How to Sell a Gun in California

Map of California

Navigating the sale of a firearm in California requires a clear understanding of the state's stringent laws to ensure everything is above board. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of the necessary steps for a lawful transaction, from leveraging licensed dealers to completing the Dealer's Record of Sale (DROS) process. It emphasizes the importance of conducting thorough background checks, adhering to waiting periods, and understanding the specifics of Firearm Ownership Report (FOR) applications and private party sales. Additionally, the guide addresses the frequency of transactions and outlines potential fees and ownership restrictions. By following this guidance, sellers can ensure a smooth and compliant sale process, with online platforms like CashForArms offering a streamlined solution to facilitate these transactions effectively.

Map of California
Published On:
May 30, 2023
Updated On:
April 25, 2024
8
minutes read

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Legal Requirements for Selling Firearms in California

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The legal requirements for selling firearms in California encompass various aspects, such as working with licensed dealers, understanding the Dealer's Record of Sale (DROS) process, background checks, waiting periods, Firearm Ownership Report (FOR) applications, and adhering to specific requirements for private party sales. Additionally, it's essential to consider fees, and restrictions on firearm ownership, and ensure compliance with state and federal laws.

Licensed Dealers and the Dealer's Record of Sale (DROS) process

In California, every firearm transaction, whether it involves buying or selling, must go through a licensed dealer to ensure compliance with both California state laws and federal laws. The Dealer's Record of Sale (DROS) process is a crucial aspect of legal firearm transfers in California, which includes background checks, documentation, and record maintenance. It is important to note that federal law prohibits unlicensed individuals from transferring firearms to residents of other states.

Background Check

Background checks are required for all firearm transactions, which helps to prevent the transfer of firearms to individuals legally prohibited from possessing them.

Waiting Period and Firearm Ownership Report (FOR) Application

In California, there is a mandatory 10-day waiting period before the firearm can be given to the buyer. This waiting period is in place to ensure everyone's safety by conducting thorough background checks.

When purchasing a firearm, it's also important to submit a Firearm Ownership Report (FOR) application. This is a vital step in the process because it helps keep track of accurate records and ensures that the firearm is registered with the appropriate authorities.

Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is required for licensed dealers, ammunition vendors, manufacturers, and other professionals involved in the firearms industry. The COE application process includes regular yearly renewals and can be revoked under certain conditions, such as legal violations or failure to meet eligibility requirements. 

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How to Sell a Gun in California | Private Party Sale

In the United States, private-party sales of firearms are a common practice. Private party sales involve the exchange of firearms between individuals who are not licensed firearms dealers. While this may appear to be a straightforward process, it is essential for both buyers and sellers to understand the legal requirements. This understanding will help protect you and ensure a successful private-party sale.

Restrictions and requirements for private party transfers

In California, private-party transfers of firearms have specific restrictions and requirements. Firearms dealers play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations. If the recipient is an unlicensed individual living in a different state, federal law mandates that the firearm be shipped to a  Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder in the recipient's state. Background checks are also mandatory for private-party transfers.

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Fees Associated with Private Party Transfers

Selling a firearm through a private party transfer in California comes with specific fees that may differ based on the transaction's particulars. To avoid any surprises during the selling process, it's best to be ready to pay both the state fee and private party transfer fees. To guarantee a smooth and lawful process when buying or selling firearms in California, it's vital to comprehend and comply with the state's gun laws and federal regulations

The buyer and seller must complete the required DROS document in person at the licensed firearms dealer and deliver the firearm to the dealer who will retain possession of the firearm during the mandatory 10-day waiting period for the Firearms Ownership Report. 

In addition to the applicable state fees, the firearm dealer may charge a fee not to exceed $10 per firearm for conducting the private party transfer (PPT). 

The infrequent transfer of firearms (less than 6 transactions a year and not more than 50 firearms) between immediate family members (parent to child, or grandparent to grandchild) is exempt from the law requiring PPTs to be conducted through a licensed firearm dealer. There is a specific form that must be used to document the transaction and report it to the DOJ as well as a fee of $19.

Specific statutory requirements relating to the sales and transfers of firearms are as follows:

To ensure compliance and maintain safety, both buyers and sellers must understand the specific statutory requirements relating to the sales and transfers of firearms.

