - you have to file a declaration of personal import. This is essentially registering your out-of-state purchased handgun. This is a requirement that you must meet within 60 days of moving to the state.

Not sure of the time line, but reasonably accurate except a DROS is NOT registration

So - while there's no requirement to register grandfathered pre-registration guns, there is also no legal way to obtain one that does not cause the handgun to be registered to the new owner. That's where you get into some legal gray area.

Once again, DROS is NOT registration per se. It does maintain a record in AFS regarding the purchaser.



There is no danger of purchasing the gun unless it has been reported stolen. The DROS system will check the serial number in AFS (Automated Firearm System) and NCIC for stolen records and will notify the transferring dealer to hold the transaction and notify the local law enforcement agency.

I have been in LE for 32 years and we would occasionally have both parties come into the lobby and have us run the serial number before going to a dealer to complete the transaction. Our policy was we would only run the serial number if the gun was physically present. If it came back stolen, it would be held and an investigation initiated. The risk falls on the seller to explain how they came into possession. Too many variables to predict how that would go...

My father was also an FFL and I handled many of his transactions while he was in business.

POLICESTATE
07-19-2010, 12:25 AM
From CA DOJ website: http://www.ag.ca.gov/firearms/pubfaqs.php#25
How do I know if my firearms need to be registered?

There is no firearm registration requirement in California except for assault weapon owners and personal handgun importers. However, you may submit a Firearm Ownership Record to the DOJ for any firearm you own. Having a Firearm Ownership Record on file with the DOJ may help in the return of your firearm if it is lost or stolen. With very few and specific exceptions, all firearm transactions must be conducted through a firearms dealer.

HOWEVER, go buy a new or used handgun from some of the dealers around the Bay Area and they automatically register it with the state as part of the sale. I think the difference is that although it is not required by law, it may be required for the dealer to register a handgun with the state as part of some lame FFL registration, I don't know why else they would do it?

Maybe some FFL can shed some light?


There is no danger of purchasing the gun unless it has been reported stolen. The DROS system will check the serial number in AFS (Automated Firearm System) and NCIC for stolen records and will notify the transferring dealer to hold the transaction and notify the local law enforcement agency.

I have been in LE for 32 years and we would occasionally have both parties come into the lobby and have us run the serial number before going to a dealer to complete the transaction. Our policy was we would only run the serial number if the gun was physically present. If it came back stolen, it would be held and an investigation initiated. The risk falls on the seller to explain how they came into possession. Too many variables to predict how that would go...

My father was also an FFL and I handled many of his transactions while he was in business.

Meplat
07-19-2010, 12:30 AM
Would my friend get into trouble for not having registered it in the first place? If something comes up and the registration comes up to someone else, he could end up getting into trouble.

Probably best to leave everything alone. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Bill Gato



This is just what the antis want, to intimidate us into not exercising our rights. If your friend has no reason to believe the gun in question was once stolen it is very unlikely it will be on the radar, even if it was stolen the chances of it happening are slight. All registrations are not checked against a Ďstolen guní data base.

I would go ahead if your friend came by the pistol honestly. If he did not come by it honestly or suspects it may have a tainted past and he wants to sell it to you, he is not your friend.

Thatís just me. Itís your choice.

However, I would be very interested to know if anyone here knows of any real instance of anyone ever getting in trouble after submitting a gun for registration. I suspect there is a large dose of FUD involved in our musings.

NIB
07-19-2010, 12:34 AM
So then why if I move into the state do I have 60 days to send off my paperwork and a check to essentially registrar my handguns if I bought them out of state if there is no registration of handguns.

Ron-Solo
07-19-2010, 12:41 AM
So then why if I move into the state do I have 60 days to send off my paperwork and a check to essentially registrar my handguns if I bought them out of state if there is no registration of handguns.

That is a separate requirement because you are "importing" them into the state.

Once again, there is no crime for possession of an "unregistered" handgun. There are sentence enhancements for using a handgun in a crime that does not have a DROS record in your name.

By the way, did I mention that California gun laws are convoluted and hard to understand? They make NO SENSE.

ke6guj
07-19-2010, 12:43 AM
So then why if I move into the state do I have 60 days to send off my paperwork and a check to essentially registrar my handguns if I bought them out of state if there is no registration of handguns.

nobody has said that there is no registration of handguns. The point is that that it is not a crime to possess a handgun that is not registered.

yes, there are laws that deal with handgun importation and intrafamily transfers, and how they need to document that activity, but that does not mean that there is mandatory registration of all handguns.

