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View Full Version : Hypothetical: Registered pistol whose registration was destroyed?


OleCuss
08-11-2010, 12:16 PM
Let us assume (for the sake of discussion) that someone purchased a pistol in 1986 and as part of the purchase process at that time the pistol was legally registered.

Now as it turns out, this hypothetical pistol is one of those whose registration was destroyed some years ago. This means that the State of Kalifornia has no record of the registration even though the hypothetical purchaser did legally register the firearm.

Is there any legal obligation for the hypothetical pistol owner to once again register the pistol which she/he registered years ago?

I know that if one were to wish to CCW the hypothetical firearm that one would have to register the pistol.

corrupt
08-11-2010, 12:18 PM
I have "heard" that if an officer takes your pistol and confiscates it, if it is not "registered" in your name, you will not get it back.

BKinzey
08-11-2010, 12:27 PM
How will they prove the pistol was registered and the registration was destroyed?

GrizzlyGuy
08-11-2010, 12:31 PM
I know that if one were to wish to CCW the hypothetical firearm that one would have to register the pistol.

I don't believe that is true. 12050 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12050.html) does not require your CCW pistol to be registered. There was a thread discussing this in the past few weeks and I think the right people (Gene?) confirmed that in the thread.

OleCuss
08-11-2010, 12:35 PM
How will they prove the pistol was registered and the registration was destroyed?

Aye, there's the rub. The hypothetical owner fully complied with the law and because of the State's failure to maintain proper records the hypothetical owner loses the property which she/he did, in fact, register?

bwiese
08-11-2010, 12:36 PM
No need to reregister.

But this could cause drama in an "unpapered CCW" situation. Remember that illegal CCW of an unregistered gun is likely charged as a felony, but if the gun is reg'd to you it's likely to be charged as misdemeanor (as long as no other drama or "color").

The problem is that I seem to recall the law being worded (approximately; I don't have it at hand) for the CCW charge reduction "if the handgun appears in the DROS database" - as opposed to "the handgun was properly registered by owner" etc.

OleCuss
08-11-2010, 12:37 PM
I don't believe that is true. 12050 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12050.html) does not require your CCW pistol to be registered. There was a thread discussing this in the past few weeks and I think the right people (Gene?) confirmed that in the thread.

Local sheriff won't let you CCW the thing unless it is registered and in the system where they can look it up.

OleCuss
08-11-2010, 12:39 PM
No need to reregister.

But this could cause drama in an "unpapered CCW" situation. Remember that illegal CCW of an unregistered gun is likely charged as a felony, but if the gun is reg'd to you it's likely to be charged as misdemeanor (as long as no other drama or "color").

The problem is that I seem to recall the law being worded (approximately; I don't have it at hand) for the CCW charge reduction "if the handgun appears in the DROS database" - as opposed to "the handgun was properly registered by owner" etc.

Thank you. I think I still have to digest this in somewhat more detail.

I'd guess you know that the destruction of records is not hypothetical at all and that a lot of records from the mid to late 1980's were, in fact, destroyed.

wildhawker
08-11-2010, 12:41 PM
Local sheriff won't let you CCW the thing unless it is registered and in the system where they can look it up.

This is an illegal policy. We are aware and are working to correct.

If the Sheriff will not accept an unreg'ed handgun, tell them to say so in writing and scan us a copy.

-Brandon

CSACANNONEER
08-11-2010, 12:43 PM
There was no "registration" in 1986. Hell, in California, it was legal to buy a handgun from a dealer and resell it the next day at a garage sale or from a newspaper add without any paperwork at all. So, there are many of LEGAL unregistered hanguns in California which were purchased prior to 1991. Of course, there are legal unregistered handguns in California that were homebuilt last week too.

Vox
08-11-2010, 12:43 PM
I have "heard" that if an officer takes your pistol and confiscates it, if it is not "registered" in your name, you will not get it back.

When my friends and I were harassed by the SBcoSD two months back my friend was carrying a pistol that was registered to no one and when the cops ran all the serials they asked him some questions about the lack of registration but there was no MORE undue fuss about that.

Caveat: The firearm in question was a Walther P-38 I'm not sure if that counts as C&R but I also don't know if that matters.

Fjold
08-11-2010, 12:48 PM
Local sheriff won't let you CCW the thing unless it is registered and in the system where they can look it up.

Kern County doesn't do that.

OleCuss
08-11-2010, 12:49 PM
There was no "registration" in 1986. Hell, in California, it was legal to buy a handgun from a dealer and resell it the next day at a garage sale or from a newspaper add without any paperwork at all. So, there are many of LEGAL unregistered hanguns in California which were purchased prior to 1991. Of course, there are legal unregistered handguns in California that were homebuilt last week too.

I don't want to argue with you too much (I'm not a guru on this topic), but I'm pretty sure that if there were a new purchase of pistol from a firearms dealer in California in 1986 that the thing got registered.

alex00
08-11-2010, 12:51 PM
No need to reregister.