  • Proof of Residency Requirement
  • Firearm Safety Certificate Requirement
  • Safe Handling Demonstration Requirement
  • Firearm Safety Device Requirement
  • The Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale in California 
  • One-Gun-per-30-Days Limit

Restrictions on Firearm Ownership in California:

California has been a trailblazer when it comes to implementing comprehensive firearm laws to hopefully reduce gun related violence and ensure public safety. The state has implemented a range of restrictions on firearm ownership.

Age, Residency, and Identification Requirements

California has specific age requirements for purchasing firearms: 

  • 21 for handguns 
  • 18 for rifles, shotguns, and ammunition.

Certain exemptions exist for individuals in specific categories, such as law enforcement officers and active-duty military personnel.

To buy or sell firearms in California, you must provide clear evidence of identity, age, and residency.

Prohibitions Based on Criminal History and Mental Health Conditions

Not everyone can own a firearm in the Golden State. California bans firearm ownership for specific people: 

  •  individuals with past convictions,
  •  restraining orders
  •  certain mental health conditions (committed under welfare, mental health disorder or chronic alcoholism, Individuals who have been adjudicated as mentally incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of insanity for certain crimes)

The federal disqualification criteria encompass a range of factors such as felony convictions, drug addiction, being a fugitive, being an illegal immigrant, having mental deficiencies or being committed, receiving dishonorable discharge from the military, renouncing US citizenship, having restraining orders, and being convicted of domestic violence.

Restrictions on Ammunition

Ammunition purchases in California must be made through a licensed dealer. The minimum age requirement for possessing live ammunition is 18. Exceptions exist for minors accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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Tips to sell safe and get the best price

To ensure a successful sale, make sure your firearm is in good working condition, clean, and well-maintained.  Provide an accurate description of the firearm, including its make, model, caliber, and accessories. Prepare a comprehensive bill of sale and include relevant documentation, such as receipts and warranty information. Finally, complete the sale and transfer ownership in a legally compliant manner by adhering to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Cleaning and maintenance

It's a good idea to ensure your firearm is in good working condition and properly cleaned before selling it. A well cleaned gun will be more aesthetically pleasing and will likely interest more prospective buyers. This can also increase the firearm's value.

Man in camouflage cleaning a firearm

Accurate description

When preparing your firearm for a private sale, you should aim to provide an accurate description of the firearm. This includes information about the make, model, caliber, and any accessories that come with the firearm.  An accurate description will help ensure a smooth transaction with your ultimate buyer.

Knowing what you have is a very important step in the process of selling your gun. Sometimes we take for granted what we have and may not realize the actual value. As you work on your description be sure to include any pertinent details that may increase the value of your sale.

Documentation

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Prepare a complete bill of sale that protects both parties in case of disputes, including the following information: sale date, buyer and seller information, and firearm details (such as make, model, and serial number). Additionally, be sure to include any relevant paperwork, such as purchase receipts and warranty information.

Completing the sale and transferring firearm ownership

Once you've found a legal buyer, complete the sale and transfer ownership of the firearm in a legal and compliant manner. Take it to an FFL, fill out all necessary paperwork, and make sure that the buyer is qualified to purchase by agreeing to the required documentation. Be sure to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including background checks and any necessary permits or licenses.

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Using Cash for Arms to Sell Your Guns

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Using Cash for Arms is a safe and secure option for selling your handgun, rifle, shotgun, gun collection, or even an NFA class III firearm. By choosing a reputable buyer, you can ensure a smooth and legal transaction, while getting the fair market value for your firearm.

We have a no obligation cash offer, or the option to sell your gun by consignment through us. Either way, you get a great sale price on your gun, and we take care of the shipping and required paperwork. 

General Questions & Answers

Can I legally sell a gun in California?

Yes, you can legally sell a gun in California. Keep in mind that all firearms purchases and transfers, including private party transactions and sales at gun shows, must be made through a California licensed dealer under the Dealer's Record of Sale (DROS) process. California law imposes a 10-day waiting period before a firearm can be released to a purchaser or transferee.

Can I sell a gun in California to someone who lives out of state?

