Under California’s Dealer’s Record of Sale (DROS) process, all firearm purchases and transfers must be made through a licensed gun dealer. This includes:
- private party transactions, and
- purchases at gun shows.
State law imposes a 10-day waiting period before a seller can release or transfer a gun to a buyer and allow that person to take gun ownership.
Per Penal Code 27510, a licensed dealer cannot do any of the following in relation to a person under the age of 21:
- sell a gun,
- supply a gun,
- deliver a gun,
- transfer a gun, or
- give possession or control of a gun.
Some exceptions to this rule apply. For example, a dealer can sell or transfer a gun to a person under 21, but over the age of 18, when,
- he/she possesses a valid hunting license,
- he/she is an active peace officer, and/or
- he/she is an active federal officer or law enforcement agent who is authorized to carry a firearm.
The DROS process requires purchasers to present a licensed dealer with clear evidenceof his/her age at the time of buying a gun. This evidence may include:
- a valid California driver’s license,
- a valid California identification card, and
- a military identification card with a copy of permanent duty station orders.
Purchasers of handguns also have to provide proof of California residency. This can be done by way of a:
- utility bill,
- residential lease,
- property deed, or
- government-issued ID.
Also, with handguns, note that there is no limit on the total number of handguns that a person can buy. However, most buyers cannot buy more than one handgun in any 30-day period.
Note that a “handgun” includes items like:
- semiautomatic pistols, and
- most firearms equipped with a pistol grip.
Please note that there are special relaxed rules for transferring firearms between family members in California.
Penal Code 26700 PC sets forth the requirements to be a licensed dealer of firearms. If a person satisfies all of the requirements, then he/she can become a licensed dealer.
Some of these requirements include that gun dealers:
- have a valid firearms license imposed under federal law,
- have any regulatory or business license, or licenses, required by local government, and
- have a valid seller’s permit issued by the State Board of Equalization.
Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on a purchaser prior to the sale of a firearm.
Note that all California licensed dealers have to be “federally licensed firearms dealers.” This means they are all required to perform background checks.
See California’s Bureau of Firearms’ website for any new laws regarding when DOJ must complete a background check during COVID-19.
Federal law prohibits a person from acquiring or possessing a gun if he/she:
- has been convicted of certain crimes, or
- is subject to a court order related to domestic violence or a serious mental condition.
Penal Code 26500 makes it a misdemeanor to sell, lease, or transfer a gun without a license.
Violators face up to:
- one year in county jail, and/or
- a maximum fine of $1,000.
A person can register a gun in California by completing and submitting a Firearm Ownership Report (FOR) Application. A completed report is an owner’s declaration that he/she is the gun’s true owner.
A FOR Application is not required for most guns/gun owners under the State’s firearm laws. Firearms get registered by a gun dealer during the sale of a firearm.
Gun registration, though, is required when a person is moving into California and owns a firearm.
M., D. (2022, March 27). California gun laws 2022 – your top 12 questions answered. Shouse Law Group. Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/defense/gun-laws/