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View Full Version : Can I legally keep these handguns?


gymbo
04-25-2006, 6:02 PM
A good friend of mine gave me four of his handguns to hold on to, as he did not want to have them in the house when his young son visited. ( He had child visitation issues with the the Dept. of Social Services, that is why he removed the guns from his home.). All of the handguns were properly registered in his name. Unfortunately, my friend passed away six years ago and the guns are still in my possesion. I don't want to contact his surviving family members about it, because my friends brother committed suicide by handgun, and I would not want them to re-live that nightmare. I don't know what to do with these handguns? Can I register them in my name legally without having to contact his family? Can I legally sell them, or would I just have to surrender them?

I may have to move out of California at the end of the year, and I don't want to get caught traveling with these guns in my possesion.

Thank your for you helpful comments..

EBWhite
04-25-2006, 6:11 PM
It will depend if they are registered to a certain person or not. And how old they are. If they are old enough not to be registered to a certain owner then you will be fine. Keep them locked up in a box in the car and don't do anything stupid. You should not have any issues. Wait for more info as others chime in.

AS45-70
04-25-2006, 6:30 PM
I would wager a guess that you can not keep them.

They dont belong to you. Just my guess and not much help to you :(

guns_and_labs
04-25-2006, 6:36 PM
I don't know what's "legal", but I have an opinion as to what's right, and what I would hope if I had been your friend. I would want you to keep them for my son, until he can make his own decision as an adult. Those are my instructions to my friend, in case something should happen to me.

50 Freak
04-25-2006, 6:43 PM
Just register them in your name. They were a gifted to you by your buddy back in the late 80's right....You did not have to register private party transfers of handguns till early 90's if I remember correct.

Just make sure you don't have Model 2000 something. Puts a kink into your story.

RRangel
04-25-2006, 8:16 PM
I'm no lawyer but this is something to take note of. Previous to January 1, 1991 I'm pretty sure handguns did not require paperwork like they do now.

After that date all guns must go through a federal firearms license (FFL) dealer record of sale (DROS) and background check along with a ten day waiting period. This means all tranfers including used guns or gifts. This effectively prevents any real private party sales in California if you follow the law.

They closed the "gun show loophole" don't you know?

harley66
04-25-2006, 8:28 PM
I'm no lawyer but this is something to take note of. Previous to January 1, 1991 I'm pretty sure handguns did not require paperwork like they do now.

After that date all guns must go through a federal firearms license (FFL) dealer record of sale (DROS) and background check along with a ten day waiting period. This means all tranfers including used guns or gifts. This effectively prevents any real private party sales in California if you follow the law.

They closed the "gun show loophole" don't you know?


this post and the one above it is correct - however, what is the RIGHT thing to do is a question ONLY you can answer.. its up to you..

accordingtoome
04-26-2006, 3:07 AM
sell them and give the money to the family.. you were his friend right.? if it was just some guy you knew then keep them

maschronic
04-26-2006, 3:13 AM
sell them to me. :)

edwardm
04-26-2006, 5:38 AM
A good friend of mine gave me four of his handguns to hold on to, as he did not want to have them in the house when his young son visited. ( He had child visitation issues with the the Dept. of Social Services, that is why he removed the guns from his home.). All of the handguns were properly registered in his name. Unfortunately, my friend passed away six years ago and the guns are still in my possesion. I don't want to contact his surviving family members about it, because my friends brother committed suicide by handgun, and I would not want them to re-live that nightmare. I don't know what to do with these handguns? Can I register them in my name legally without having to contact his family? Can I legally sell them, or would I just have to surrender them?

I may have to move out of California at the end of the year, and I don't want to get caught traveling with these guns in my possesion.

Thank your for you helpful comments..

Any chance your friend happened to agree to a storage fee for housing the guns, and since he passed away and there was nothing in his estate, the fee was never settled? And in the agreement he said "Keep the guns as security for payment of the storage fee, in case when the fee comes due, I can't pay."?


If you look at Cal Penal Code 12078. http://www.calgunlaws.com/article-240.html Search for "security".

Since he never satisfied the obligation to pay, the firearms can pass to a secured creditor outside of an FFL. It's the same Penal Code section that permits transfers from husband to wife per Family Code 850 (i.e. wife buys me a new shotgun for my birthday, and hands it to me, then it's all good, even in CA), and between parent-child and grandparent-grandchild.

Why they left this, and a couple of other loopholes, in 12078 I do not know. But my philosophy is that if the law explicitly permits something, use it within reason to your full advantage. Welcome to a new pistol collection.

harley66
04-26-2006, 6:35 AM
Sell them??? knowing my luck - these guns would have been stolen some time in the past (with out my friend even knowing) now the new seller might have more trouble than they want - You just never know.... so how lucky do you really feel????

edwardm
04-26-2006, 6:47 AM
Sell them??? knowing my luck - these guns would have been stolen some time in the past (with out my friend even knowing) now the new seller might have more trouble than they want - You just never know.... so how lucky do you really feel????