But this could cause drama in an "unpapered CCW" situation. Remember that illegal CCW of an unregistered gun is likely charged as a felony, but if the gun is reg'd to you it's likely to be charged as misdemeanor (as long as no other drama or "color").

The problem is that I seem to recall the law being worded (approximately; I don't have it at hand) for the CCW charge reduction "if the handgun appears in the DROS database" - as opposed to "the handgun was properly registered by owner" etc.

I think this is the portion of the law you are thinking about;

12025 (B) The person is not listed with the Department of Justice
pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 11106, as the
registered owner of that pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable
of being concealed upon the person.

Donny1
08-11-2010, 1:04 PM
"if the handgun appears in the DROS database" - as opposed to "the handgun was properly registered by owner"

I'm not following what you mean here. Are there two types of registration?

I recently self registered (which I got flamed here for doing, thank you) a revolver that I got I 1986 in an attemp to CYA in any future situations. Is this different than the DROS proccess?

OleCuss
08-11-2010, 1:10 PM
This is an illegal policy. We are aware and are working to correct.

If the Sheriff will not accept an unreg'ed handgun, tell them to say so in writing and scan us a copy.

-Brandon

I may try that. But would it be possible to get a copy of the relevant law (or just direct me to it) so I could actually bring that to the sheriff and suggest he change his policy? Our sheriff is not glorious on the 2A but he's generally pretty reasonable so I'd rather not bludgeon him if gentle persuasion will work.

But then again, it may be a silly to press the issue over a hypothetical. . . But the principle of the thing does matter.

paul0660
08-11-2010, 1:10 PM
dros means dealers record of sale, self registering is different, but they end up being the same...registered to you.

CHS
08-11-2010, 1:11 PM
I don't want to argue with you too much (I'm not a guru on this topic), but I'm pretty sure that if there were a new purchase of pistol from a firearms dealer in California in 1986 that the thing got registered.

You would be wrong on that matter.

Registration wasn't required until 1991 via the DROS system. Prior to then any handguns you bought were not registered.

mej16489
08-11-2010, 1:13 PM
Local sheriff won't let you CCW the thing unless it is registered and in the system where they can look it up.

That's not universally true. I have two legally owned but 'unregistered' guns on my CCW.

...which I suppose sortof registers them... :TFH:

Donny1
08-11-2010, 1:17 PM
dros means dealers record of sale, self registering is different, but they end up being the same...registered to you.

That's what I thought.

CSACANNONEER
08-11-2010, 1:20 PM
I don't want to argue with you too much (I'm not a guru on this topic), but I'm pretty sure that if there were a new purchase of pistol from a firearms dealer in California in 1986 that the thing got registered.

There has been some form of DROS in effect since the 20's(???) or around then but, that's it. Since there was no requirement to record any private transfers after that, can you really cal it "registration"? I'll agree that there was a California Dealer Record Of Sale of some sort but, INHO, it would not hold much weight in a court of law since FTF sales were legal and normal to do at that time. The bottom line is that the gun does not need to be "re-registered" now. It is perfectly legal the way it is unless, the owner is planning on illegally CCWing it. If that is the case, get it registered.

joedogboy
08-11-2010, 1:27 PM
There was no "registration" in 1986. Hell, in California, it was legal to buy a handgun from a dealer and resell it the next day at a garage sale or from a newspaper add without any paperwork at all. So, there are many of LEGAL unregistered hanguns in California which were purchased prior to 1991. Of course, there are legal unregistered handguns in California that were homebuilt last week too.

There was, in fact, firearms registration in California in 1986 (and prior to that year, as well).
When firearms registration was truly voluntary, you could make an appointment at your local PD, and bring in your firearms to be inspected and registered. The PD then had a record, and would know that any intruder into your home might be armed (officer safety), and the firearms owner got the peace of mind of being assured that their legally owned firearms would be returned to them if they ever came into the hands of any government agency or employee.

>In some cases, firearms registration was mandatory - for example,military personnel living on base/in the barracks have long been required to register their privately owned weapons with the installation authorities.

It seems that the CA DOJ collected registration information from local LEAs at one or more points in time, but decided not to enter this information into the database.

When I had two firearms stolen in a burglary a few years ago, the local police were unable to find any record in the DOJ database for those firearms being mine, or registered to me. One was purchased in the state, the other out of state. Both had been registered with the local PD in my parents home town (within the same county where the burglary took place) in Dec of 1994 - as evidenced by a signed "inventory and registration" sheet.

joedogboy
08-11-2010, 1:31 PM
I personally regard this as a scam to get gun owners to pay to re-register firearms that they have already registered once (or multiple times, in some cases).

It is a tax levied against firearms owners in order to create a chilling effect on firearms ownership and exercise of 2A rights - it is clearly designed primarily to infringe on the citizen's right to keep and bear arms.

bwiese
08-11-2010, 1:39 PM
I don't want to argue with you too much (I'm not a guru on this topic), but I'm pretty sure that if there were a new purchase of pistol from a firearms dealer in California in 1986 that the thing got registered.

Yes, true, but...

