New Gun Owners and FAQ
As a new gun owner, please review the typical questions and answers below regarding firearm transfer, ownership and more. Congratulations on your first firearm purchase (or future purchase) and welcome to the convoluted world of firearms law. Hopefully once becoming a responsible gun owner you will view these CA gun laws as arbitrary and irrelevant and realize that they do nothing more than restrict responsible gun owners from owning firearms. Please note that the text below does not constitute legal advice. This is our interpretation and laws frequently change and interpretations differ. Please consult with an attorney.
1. HOW DO I PURCHASE A GUN IN CA?
There are several requirements to purchasing a firearm in California. You must be a CA resident and legally reside in the US. To transfer a firearm you need to provide the following documents:
a. Valid CA driver's license or ID.
i. If license says "Federal Limits Apply" on the front, upper right, you also need to provide a valid US Passport, Passport Card, Birth Certificate or Permanent Resident Card.
ii. If residence address is not current on license or shows P.O. Box, you also need to provide a GOVERNMENT document with period of validity, such as vehicle registration or GOVERNMENT utility bill (typically water bill only) or voter registration card.
b. Firearm Safety Card.
i. Firearm safety card is valid for five years. We need it to make a copy. If you dont have one or yours has expired, you can take the test at our shop right before we begin the transfer process of your firearm. The test covers basic firearm safety and CA firearm law. See the CA DOJ study guide here: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/forms/hscsg.pdf
c. Proof of CA residency (Handgun purchases)
i. CA requires a second proof of residency. This can be any utility bill for services at your residence from the past three months, i.e. electricity, cable, etc. (not cellphone), a signed lease agreement or current government issued license other than CA driver's license or ID, i.e. CCW, FFL, COE, etc. There are other documents accepted but these are the common ones.
2. DOES AB PROTOTYPE SELL GUNS?
Yes, we sell firearms in our store, through our website and using various online marketplaces such as Gunbroker. We can order most firearms from one of our many distributors and receive it within a timely matter.
3. CAN I PURCHASE A GUN ONLINE? HOW DOES THAT WORK?
Yes, firearms can legally be purchased online. The purchaser buys the firearm thru an online dealer or distributor who sends the firearm to a dealer (Federal Firearms Licensee, FFL) for transfer. Once the firearm is received by the FFL, the purchaser arrives at the FFL for the transfer of the firearm. It's the transferring FFL's responsibility to fulfill the State/Federal requirements for the transfer. Firearms cannot be shipped directly to the purchaser. Curio & Relic (C&R) license holders are able to receive C&R firearms directly in some states (not CA).
4. WHEN DOES THE 10-DAY WAIT START?
The required CA 10-day wait for all firearm purchases starts as soon as we submit the DROS (dealer record of sale) to CA DOJ. This can only be submitted once the firearm(s) and purchaser are at the shop to fill out paperwork.
5. WHAT KIND OF HANDGUN CAN I BUY IN CA?
California is very specific regarding which handguns can be sold by CA dealers (FFL). CA has a handgun roster that consists of specifically named models or variants of handguns that have fulfilled the "overbearing" safety requirements. Current requirements to be on the list include, but not limited to microstamping (currently not possible with modern technology), magazine disconnect, loaded chamber indicator, specific drop-safe requirements and annual fees.
a. See the handgun roster here: https://www.oag.ca.gov/firearms/certified-handguns/search We cannot transfer handguns not found on this list.
b. Exceptions to this list include gifts from out of state family (generational only! child, parent, grandparent), Private Party Transfers, Law Enforcement, FFLs, C&R handguns. Private party transfers occur between to CALIFORNIA residents at the same FFL.
6. WHAT KIND OF RIFLE CAN I BUY IN CA?
You can purchase any CA-legal rifle. Rifles must have a barrel 16" or over and be greater than 30" length for centerfire calibers or 26" for rimfire calibers. Additionally, centerfire caliber, semi-auto rifles with detachable magazines (i.e. AR-15 variants, Mini-14, M1A and others) may not have CA "evil features" such as pistol grip, vertical forward grip, flash hider, thumbhole stock, etc. Fixed magazine rifles may have these features in most cases. CA also has an assault weapons list that includes rifles that are banned by name. There is no way to make these rifles compliant as they are listed and the name of the rifle cannot be changed (i.e. Colt AR-15, Bushmaster XM-15, Norinco AK-47. etc.). We cannot convert "assault weapons" to be CA compliant. These rifles must be compliant before entering the state.
Lower receivers are also legal to transfer. A stripped or assembled receiver is not a semi-auto rifle so "assault weapons" regulations do not apply to the receiver itself, but must be followed upon assembly.
7. WHAT KIND OF SHOTGUN CAN I BUY IN CA?
You can purchase any CA-legal shotgun. Shotguns must have a barrel 18" or over and be greater than 26" length. Additionally, semi-auto shotguns may not have detachable magazines (i.e. Saiga 12, etc.) or a combination of pistol grip with collapsible stock. Pump shotgun features are virtually unrestricted as long as overall length and barrel length are maintained. CA also has a list of shotguns banned by name (i.e. Franchi SPAS-12, Striker 12, etc.).
8. CAN I PURCHASE A NON-CA LEGAL FIREARM AND HAVE YOU CONVERT IT TO BE CA LEGAL?
No, we cannot convert CA "assault weapons" to be CA legal. The firearm must be state compliant before entering the state.
9. CAN MY FAMILY MEMBER TRANSFER A GUN TO ME?
This depends on several factors. In almost all situations the transfer must occur at a CA FFL (firearms dealer). Exception is generational family gift within California. All firearms transferred must be CA-legal.
a. If the seller/gifter is an out-of-state FAMILY MEMBER (NOT DIRECT PARENT, GRANDPARENT OR CHILD) they can only transfer a CA-legal long gun (rifle or shotgun) or a handgun that is on the CA handgun roster.
b. If the gifter is an out-of-state DIRECT PARENT, GRANDPARENT OR CHILD they can transfer any CA-legal handgun or long gun (rifle or shotgun). High-capacity magazines cannot be transferred. Transfer must go thru an FFL.
c. If the gifter is an CA resident and DIRECT PARENT, GRANDPARENT OR CHILD they can transfer any CA-legal handgun or long gun (rifle or shotgun). Transfer thru an FFL is not required, but must submit the CA DOJ Intrafamiliar Firearm Transaction Form.
10. CAN MY FRIEND TRANSFER A GUN TO ME?
This depends on several factors. In all situations the transfer must occur at a CA FFL (firearms dealer). All firearms transferred must be CA-legal.
a. If the seller is an out-of-state FRIEND they can only transfer a CA-legal long gun (rifle or shotgun) or a handgun that is on the CA handgun roster.
b. If the seller is a CA resident and they will be sending the firearm to the FFL for transfer they can transfer a CA-legal long gun (rifle or shotgun) or a handgun that is on the CA handgun roster.
c. If the seller is a CA resident and they will meet you at the FFL for transfer they can transfer any CA-legal handgun or long gun (rifle or shotgun). The handgun does not have to be on the CA Handgun Roster.
PLEASE NOTE THAT NO STATEMENTS MADE ABOVE CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVISE. ALWAYS CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY CONCERNING LEGAL MATTERS.