Now that you've just said you have constructive knowledge that they might be stolen, and have said so in public, if they are stolen you just convicted yourself of possession of stolen property.

If I were you, I would write down all the serial numbers, and kindly ask a friendly LEO to run them through NCIC and AFS and make sure they come up clean. And if not, dump them in the ocean. If they ask why, tell them you've got offers for some PPT transfers and want to cover yourself.

FreedomIsNotFree
04-26-2006, 7:23 AM
Now that you've just said you have constructive knowledge that they might be stolen, and have said so in public, if they are stolen you just convicted yourself of possession of stolen property.

If I were you, I would write down all the serial numbers, and kindly ask a friendly LEO to run them through NCIC and AFS and make sure they come up clean. And if not, dump them in the ocean. If they ask why, tell them you've got offers for some PPT transfers and want to cover yourself.


I dont think LEO will do that unless you bring the actual firearm in to them in person....that way if it does come up stolen or there is some issue.....you get a pair of those lovely bracelets....:)

bwiese
04-26-2006, 7:31 AM
The stolen gun reference was NOT by the original poster.

If the guns came into your possession after Jan 1 91, they would've had to have been papered. If the guns were mfgd after this date that's clear & convincing that an illegal transfer did happen; if your friend papered those guns to himself after that date, it's the same thing. You likely have no idea of this so don't lie.

If the guns are otherwise legal (you know they're "clean" and are not illegal assault weapons) you should just go file a Voluntary Registration w/DOJ http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/index.html and pay $19/gun. I am not sure if you need to have an HSC or not (Handgun Safety Certificate; a gun dealer can test you and give the card to you for $25) but I think so.

I saw a letter from DOJ recently (it's somewhere on calgunlaws.com) to an attorney inquiring about such transfers and their later papering. I believe it was DOJ Firearms Div Asst. Dir. Tim Rieger that said such a registration could not be used to cause you legal problems due to self-incrimination issues, as long as no other illegalities were involved.

harley66
04-26-2006, 4:41 PM
[QUOTE=bwiese]The stolen gun reference was NOT by the original poster.


thanks bwiese - I was only stating a "what if" Its really a tough issue because "we" do not really know all the details... Having anyone run the numbers is really putting that "LEO" at risk - using the computers for personal use is Really Not good these days and if caught, ouch - and the last thing he wants is for one to get a "Hit" and have a bell go off somewhere - you never know who is looking or what is attached to a name or number. I have a very good friend {Leo} who ran a hard copy of his own lic and was written up for it,,, Ya, chicken **** by the Lt, but it happened... I say, if the weapons were pre 91, sit on them and keep quiet - or give them back to the family... if they are pre 91, who is to say the deal was not made then??

gymbo
04-26-2006, 5:27 PM
The stolen gun reference was NOT by the original poster.

If the guns came into your possession after Jan 1 91, they would've had to have been papered. If the guns were mfgd after this date that's clear & convincing that an illegal transfer did happen; if your friend papered those guns to himself after that date, it's the same thing. You likely have no idea of this so don't lie.

If the guns are otherwise legal (you know they're "clean" and are not illegal assault weapons) you should just go file a Voluntary Registration w/DOJ http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/index.html and pay $19/gun. I am not sure if you need to have an HSC or not (Handgun Safety Certificate; a gun dealer can test you and give the card to you for $25) but I think so.

I saw a letter from DOJ recently (it's somewhere on calgunlaws.com) to an attorney inquiring about such transfers and their later papering. I believe it was DOJ Firearms Div Asst. Dir. Tim Rieger that said such a registration could not be used to cause you legal problems due to self-incrimination issues, as long as no other illegalities were involved.
Original Poster,


If I understand you correctly, I should file the "Firearm Ownership Record" form? Assuming the handguns are clean, would there be a legit reason for transfer such as lack of a bill of sale?

One other small problem: One of the revolvers was owned by my friends brother who sadly took his own life. While on a visit from Texas, he left the gun to me because he decided to drive bach home, rather than fly, and did not want to travel with the gun by car. He did not need it . Guess what? No bill of sale either. Would there be a problem disclosing an out of California state gun?

Finally, to respond to the comment about returning the guns to my friends family, They are not fond of guns. Partly one of the reasons my buddy gave them to me for safe keeping, not to mention losing a family member to suicide by handgun. I would not want to cause them any more grief..

Thanks to all for some great advice. Great gun Forum!