License for California used gun transfer?
September 7, 2010 8:50 PM   Subscribe

California filter: Do I need a license if someone just wants to gift me a gun?

I know I need a license if I purchase a gun (have to show it to the gun store where I pick up the gun). But my dad wants me to give me one of his guns and I'll just keep it at home (maybe shoot it at a range once a year). Do I need a license for it? Also, do I need the original registration/purchase papers for the gun my dad wants to give me? If it's an older gun he may not have them anymore. Thanks!
posted by KimikoPi to Law & Government (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What kind of gun is it?

I don't think you need any kind of license for rifles or shotguns, for handguns you just need to have passed the written handgun safety test.
posted by atrazine at 8:56 PM on September 7, 2010

NRA summary of gun laws in CA
posted by atrazine at 9:01 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I assume this is a pistol or rifle? If you own it, you need a license. Is it coming to you from out of state? If so, there are additional and perhaps surprisingly complex rules you must follow in order to legally receive the weapon. Here's one discussion I found about this.

Disclaimer: all I know about this is from searching, rather than first-hand knowledge
posted by zippy at 12:30 AM on September 8, 2010

Sorry, strike "or rifle" above.
posted by zippy at 12:31 AM on September 8, 2010

Depends on the gun. Handgun recipients need a Handgun Safety Certificate. ONLY.

Permits are for purchase, not ownership.
posted by FauxScot at 5:15 AM on September 8, 2010

There is no such thing as a gun license in CA.

Rifles and shotguns you don't need to do anything at all.

Pistols require registration, which in turn will require a Handgun Safety Certificate which is a 30-ish question written test.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:53 PM on September 8, 2010

BTW -- if you wanted to _sell_ a rifle or shotgun to someone, you do have to go through a firearms dealer. However, parent/child transfers are exempt from this. And you can bring a gun you own into the state without registering as long as it's not concealable (basically a hangun, but I'm not sure where something like an SMG would fall).
posted by wildcrdj at 12:57 PM on September 8, 2010

My grandfather passed away last year and left me a Smith & Wesson .38 special. I went to my local firing range and they gave me this form that basically transferred the title from him to me. I filled it out (all I needed was the make, model and serial number - no proof or original paperwork), sent it in with a check for $19 and a few weeks later I got back a letter from the state that said that the gun was now registered to me and not him. He lived in Ohio and I live in LA, FYI.

I take it to the firing range every so often, but don't have any other registrations or certificates and have never had any problems. If you do have more questions, though, I'd hit the nearest range and ask. In LA, I go to LAX Firing Range down by the airport, because they were really nice and helpful to me when I started going there as a total newbie, but a google search will turn up a number of reputable places.

Once I have more time I will most likely take a class and/or get certified, but in the meantime I'm not worried the ATF is going to break down my door in the middle of the night.

Have fun shooting!
posted by buzzkillington at 6:55 PM on September 8, 2010

Both of you should be able to walk into a firearm dealer and complete the transaction in person.
posted by drstein at 9:53 AM on September 9, 2010

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