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  1. #1
    onequart is offline Junior Member
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    Selling unregistered guns

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? CA

    Some years ago, during a long stay in Montana, I bought 2 new handguns from a private party. I used one for some target practice and never fired the other.

    I brought them home with me to California, and have not used them since. I did not register or otherwise notify the DOJ of these guns.

    I would now like to sell them to an authorized dealer, but I am worried that the unregistered status of the guns may cause me problems (i.e., criminal charges). Do I have legitimate concerns?

    Thanks.
  2. #2
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    How long ago did you purchase them?

    http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/ab991

    While you have 60 days to register them, I have yet to hear of anyone actually being charged with otherwise complying with the law. You might consider consulting a local gun dealer as to the process and their experience with similar circumstances.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  3. #3
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Alternatively you could hold on to them until the next time you travel to a State that doesn't require handgun registration. I know that an out of State resident cannot buy a handgun from an FFL I am not aware of any law which says an out of State resident cann't sell them to an FFL.
  4. #4
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Yeah, but, as a resident merely possessing them here from another state without registering could pose some legal issues for him.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  5. #5
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Who is going to find out about them? They were never registered in CA so CA doesn't know about them. Short of the OP having a search warrant served on his house I wouldn't be that worried about it.
  6. #6
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by swalsh411 View Post
    Who is going to find out about them? They were never registered in CA so CA doesn't know about them. Short of the OP having a search warrant served on his house I wouldn't be that worried about it.
    There are ways that it happens. A break-in where they are discovered (or, stolen ... then does he report them, or not?), an alarm call, stopped while taking them to the range and serial numbers run, etc. How do you think we find them?

    While slim, it is a possibility and it IS against the law. If the law is only to be obeyed if we fear the penalty for failing to do so, then what does that say about our society? And the character of the individual?

    There really is no reason NOT to properly register them unless the OP is prohibited from possessing them for some reason.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  7. #7
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Considering the OP has already broken the law by not registering the guns within 60 days, I would not advise him to volunteer that information to the police.
  8. #8
    onequart is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the info.

    I bought the guns in Montana 7-8 years ago, while I was already a CA resident.

    I did a further bit of Internet research, and found that *federal* law prohibits interstate gun sales where the seller and buyer are residents of different states. Fortunately, the statute of limitations has run out in this case.

    About the state violations, my understanding is that since I was a CA resident at the time of the out-of-state purchase, I am considered to be a gun importer into CA and not a new resident moving here with guns.

    I will prob. file a Firearm Ownership Record, and hope the OAG ignores the years of non-registration. I haven't used my guns at all in CA, and they just sit in a locked box in my den with no ammunition in the house. However, I am concerned about them falling into other hands or LE notice during a robbery, loss during a move, etc.

    OT: In Montana, gun ownership is like a birthright, and the thought of registration is anathema. As a Californian, when I mentioned it to the seller (a fellow professional), I was met with incredulity. When I brought the guns (revolvers with 6 and 8 chambers) to CA, I did briefly looked into registration requirements. The Internet resources were less than available now, and I thought that I didn't have to register them especially since I wasn't using them at all. When I found out that I did have to register them, I was way past the 60 day reporting period.

    The CA laws are confusing. As I understand them, technically handguns do not have to be registered. However, getting a handgun without registration along the way violates multiple state laws. There are exceptions for inheritants and what-not, but basically it is illegal to possess a recent unregistered handgun in CA.
    Last edited by onequart; 02-19-2013 at 05:30 PM.
  9. #9
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by swalsh411 View Post
    Considering the OP has already broken the law by not registering the guns within 60 days, I would not advise him to volunteer that information to the police.
    The police really aren't going to care unless they stumble upon it. Hence my suggestion to contact a local gun dealer or the AG's office and talk to their firearms unit. As I said, I have yet to EVER see a prosecution for LATE registration ... prosecution for NO registration is another matter.

    I had a similar situation when my father passed away. I suddenly came into possession of a number of firearms that he had purchased pre-registration. At my mother's request I took possession of them and they sat in my gun safe for a few years until it occurred to me that I needed to look into registering them. I had no problems. They sat at a local dealers for a couple of weeks while the paperwork was going through, and I got them later on minus some $35 (or thereabouts - if memory serves) per weapon. No calls from the AG, no calls to my Chief, nothing.
    Last edited by CdwJava; 02-20-2013 at 12:09 AM.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  10. #10
    onequart is offline Junior Member
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    Update:

    I phoned the firearms unit of the CA AG's Office. The guy there sounded very knowledgeable and seemed to really enjoy his job shooting the breeze with callers about gun issues; he advised me to just file a Firearms Ownership Record. He wouldn't comment on the legalities involved (as expected), but strongly hinted that nothing would come of it. He also indicated that my situation is quite common.

    I suppose LE could come after me after I volunteer the gun information, but I strongly doubt it. Police, and prosecutors, likely use some common sense in the course of their jobs, like the rest of us.

    I also called the local gun shop. The manager there didn't seem to have any problems that the guns were unregistered, and said to just bring them in. Of course, they will be registered once in his hands.
  11. #11
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    This has also been my experience - as I mentioned. I doubt you will have a problem.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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