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Old 01-04-2008, 5:54 PM
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Default The California ‘safe gun list’

The California ‘safe gun list’

(This thread is so-named because that is the colloquial name for the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale. )

Information is correct as of January, 2008; remember, the Legislature could change this at any time. The author is Not A Lawyer; for Real Legal Advice, consult a licensed California Attorney.
PC 12125. (a) Commencing January 1, 2001, any person in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state for sale, keeps for sale, offers or exposes for sale, gives, or lends any unsafe handgun shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year.
PC 12131. (a) On and after January 1, 2001, the Department of Justice shall compile, publish, and thereafter maintain a roster listing all of the pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person that have been tested by a certified testing laboratory, have been determined not to be unsafe handguns, and may be sold in this state pursuant to this title. The roster shall list, for each firearm, the manufacturer, model number, and model name.
Is the Roster even about safety?
No. The original intent was to put ‘Ring of Fire’ gun manufacturers out of business. Unfortunately for that intent, the guns – Davis, Lorcin, Bryco etc. – passed the tests.

It is also intended to establish the legislature’s ability to classify some guns as ‘bad’, and others as ‘less bad’. In this they have succeeded.
How does a gun get on the Roster?
A manufacturer or an importer (and ONLY those) submits a handgun for testing. They must supply THREE copies of the gun to be tested, and pay a fee. (PC 12130)

The gun must pass a defined firing requirement (PC 12127) and a drop safety test (PC 12128). It must also meet other requirements in effect at the time it is submitted for testing, currently a magazine disconnect and a loaded chamber indicator for semi-automatic handguns. (PC 12126(b)(5))
The Roster shows an expiration date; what is that for?
That means it is time for the manufacturer/importer to pay the annual $200 fee for that model. If the fee is paid, the handgun stays on the Roster. Nothing else has to happen. If the fee is paid, no new requirements apply after an expiration date.
What happens to a gun if the manufacturer/importer does not pay the fee?
The gun drops off the Roster. Ordinarily, this happens because the manufacturer no longer sells that model.

Sometimes there is an administrative reason a fee is not paid. In at least one case, a manufacturer was allowed to certify that the gun as manufactured at that time was identical to the gun as tested when put on the Roster, and the gun was just put back on. [ 11 CA ADC § 4070(e) ]
If a manufacturer stops paying the fee, can someone else pay to keep it on the list?
No. 11 CA ADC § 4059(c) and § 4071
(c) Other than the DOJ, only the manufacturer/importer of a handgun model is authorized to submit that handgun model to a DOJ-Certified Laboratory for testing.
The Legislature passed a new law about handguns (e.g. microstamping); what does that mean for guns on the Roster?
Unless the Legislature writes the law differently, nothing. Guns on the Roster are not affected by laws passed after the gun was listed; so far, the changes have been required only for guns not yet on the Roster and offered for testing to get on the Roster after the effective date of the law.
I don’t get it. Guns on the Roster don’t have to meet the new laws?
Right. Example: A Glock pistol was added to the Roster in 2001. Glock, Inc. continues to pay the annual fee.

Effective 2007, all semi-automatic handguns submitted for testing to get on the Roster must have both a magazine disconnect and a loaded-chamber indicator.

This requirement has no effect on guns already on the Roster, because the law is written as
(5) Commencing January 1, 2007, for all center fire semiautomatic pistols that are not already listed on the roster pursuant to Section 12131, it does not have both a chamber load indicator and if it has a detachable magazine, a magazine disconnect mechanism.
THEREFORE, the Glock does NOT need the magazine disconnect or loaded chamber indicator – it is already on the Roster, and the law is written to exclude guns already on the Roster.
Practically, what does it mean when a gun is NOT on the Roster, or a manufacturer lets one fall off the Roster?
California FFL dealers are not allowed to sell it to ‘civilians’ from dealer stock.
Huh? That’s it?

LEOs can buy them. Someone can move into California as a legal owner of one or many handguns not on the Roster and bring them into the state. Any California resident can transfer a non-Roster handgun to another California resident using Private Party Transfer. That has to happen at an FFL dealer, but the Roster does not apply to PPT.

Inherited guns and intra-family (within California only) transfers – which do not use FFLs – are exempt from being on the Roster. Out of state to CA intra-family gifts are also exempt from the Roster, even though they must go through an FFL.

Falling off the Roster does not make handguns illegal and certainly does not make them unsafe in any meaningful usage of the term.
Why can’t I buy ‘gun x’, not on the Roster, from Joe Smith, or even Joe Smith, FFL, when those folks are out of state?
Federal law requires interstate transfer to go to an FFL in the receiver’s state. [18 USC 922 (a)(3) and (a)(5)] If you live in California, you can’t receive a handgun from out of state unless you have an FFL – and an FFL cannot sell a non-Roster gun to a non-LEO.
What guns do NOT have to be on the Roster?
Firearms listed as curios or relics, as defined in Section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations. A list of Olympic target pistols, and
12133. (a) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to a single-action revolver that has at least a 5-cartridge capacity with a barrel length of not less than three inches, and meets any of the following specifications:
(1) Was originally manufactured prior to 1900 and is a curio or relic, as defined in Section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(2) Has an overall length measured parallel to the barrel of at least 71/2 inches when the handle, frame or receiver, and barrel are assembled.
(3) Has an overall length measured parallel to the barrel of at least 71/2 inches when the handle, frame or receiver, and barrel are assembled and that is currently approved for importation into the United States pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (3) of subsection (d) of Section 925 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

(b) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to a single-shot pistol with a barrel length of not less than six inches and that has an overall length of at least 101/2 inches when the handle, frame or receiver, and barrel are assembled.
Why is the ‘blue’ one on the Roster, and the ‘stainless’ one not?
Manufacturer’s choice. Every model sold by FFLs in California must be on the Roster and paid for, every year.

A manufacturer can save testing fees by certifying that one gun is different from another only in ‘minor’ attributes
12131.5. (a) A firearm shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of subdivision (a) of Section 12131 if another firearm made by the same manufacturer is already listed and the unlisted firearm differs from the listed firearm only in one or more of the following features:
(1) Finish, including, but not limited to, bluing, chrome-plating, oiling, or engraving.
(2) The material from which the grips are made.
(3) The shape or texture of the grips, so long as the difference in grip shape or texture does not in any way alter the dimensions, material, linkage, or functioning of the magazine well, the barrel, the chamber, or any of the components of the firing mechanism of the firearm.
(4) Any other purely cosmetic feature that does not in any way alter the dimensions, material, linkage, or functioning of the magazine well, the barrel, the chamber, or any of the components of the firing mechanism of the firearm.
but even those models must be added to the Roster.
Who’s responsible for this SNAFU?
It was SB15, in December of 1998 that started it.The bill went into effect January, 2001. The author was Senator Richard G. Polanco (D-Los Angeles). That bill created PC 12125.

There have been two major modifications since then: Senator Scott’s 2003 SB 489 for loaded chamber indicator/magazine disconnect, and Assembly Member Feuer’s 2007 AB 1471, microstamping.
[Carol Ann voice]The Legislature is baaa-ack .... [/Carol Ann voice]

There is no value at all complaining or analyzing or reading tea leaves to decide what these bills really mean or actually do; any bill with a chance to pass will be bad for gun owners.

The details only count after the Governor signs the bills.

Not a lawyer, just Some Guy On The Interwebs.

Last edited by Librarian; 04-27-2008 at 7:48 PM.. Reason: Add PPT ref

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