Sinixstar
07-19-2010, 12:47 AM
From CA DOJ website: http://www.ag.ca.gov/firearms/pubfaqs.php#25


HOWEVER, go buy a new or used handgun from some of the dealers around the Bay Area and they automatically register it with the state as part of the sale. I think the difference is that although it is not required by law, it may be required for the dealer to register a handgun with the state as part of some lame FFL registration, I don't know why else they would do it?

Maybe some FFL can shed some light?

This has always been my understanding of it. I understand DROS is not registration - but I always thought registration of handguns took place as part of the transfer process from the FFL.
In fact, if i'm not mistaken, of the two handguns I've bought in California- i believe both came with a form from the dealer proving the registration process had taken place, and that they were my guns legally. Paperwork is locked away in a safe place though - so I can't just go dig it up and confirm.

POLICESTATE
07-19-2010, 11:40 AM
This has always been my understanding of it. I understand DROS is not registration - but I always thought registration of handguns took place as part of the transfer process from the FFL.
In fact, if i'm not mistaken, of the two handguns I've bought in California- i believe both came with a form from the dealer proving the registration process had taken place, and that they were my guns legally. Paperwork is locked away in a safe place though - so I can't just go dig it up and confirm.

Yeah same here, last pistol I bought here was definitely registered by the store, it was noted on my receipt. The revolver I bought prior to that was at Target Masters, who probably registered it not only with the state but also with the Feds, the Brady Bunch, LCAV and the Chinese PLA for all I know :rolleyes:

1911Luvr
07-19-2010, 12:16 PM
I know people that have purchased firearms from private parties without doing the proper paperwork, mostly because they didn't know at the time, and I knew another guy who likes to think he is "off the grid" with his firearms so to speak, so he would buy guns from estate sales, etc. without doing paperwork so as to keep his ownership records secret. From what I've read above, it seems that if they ever wanted to sell them legally they cannot without fear of getting into trouble. If that is the case, would anyone who has an unregistered firearm ever want to "go legal" in the event they wanted to sell it? The guy I knew ended up with some nice guns on the cheap and though I never had any money at the time, I often thought about offering some cash if he came across something I liked. Looking back it seems a good thing I was broke because trying to be legal would end up being more trouble than it's worth.

I have recently been scouring pawn shops in search of a particular gun, but this thread makes me wonder about the guns those shops get in. With the sheer volume of guns that some shops take in, I can't imagine everything they take in is legally registered, so do they become legal by virtue of the shop being an FFL buying them?

ke6guj
07-19-2010, 12:26 PM
I have recently been scouring pawn shops in search of a particular gun, but this thread makes me wonder about the guns those shops get in. With the sheer volume of guns that some shops take in, I can't imagine everything they take in is legally registered, so do they become legal by virtue of the shop being an FFL buying them?

all items that a pawn shop acquire are supposed to be held for 30? days before they can be sold, and the serial numbers are forwarded to the cops. so, it is unlikely that you would buy a stolen firearm from a pawnshop since the numbers should have been checked before it was put up for sale, and again when the DROS to you was submitted.

And again, prior unpapered transfers do not make the handgun illegal. All htat CADOJ normally cares for is that the next transfer be done properly. An "unregistered" handgun is not destined to be unregistered forever.

When it gets DROSed to you, it will be registered in your name, and that is all you need to worry about. It doesn't matter if it went through 5 different people in un-papered transfers. All that matters is that when it is PPT'ed, it will now be listed in your name.

Calpoly93
07-21-2010, 10:46 PM
So hypothetically, if a person were to have come into CA in the mid-90's, and did not notify DOJ, are they going to automatically be in trouble if they try to submit a Firearm Ownership Record for a pistol bought out-of-state from a dealer, as a resident of that fictitious state?

GuyW
07-21-2010, 11:14 PM
Mmmm, IIRC, for most crimes other than murder, there are statutes of limitation on prosecution.

So, perhaps an illegal PPT between otherwise-legal parties, may not be prosecutable after 3 years or ??

Hopefully an attorney will come along here and clean my mess up....
.

Librarian
07-22-2010, 8:19 AM
So hypothetically, if a person were to have come into CA in the mid-90's, and did not notify DOJ, are they going to automatically be in trouble if they try to submit a Firearm Ownership Record for a pistol bought out-of-state from a dealer, as a resident of that fictitious state?

Mid-90s? No - that wasn't required until 1998.

Unless you plan to illegally CCW such a pistol, there's no good reason to register it if not required to do so by law - and planning an illegal act isn't a good reason, either.

See the wiki article on registration (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Firearms_registration).

