View Full Version : Legal handgun transfer help needed

01-14-2011, 4:05 AM
I'm probably being way too cautious but have a question about legal handgun transfer...I've looked at the California regs and can't seem to find an answer there so thought I'd ask here.

I am talking with a man that purchased an older (but not C and R) handgun some years ago from an old man (sort of like me) and no dealer involvement, DROS, or any form of registration took place (all happened in California). He has offered me the gun and I'd like to buy it. I'm really cautious about staying within the law and the "seller" is also concerned.

If there is no record of the transaction between him and the man that sold him the gun how can he legally sell it to me? Does he need to do a DROS or some other form of registration to get it into his name? Can he just sell it to me and I do a DROS and have everything be ok? Several people have told him to just go ahead and sell it to me with me doing the proper paperwork..others have said just sell it to me and don't worry about any paperwork... but again, don't know if that's a legal transaction. I know there are lots of folks that would jump at the chance to buy a gun that is not recorded anywhere but I'm not that guy.

Any help would be much appreciated as I'd really like to own the gun

01-14-2011, 4:24 AM
You should be fine going through the normal channels, there's no "chain of title" or anything needed. As long as he purchased the pistol before 1991, he didn't break the law, anyway. If he broke the law when he purchased or imported it, it's not going to come up unless you guys bring it up - and even then I'd be surprised if the dealer would care.

There's no obligation under law that a pistol be registered - it's just that, since 1991, most handgun transfers have required registration in order to be lawful. But, there's no presumption that a handgun has to be registered to be legal, or that any given handgun will be registered. I own several unregistered handguns, myself, because I moved into the state before you were required to register your handguns when you move in. It would be perfectly OK for me to sell you one of these handguns, even though they've never been registered or DROSsed.

The process is, you both go to the gun store and tell them you want to do a person-to-person transfer. They'll DROS you, and I believe (I've never done it), the dealer has to hang onto the handgun for ten days for the "waiting period". I think you'll also need to have a Handgun Safety Certificate. The dealer will charge you a fee that is not supposed to exceed $35 (though some dealers like to bend this rule). Ten days later, you pick up your handgun, and the transfer is complete.

That's all there is to it. There's no complex system of registry to make sure your friend was following the law. And, if he moved here in the '90s, or bought the pistol before '91, or received it during certain inter-family transfers (depending on timing) he may not even have violated the law, to begin with. Regardless, as long as he was 21 or older in 1991, and the handgun is older than that, it'd be pretty darn hard to prove, anyway - to say nothing of the fact that the statute of limitations is almost certainly over.

01-14-2011, 10:32 AM
Yes - 10-day wait is required.

01-14-2011, 11:32 AM
I knew the wait was required, I just wasn't sure if it had to be in the dealer's safe (though I couldn't imagine how else you'd do it).