Yes, it is possible to sell a gun in California to someone who resides out of state. However, due to the strict firearm laws in California and federal regulations, the process can be quite complex and challenging. When conducting firearms sales between private individuals across state lines, it is necessary to involve a licensed firearms dealer.

What documents do I need to sell a gun in California?

To sell a gun in California you will need the following documents: a valid Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) or an exemption, proof of California residency, a Bill of Sale, a completed Seller's Record of Sale (DROS) form, and compliance with background check requirements through a licensed firearms dealer.

Where to sell a gun in California?

In California, you can sell a gun through licensed firearms dealers or private party transfers facilitated by licensed dealers. Online marketplaces like Cash For Arms, Armslist, or Gunbroker may also be options.

Can I legally sell a gun in California?

Yes, you can legally sell a gun in California. Keep in mind that all firearms purchases and transfers, including private party transactions and sales at gun shows, must be made through a California licensed dealer under the Dealer's Record of Sale (DROS) process. California law imposes a 10-day waiting period before a firearm can be released to a purchaser or transferee.

Do I have to take a test to own a gun in California?

Yes, you must pass a gun safety test to own a gun in California. Background checks are mandatory for retail sales, private sales, and gun show sales. Additionally, to engage in these transactions, you must be a California resident and possess a valid personal driver's license.

Can I gift someone a gun in California?

Yes, you can gift someone a gun in California. However, it is mandatory to transfer the firearm through a local retailer or dealer and fill out the required paperwork to report the sale to the state, regardless of whether it is a dealer sale or a private sale.

Can someone from out of state sell a gun in California?

No, an out-of-state resident cannot directly sell a firearm to an individual in California. That has to be done through an FFL dealer.

BEST VALUE

BEST VALUE

As experienced and knowledgeable gun buyers, Cash for Arms provides the best market value for your firearm, ensuring you get the best possible price.

COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS AND REGULATIONS

COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Cash for Arms adheres to all necessary protocols to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, preventing the sale of firearms to prohibited individuals.

FREE TO USE

FREE TO USE

Cash for Arms pays all costs involved in the transaction, making it a hassle-free and cost-effective option for selling your gun.

IMMEDIATE PAYMENT

IMMEDIATE PAYMENT

We pay within 24 hours of receiving your firearms.

MULTIPLE SELLING OPTIONS

MULTIPLE SELLING OPTIONS

Safe and Secure Transaction: Multiple Selling Options: Cash for Arms offers multiple selling options to suit your needs, including selling outright or cash consignment.

SAFE AND SECURE TRANSACTIONS

SAFE AND SECURE TRANSACTIONS

By choosing a reputable buyer like Cash for Arms, you can ensure a safe and secure sale of your firearm, protecting yourself from potential legal complications.

By following the guidelines and recommendations in this article, you can successfully navigate the process of selling a gun in Florida. Remember to always adhere to federal and state regulations, as well as local laws, to ensure a legal, safe, and profitable transaction.

DISCLAIMER

The content presented on this website is intended for informational purposes only. CashForArms.com has made significant efforts in compiling, formulating, and ensuring high-quality information and materials. Nevertheless, we do not affirm or guarantee the complete accuracy, exhaustiveness, appropriateness, or timeliness of the information displayed on or linked to this website. Any reliance upon the information found on this website or through the associated links is done solely at the user’s discretion and risk. The information provided here does not amount to legal advice.  We are not legal professionals specialized in firearm laws, and our content should not be taken as such. Users are fully responsible for adhering to the laws and regulations applicable to their local jurisdiction concerning the buying, selling, and possession of firearms.

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We value your interest in our services. Due to regulatory requirements, we can only accept contact information from individuals 21 years of age or older. However, individuals aged 18 and above are eligible to sell firearms through our platform. If you are between 18 to 21 years old, please exit this pop-up and refrain from providing your phone number. Those under 18 should leave the website. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in adhering to these guidelines.

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We value your interest in our services. Due to regulatory requirements, we can only accept contact information from individuals 21 years of age or older. However, individuals aged 18 and above are eligible to sell firearms through our platform. If you are between 18 to 21 years old, please exit this pop-up and refrain from providing your phone number. Those under 18 should leave the website. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in adhering to these guidelines.

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