Any transaction involving a firearm including their sale, lease, or transfer in the state of California requires that it be done or brokered through a licensed firearm dealer. These transactions do include the private sale or transfer of a firearm. Your failure to adhere to this law found under California Penal Code Section 12070 could result in a misdemeanor conviction for each firearm involved.

What is a Firearm?

Any device designed to propel a bullet or projectile through a barrel by combustion is a firearm. This definition does not extend to BB or pellet guns. Unloaded antique guns are not included as firearms under this law.

Who is a Firearms Dealer?

To become a licensed firearms dealer, you need the following:

  • Federal firearms license
  • A business license
  • A valid seller’s permit issued by the State Board of Equalization
  • Issuance of a certificate of eligibility from the Department of Justice
  • A local one-year license from the appropriate licensing authority

There are other requirements for machine guns. Any firearms that you sell must be legal and not considered “dangerous.”

All licensed dealers must also conduct a legitimate background check of any individual who wishes to purchase a firearm.

California Gun Shows

All firearms sales and transactions at California gun shows must go through a licensed dealer. The buyer is required to present a valid California driver’s license or ID, other proof or state residency and supply a thumbprint. After the application is forwarded to the state’s Department of Justice, there is a 10-day waiting period while a background check is performed and before the delivery of the firearm. Dealers must maintain records of all transfers.

Exceptions to Licensing

There are some exceptions to the unlicensed sale of firearms under the following circumstances:

  • Being willed a person’s firearm
  • Wholesale transactions with dealers and those between wholesalers if the firearms are unloaded
  • Use of unloaded firearms or those with blank cartridges if used in the entertainment industry
  • Use of a gunsmith to repair a firearm
  • Special permit holders of certain firearms who are authorized to engage in specific transactions
  • Less than 6 handgun transactions in a 12-month period that involve any number of handguns and irregular transactions involving firearms other than handguns so long as a licensed gun dealer is involved to complete the transaction

Defenses to Unlicensed Sale of Firearms

You must possess a valid license and can prove that you have fulfilled all other requirements for selling generic firearms or that you have a special permit or license for selling other types of legal firearms.

Also, keep detailed records of each transaction and of all background checks conducted.

Penalties for Unlicensed Sale of Firearms

If convicted, you will lose your license to sell firearms. You also face a misdemeanor charge for each illegal transaction, which is up to 6 months in county jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Immigration Consequences

For legal aliens or other non-citizens, a conviction for the unlicensed sale of firearms can have severe consequences regarding your legal status. Although in some cases a gun crime can be reduced or dismissed, in most instances you face an increased risk of deportation since this is considered a serious crime and one of moral turpitude.

Call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis

Any gun crime conviction, including the unlicensed sale of firearms can result in serious jail time and have long range or permanent adverse consequences on your life. If you have been charged with a gun crime, call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis today for a free, confidential initial consultation at (213) 687-4412.