- folks could paperless transfer, without FFL, handguns/longguns til 1991
- folks moving into CA with handguns didn't have to register til 1998.

thayne
08-11-2010, 2:03 PM
You would be wrong on that matter.

Registration wasn't required until 1991 via the DROS system. Prior to then any handguns you bought were not registered.

I dont know about that.

I bought a handgun in 1987 (new from a dealer) and years later while testifying in a trial the opposing lawyer asked me about my handgun and if I was carrying it while I had his client under investigation.

There's no way he could possible know about it unless it was, in fact, registered and the only way it could possibly have been registered is when I bought it.

Californio
08-11-2010, 2:41 PM
I remember filing out little multipart California Forms in the late 1970's early 1980's for new Pistols, have no idea what Sacramento did with the paper during the waiting period, trying to press hard through all the copies was a pain. One reason why I bought a new piece several years ago for HD, so it would be in their computer. PPT of all Firearms was without paperwork in those days.

CSACANNONEER
08-11-2010, 3:57 PM
I dont know about that.

I bought a handgun in 1987 (new from a dealer) and years later while testifying in a trial the opposing lawyer asked me about my handgun and if I was carrying it while I had his client under investigation.

There's no way he could possible know about it unless it was, in fact, registered and the only way it could possibly have been registered is when I bought it.

How would an attorney be able to access state records without a warrant? I'm going to guess that he found out some other way.

OleCuss
08-11-2010, 4:17 PM
How would an attorney be able to access state records without a warrant? I'm going to guess that he found out some other way.

I'd guess he could have gotten a warrant and searched the pistol owner and his property? Maybe put surveillance equipment in his home?

Or maybe went to a friendly LEO who accessed the records and told the attorney that he had purchased that particular pistol. . . This one just seems more likely. But then, since it sounds like there were court proceedings underway it could be that there was a fairly general discovery in which the attorney had formal permission to do a background check and see what information was available in the state records regarding an investigator?

thayne
08-11-2010, 4:28 PM
How would an attorney be able to access state records without a warrant? I'm going to guess that he found out some other way.

I have no idea, but he named it by make and model. It had absolutely nothing to do with the case. my side objected and it was sustained on relevance so that was the end of it. The only way he could have known about it was if it were registered, so that means the state was registering handguns in 1987

AJAX22
08-11-2010, 4:32 PM
I had two unregistered pistols confiscated as part of a raid on a house I was renting a room in (totally unrelated to me)

They refused to believe the pistols were mine, and forced me to fill out transfer paperwork from the 'actual owner' who was the subject of the warrent.

So it cost me money an my previously unregistered hand ejector snub nose and pre war rare woodsman became registered.

BKinzey
08-11-2010, 4:32 PM
I dont know about that.

I bought a handgun in 1987 (new from a dealer) and years later while testifying in a trial the opposing lawyer asked me about my handgun and if I was carrying it while I had his client under investigation.

There's no way he could possible know about it unless it was, in fact, registered and the only way it could possibly have been registered is when I bought it.

Did he know or did he make a guess? If he only referred to your gun in general terms he could have been fishing for information.

thayne
08-11-2010, 4:35 PM
Did he know or did he make a guess? If he only referred to your gun in general terms he could have been fishing for information.

He knew the make and model. There's now way he could have been fishing or guessing. Its not a common make and it was a personal handgun, never used for work.

Librarian
08-11-2010, 8:18 PM
Actually 4 kinds of 'registration' - DROS, as noted, since 1923, Personal Handgun Importer, Operation of Law and Voluntary Registration.

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

Wherryj
08-12-2010, 12:25 PM
Thank you. I think I still have to digest this in somewhat more detail.

I'd guess you know that the destruction of records is not hypothetical at all and that a lot of records from the mid to late 1980's were, in fact, destroyed.

How would someone know if their records had been destroyed?

CSACANNONEER
08-12-2010, 12:32 PM
He knew the make and model. There's now way he could have been fishing or guessing. Its not a common make and it was a personal handgun, never used for work.

Had you taken it out to a range recently? Could someone have been following you? Could you have told someone about it and they told the attorney? If not, he might have been able to access the old DROS info but, he would have no way of knowing if you had sold it before '91. So, he was just fishing and, it sounds like, you took the bait.

ojisan
08-12-2010, 8:33 PM
I have not previously heard of handgun registrations being destroyed.
Can someone please fill me in on the details?

OleCuss
08-12-2010, 9:55 PM
I have not previously heard of handgun registrations being destroyed.
Can someone please fill me in on the details?

When I was talking to our sheriff's department they talked about how some registrations were destroyed years ago. I believe it was due to a fire but I could easily be mis-remembering.

CSACANNONEER
08-13-2010, 10:21 AM
Sometimes floods, fires, etc. do destroy paperwork. It's been know to happen to boxes of 4473s just before a gunstore closes for good. So, it could happen to boxes of paperwork held at government offices too.

joedogboy
08-13-2010, 1:52 PM
I have been told by the local PD that local registration records are periodically collected by the state - who apparently do not enter them into a database or otherwise maintain them for use when the citizen who registered the firearms needs to prove ownership.