It is the responsibility of the firearm owner to understand and comply with all federal, state and local laws governing firearms ownership.
Sales and Transfers of Firearms
In California, only licensed California firearms dealers who possess a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) are authorized to conduct retail sales of firearms. In retail sales the purchaser is required to provide personal identifier information for the Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) document that the firearms dealer is required to submit to the Department of Justice (DOJ). There is a mandatory ten-day waiting period before the purchaser can receive the firearm. During this time, DOJ will conduct a firearms eligibility background check to ensure the purchaser is not prohibited from lawfully possessing firearms. Generally firearms purchasers must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a long gun (rifle or shotgun) and 21 years of age to purchase a handgun (pistol or revolver). Firearms purchasers must be California residents with a valid California driver’s license or identification card. Generally, it is illegal for any person who is not a California licensed firearms dealer to sell or transfer a firearm to another non-licensed person (private party) unless the sale is completed through a licensed California firearms dealer. “Private party transfers” can be conducted at any licensed California firearms dealership that sells handguns. The buyer in a private party transfer must abide by the same stipulations as an individual purchasing a firearm directly from a licensed firearms dealer.
The infrequent transfer of firearms between immediate family members is exempt from the law requiring private party transfers to be conducted through a licensed firearms dealer. Immediate family refers to parent and child, and grandparent and grandchild but does not include brothers or sisters. Please note if the firearm being transferred is a handgun, prior to taking possession of the firearm, the transferee must comply with the Handgun Safety Certificate requirement. Within 30 days of the transfer he/she must also submit a report of the transaction to DOJ. Download the required report form (FD 4542A) at: http://caag.state.ca.us/firearms/forms/pdf/volreg.pdf.
Additional California Department of Justice firearms forms and informational links
Office of the California State Attorney General Firearms Division
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)