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Old November 6, 2012, 06:46 PM   #1
mjm29287
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Join Date: November 4, 2012
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Transferring Ownership in CA

My who uncle who passed away earlier this year wanted me to have his S&W 686-2. He made this known to my family and my Aunt obliged and now I physically have the gun. But no paperwork or transfer of ownership took place before he died. Does anyone know what I have to do to become the legal owner of this gun in CA? I've tried to do some research about this on my own but found unclear and sometimes conflicting info. I also could not find this gun in Roster of Certified Firearms, found the 686-6 but thats it. A few people have told me that its not a big deal to have this gun registered in my name, just dont do anything no range will ever ask about it. Does anyone know what I have to do for get this gun registered in my name???
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Old November 6, 2012, 07:37 PM   #2
WW2
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get to an FFL

Do the transfer of ownership paperwork, pay the fees, do a DROS, wait 10 days while they keep the gun. Pick it up when all is approved.

It seems to be just like buying a new handgun in California.

I discovered this when wanting to transfer a gun to my Son-in-Law
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Old November 6, 2012, 07:49 PM   #3
sigcurious
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Is your aunt a CA resident?
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Old November 7, 2012, 12:56 AM   #4
Samuel2011
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Go online to the california DOJ site and download the PDF file for a voluntary firearms registration, pay the $$ and state on the form the person who previously owned the firearm passed away. No wait since you already have the gun and the previous owner can go with you to a LGS for a PPT.

Or go to your LGS along with your aunt if she lives in the state and do a private party transfer (10 day wait).
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Old November 7, 2012, 01:21 AM   #5
sigcurious
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The following does not imply that the pistol was left by will, but rather by informal request.

Quote:
My who uncle who passed away earlier this year wanted me to have his S&W 686-2. He made this known to my family and my Aunt obliged
If that is the case and his aunt is not a CA resident, the firearm was transferred illegally between states.

Also, there is the issue of it being a non-roster pistol. Setting aside for a moment the possible federal offense that was committed, if his aunt is not a CA resident, state law has also likely been broken by bringing a non-roster pistol into the state via transfer of ownership.

If his aunt is not a CA resident, the prudent course of action would be to consult an attorney who specializes in firearms law, and post no further details on the internet.

If she is a CA resident, this
Quote:
Do the transfer of ownership paperwork, pay the fees, do a DROS, wait 10 days while they keep the gun. Pick it up when all is approved.
is the proper legal procedure, all transfers in CA must go through an FFL(some exceptions, but none that would seem to apply here). The roster does not apply to handguns that were already legally owned in the state.
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Old November 7, 2012, 06:17 PM   #6
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The inheritance sounds a bit informal, but
  • IF the aunt was the executor
  • AND she distributed the gun according to the decedent's wishes
THEN it sounds like it really was an inheritance.

If that were the case, neither California nor the Feds require an FFL to be involved, and it would have been entirely legal to just pick up the gun and bring it to CA - the Roster has no influence on inheritance.

Proper paperwork in the case of inheritance is to file the OPLAW form, http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/pd...rms/oplaw.pdf?

OTOH, if the aunt was the beneficiary and just gave the gun away because uncle wanted it that way, it would NOT have been an inheritance. Then sigcurious's post applies.
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Old November 7, 2012, 07:31 PM   #7
sigcurious
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Quote:
The inheritance sounds a bit informal, but
IF the aunt was the executor
AND she distributed the gun according to the decedent's wishes
THEN it sounds like it really was an inheritance.
In the colloquial sense yes, but legally that sounds a bit questionable. Verbal contracts are pretty sketchy in most places if accepted at all legally. To assume it was legally an inheritance puts the OP in a serious bind if the federal government and/or the state of California do not agree that a verbal request counts legally as a bequest.
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Old November 7, 2012, 08:03 PM   #8
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Librarian
...The inheritance sounds a bit informal, but
  • IF the aunt was the executor
  • AND she distributed the gun according to the decedent's wishes
THEN it sounds like it really was an inheritance....
I don't think I'd be that quick to jump to that conclusion. The thing is that the legal niceties of the passing on of the property of someone who has died can be fairly complex and formal. It's true that if not much property is involved, the formalities aren't always observed, but I'm not sure that a court is likely to "wink" at a failure to observe those formalities when a transfer of a firearm is involved.

If everyone is a resident of California, California law (Penal Code 27870 and 27875) provides for an exception to certain formalities of transfer if by "bequest or intestate succession" when between members of the immediate family (parent/grandparent to/from child/grandchild).

For interstate transfers, federal law (18 USC 922(a)(3) and 922(a)(5)) provides an exception in the case of transfer "by bequest or intestate succession."

A "bequest" is specifically a gift under a will. And under the law a will must (with a few very narrow and rare exceptions) be in writing and satisfy certain formal requirements. "Intestate succession" is a very specific statutory protocol for the distribution of a decedent's property if he dies without a will.

Bequest or intestate succession aren't necessarily simple processes. Depending on applicable law and the amount of property involved, doing thing properly could involve probate, the probate court, audits, lawyers and a lot of legal rigmarole. Or it might not. But if it does, and all the procedures aren't adhered to, does that nullify the exceptions in state and/or federal law to certain requirements for the transfer of firearms? Again, I really don't know.

However, I would not be surprised to see a court apply the formality exceptions very narrowly to only bequest/intestate succession transfers that strictly satisfy state law requirements for the settling of a decedent's estate.
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Last edited by Frank Ettin; November 7, 2012 at 09:51 PM. Reason: clarify
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