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View Full Version : Can a non-resident of california sell a gun privately in california?


sonnebak
05-18-2012, 1:26 AM
My neighbor, a california resident, died owning some guns. His trustee is an illinois resident and is in california to settle the estate. Can the trustee, who is not a california resident, sell the guns to a private party in california? He tried to do so through a local gun dealer, and was told he couldn't sell guns privately in california because he is not a resident.

Is this correct? It seems odd, since it doesn't seem any different from the illinois resident selling the guns to the california gun dealer and then having the gun dealer sell them to the lawful california buyer. If anybody knows, do you know of any web page or other document that talks about this?

I'm not talking about doing anything the slightest bit improper, I'm just trying to find out if the illinois resident trustee can legally sell the guns in california.

Thanks.

bwiese
05-18-2012, 1:52 AM
He should represent himself as the executor of the Californian's estate.

Now, the FFL may not want to buy 'dead' guns that are not on the Roster, because he can't really sell them to Californians.

Note that if someone is willed/bequested a gun and receives it directly from the estate, an FFL is not required under both CA and Fed law. (If the guns are just being liquidated for the estate, that's a different matter.)

sonnebak
05-18-2012, 4:00 AM
Thanks, Bill, for the reply.

I'm confused what you mean by
"the FFL may not want to buy 'dead' guns that are not on the Roster, because he can't really sell them to Californians."

The guns were bought in California by the now deceased man at a local gun store in the last 10-12 years or so. There is nothing unusual or improper about the guns. Could you tell me what you meant by the statement? Thanks.

aklover_91
05-18-2012, 5:59 AM
Thanks, Bill, for the reply.

I'm confused what you mean by
"the FFL may not want to buy 'dead' guns that are not on the Roster, because he can't really sell them to Californians."

The guns were bought in California by the now deceased man at a local gun store in the last 10-12 years or so. There is nothing unusual or improper about the guns. Could you tell me what you meant by the statement? Thanks.

If they've fallen off the approved handgun roster or were never on it a dealer can only sell them to cops and out of state buyers, so they could be reluctant to purchase them.

HowardW56
05-18-2012, 6:31 AM
He should represent himself as the executor of the Californian's estate.

:iagree:

An FFL may require evidence of him being the Executor, Probate documents, etc....

You didn't say what area this is in, there are FFL's who deal with probate/estates often...

If you're in the Los Angeles area, send me a PM...

fiddletown
05-18-2012, 8:30 AM
I'm not sure that there's a simple answer. Some complicating factors:

[1] The OP calls the fellow trying to sell the guns "the trustee." That suggests that the decedent set up an inter vivos trust as an estate planning tool (common enough). That also means that there is no executor or probate. Rather, the trustee is the legal owner of the decedent's property (with the decedent having had equitable ownership under the trust during his life).

[2] That means that the trustee, a resident of Illinois, is the legal owner of the guns.

[3] And since it looks like the trustee was trying to sell the guns outright to a dealer, as others have mentioned if any are off-roster handguns the guns won't be very marketable for the dealer.

[4] As long as the sale goes through a California FFL, the trustee should be able to sell guns privately to "end users", just as any non-resident can sell a gun to a California resident through an FFL. It's not considered a PPT and so the fees the FFL can charges are limited. And there is still the problem of off-roster handguns.

[5] Can the trustee simply collect the guns and take them back to Illinois? I don't know. With the trustee being the legal owner through a trust, I'm not sure the the interstate transfer exceptions of 18 USC 922(a)(3) and 922(a)(5) ("by bequest or intestate succession") would apply.

[6] I'm not planning to do any research on this because I don't want to put myself in the position of looking like the OP's lawyer.

[7] So I think the trustee with need the help of a qualified lawyer and do the research necessary. Some discussions with the DOJ might also be in order, and it would be best if those were handled by the trustee's lawyer. The good news for the trustee is that the legal fees are probably payable out of the trust estate -- if there's enough money or property there.

LOW2000
05-18-2012, 12:42 PM
Thanks, Bill, for the reply.

I'm confused what you mean by
"the FFL may not want to buy 'dead' guns that are not on the Roster, because he can't really sell them to Californians."

The guns were bought in California by the now deceased man at a local gun store in the last 10-12 years or so. There is nothing unusual or improper about the guns. Could you tell me what you meant by the statement? Thanks.

Selling them to an FFL who later resells them to someone else is different than a face to face PPT through the FFL.

The PPT would permit a transfer of off-roster guns, the sale to the FFL who later sells them to someone else, would not permit the transfer of the off-roster gun to anyone but exempt persons (or conversion to a SSE).

4DSJW
05-18-2012, 3:12 PM
I'm not sure that there's a simple answer. Some complicating factors:

[2] That means that the trustee, a resident of Illinois, is the legal owner of the guns.



Are you sure about this? Why wouldn't the firearms be considered the property of the CA estate of the deceased?

If you are correct that means that the sale of any of the firearms would have to be treated as an out of state transfer, which could still be done face-to-face through a CA FFL as long as any handguns are on the roster. As you said, transfer fees would apply, not PPT fees.

As everyone else has said, a CA FFL will not be very interested in anything that they cannot easily sell, handguns not on the roster, rifles and shotguns should be OK.

mrdd
05-18-2012, 3:42 PM
Are you sure about this? Why wouldn't the firearms be considered the property of the CA estate of the deceased?

As fiddletown explained, the OP said the person was acting as "trustee". That implies a trust, and that the firearms are titled to the trustee under the terms of the trust. If the OP really meant that the person was the executor of the decedent estate and there was no trust, then yes, the firearms would be personal property of the decedent estate.

4DSJW
05-18-2012, 4:38 PM
As fiddletown explained, the OP said the person was acting as "trustee". That implies a trust, and that the firearms are titled to the trustee under the terms of the trust. If the OP really meant that the person was the executor of the decedent estate and there was no trust, then yes, the firearms would be personal property of the decedent estate.

Excellent, thank you for clearing up the difference between the two. Most of us average Joe's don't really know that there is even a difference to be aware of in many cases and that is what gets people into trouble.

vincewarde
05-18-2012, 5:48 PM
If you want to buy a gun from a visiting out of state resident it can be done thusly:

1) The out of state visitor sells the gun to an FFL

2) The FFL then sells the gun to you in a completely separate transaction.

Obviously any handguns would have to be "on roster" or exempt.

Yes, you may have to pay more, and it really helps to be on very good terms with the FFL.

CHS
05-18-2012, 7:43 PM
The problem lies with the DROS system. Legally, i.e. according to the law, the seller of a PPT firearm DOES NOT have to be a resident of CA, they only must use a CA FFL in order to accomplish the sale. However, the CA DROS software DOES NOT allow for a non-resident ID to be entered so non-residents are effectively banned from selling firearms to residents inside CA as PPT's.

The only way to do this is to transfer the firearm to the FFL who then transfers it to the buyer, but at that point the roster comes into play.

Basically, the DROS software is enforcing an illegal underground regulation.