View Full Version : Pistol registration in CA?

John D
January 3, 2009, 03:32 PM
Is anyone familiar with the California Dept. of Justice voluntary registration form? I have an old (1950's) revolver that I aquired from an old friend....any problem in sending in my $19 and registering it? I'm told this is the form cops use when aquiring new handguns.

All thoughts and experiences would be greatly appreciated. I really don't want to go through the DOJ "turn it in to a dealer and wait the XX number of days, etc."....

Big Caliber
January 3, 2009, 03:55 PM
Just my 2 cents...if the gun does not have a paper trail, especially here on the Left coast, then why start one?:confused:

John D
January 3, 2009, 04:27 PM
The guy I got this from is old (in his 80's) and is afraid that if my home is robbed and the gun ends up being used in a crime it will come back to him.

John D
January 4, 2009, 12:33 PM
MORE: There's no place on the form that requires identifying from whom you acquired the firearm. The $19 is for the standard background check - there's also nothing about going through a firearms dealer. Here's the link:


January 4, 2009, 03:24 PM
The way things could change in the next 4 years, I for one feel that a gun without a paper trail is worth another 10 to 20% value.
If he has owned it since the 50’s there’s probably no paper trail, do not register.
To make him feel safe do a bill of sale from him to you for $1 and have both of you sign it and make a copy for each. This will protect him.

Greg with a Glock®
January 4, 2009, 06:04 PM
Go to: calguns.net to help.

January 4, 2009, 10:01 PM
Send in the paperwork. CA DOJ has stated that they will not prosecute voluntary registration of handguns even though your acquisition of that gun without an FFL was illegal in California. Better to do the form and be legal now, than to get caught with it somehow and get popped both for illegal possession and illegal acquisition.


4V50 Gary
January 4, 2009, 10:41 PM
If a gun is stolen, report it and tell the police the serial # (besides the make, model, barrel length, color, caliber and anything distinguishing about it). Worried about theft is not enough reason to me to want to register it with a hostile gubmint authority.

January 4, 2009, 11:08 PM
Voluntary registration is different from a firearm transfer errantly often referred to as "registering". When you perform a normal transfer, the DROS is sent to the DOJ, for the purpose of a background check during the waiting period. They by law are not allowed to keep ANY RECORD of this information. The only "paper trail" when transferring a firearm in CA is that of the DROS kept on file at the point of sale.

A voluntary registration will be kept with the DOJ, and is often a form of proof of ownership used for insurance purposes. If you friend "gave" you the firearm without a transfer through a licensed dealer, that is illegal, unless it's a family member, or an antique. I suggest a legal transfer. Perhaps the term should be an extended "loan" until you finish the paperwork. Since he wants a transfer, that is indicating he currently holds interest in said firearm. I'm not a lawyer, but I'd call that a loan.

The information I am presenting is yet another reason to join CRPA (California Rifle and Pistol Association) if you are in CA (or if not, too! :)) as they send you out a laymans law booklet.

January 4, 2009, 11:56 PM
Just my 2 cents...if the gun does not have a paper trail, especially here on the Left coast, then why start one?

Why would you advocate that he violate California's gun laws? Doing that could really come back to haunt him.


January 4, 2009, 11:59 PM
John D:

Totalloser is 100% correct here. Anything short of following the law and having an FLL handle the transfer would be illegal.

If you had acquired the gun in another state, and you were bringing it into the state yourself, then you could get by with just filling out the necessary form, and mailing in your registration fee.

So unless you acquired this gun in another state, and brought it into California yourself, you need to have a FFL handle the transfer. It is California State Law.


John D
January 6, 2009, 12:51 AM
Thanks for these responses. And, yes, I am a member of CRPA - however, the numerous laws we have in California regarding firearms is incredibly confusing. Adding to this.....this revolver was sold in 1955. Wouldn't that qualify as a C&R piece? Isn't that a different set of purchasing criteria??


January 6, 2009, 02:04 AM
If it qualifies for C&R, you still need to transfer it through a licensed dealer. UNLESS you both hold a C&R license. Not sure if you can do it if you have a C&R & he does not. But C&R still must be documented. Just not sent anywhere. I'm on shaky ground with this legal stuff, but I THINK that's about how it works.

January 6, 2009, 02:07 AM
First of all, California allegedly does not have a mandatory registration statute for all firearms. Guns like those belonging to your friend who purchased them long before gun laws became draconian do not need to be registered.

There is a catch, however. If you intend to carry the gun or you are charged with illegally carrying the gun, and it is not registered to you, it can be charged as a felony.

The Voluntary Registration form is one way to register your gun with the California DOJ. Once you do that, the information will be entered into a CA-DOJ database where it will remain until some paperwork later says it was transferred to another party.

In California, transfer of a firearm (or a loan of a handgun over 30 days) between two persons without going through an FFL is illegal. Even C&R handguns must be processed through an FFL.

If your friend is worried about the gun being traced to him, it's doubtful that it would happen. Given the freedom with which guns were sold between 1955 and 2001 when personal transfers were required to be documented, it is possible that the gun could have legally changed hands dozens of times without a record.

I'm also reluctant to give the "gubmint" any information they don't need to know. But depending on your personal circumstances (age, length of time in CA, gun type, etc.) it may be better to voluntarily register the gun.