Calpoly93
07-22-2010, 1:52 PM
Thanks! That Wiki page had lots of great information!

rromeo
07-22-2010, 3:06 PM
So I'm still unclear on one bit. If I purchased a handgun in 1996 via PPT, is it registering California?

gemini1
07-22-2010, 4:28 PM
So hypothetically, if a person were to have come into CA in the mid-90's, and did not notify DOJ, are they going to automatically be in trouble if they try to submit a Firearm Ownership Record for a pistol bought out-of-state from a dealer, as a resident of that fictitious state?

NO, you wont be in any trouble. I came back to Cali in '95 from Florida. Did'nt know about the 60 days or any gun registration requirements for new residents until I discovered CGN in '08. I called DOJ about the 60 day rule and they simply told me to fill up the form and pay the $19.00(?) fee.
My mistake was asking about it at CGN after I have sent in the paperworks to DOJ, that 60 day requirements was in effect I think in '98, I would have been GTG since I came back in '95.

gemini1
07-22-2010, 4:35 PM
That is a separate requirement because you are "importing" them into the state.

Once again, there is no crime for possession of an "unregistered" handgun. There are sentence enhancements for using a handgun in a crime that does not have a DROS record in your name.

By the way, did I mention that California gun laws are convoluted and hard to understand? They make NO SENSE.


So what would happen if lets say a guy with properly stored handgun in his car is pulled over and cops finds out his gun is unregistered? Can they detain a guy for as long as it takes until they're satisfied the gun is clean? or can they let the guy go but confiscate the gun for further investigation?

Meplat
07-22-2010, 4:49 PM
or can they let the guy go but confiscate the gun for further investigation?

That is called theft and it happens all the time.

gemini1
07-22-2010, 7:14 PM
That is called theft and it happens all the time.

So its goodbye handgun? No chance on ever getting it back (without lawyers help)?

Librarian
07-22-2010, 7:26 PM
So I'm still unclear on one bit. If I purchased a handgun in 1996 via PPT, is it registering California?

Registered. Yes, if you mean 'two private individuals using a CA FFL to mediate a transfer' when you say 'PPT'.

At least it's registered to the extent that a particular make/model/caliber and serial number can be associated with a particular individual. If it looks, walks and quacks like registration ....

speedjunkie
07-22-2010, 8:34 PM
you were told wrong. There is no legal requirement that a handgun that you want to sell must first be registered in your name.

The seller of this handgun can take it to a local FFL to do a PPT transfer to the buyer. If the handgun isn't stolen, it will be transfered to the buyer and registered to him, even if it was originally registered in a 3rd person's name. CADOJ realizes that unpapered transfers happen and it appears that they would just prefer that any new transfers happen properly through an FFL. If they cause issues with unregistered handguns being transfered through an FFL and try to confiscate it, they'll just chase all unpapered handguns deeper into the black market.

So, taking into account the above info...if somebody moved from out of state into CA, but forgot to register their handgun with the DOJ and later wanted to sell it, then everything should still be kosher? This is assuming that the new California resident had obtained the handgun through legal means while he/she was a resident out of state and there were no abnormalities associated with the handgun in question. Would it be any different if the handgun in question was not on the DOJ safe list? I'm sure it happens all the time, but always wondered about this? Thanks.

ke6guj
07-22-2010, 8:49 PM
So, taking into account the above info...if somebody moved from out of state into CA, but forgot to register their handgun with the DOJ and later wanted to sell it, then everything should still be kosher? This is assuming that the new California resident had obtained the handgun through legal means while he/she was a resident out of state and there were no abnormalities associated with the handgun in question. yes.

in a similar vein, if that person moved in the state with personal handguns, once they became a resident, they are required to register those handguns. A listed exempton to that need to register is the option to sell the handguns in a PPT transaction to another CA resident.

12072(f)(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.

Subdivision (d) refers to PPTs. That is basically saying that within 60-days, you need to register it or sell it. If you sell it, you weren't required to register it. If you didn't have to register it and could still sell it, that shows that you can sell handguns that are not registered in your name via PPT.








Would it be any different if the handgun in question was not on the DOJ safe list? I'm sure it happens all the time, but always wondered about this? Thanks.doesn't matter. In this case it would be a PPT and PPTs are exempt from the roster.

ETD1010
07-22-2010, 9:36 PM
As an FFL, we run the Dealer Record of Sale with the "sellers" info as well. If that gun was registered to someone else that WASN'T the seller who I'm running the paper from. . . There's a HUGE issue. so it really depends on WHEN, and WHO he got it from. . . NOT worth it IMO.