Few states have gun laws that are stricter than California’s. California residents who wish to purchase a gun already know that California Penal Code §§ 28050, 30605 requires them to go through a licensed firearm dealer whenever they wish to purchase a gun.
But what if you’re moving to California and already own a gun? Or what if you do live in state and purchase a gun while you’re on vacation? Will you be allowed to bring it into California with you?
California lawmakers are very concerned about the potential flow of illegal firearms into the state. Considering how many crimes are committed with unregistered guns, it’s easy to understand why they want to staunch the flow as much as possible. In an effort to manage the number of guns in the state, lawmakers have made it difficult, but not impossible, to transport a gun into California.
If you’re a California resident who has purchased a gun while you’re out of state, don’t even think about trying to transport the gun yourself. You must have the gun shipped directly to a California licensed dealer. Once the gun dealer gets the firearm, they’ll start the process of legally transferring ownership of the gun to you. This process requires the dealer to follow the same protocols they’d follow if you’d purchased the gun while you were in California.
Before the gun is officially transferred to you, the dealer:
- Conducts a background check.
- Sends the gun through a 10-day waiting period.
- Must see proof that you’ve completed a state approved firearm safety certificate program.
There are some exceptions to sending the gun to a California firearm dealer and going through the background check and 10 day waiting period.
If you plan on bringing a gun into California from a different state, you will have a much easier time doing so if:
- You’re registered with a firearms registry.
- Purchase the gun from a registered dealer in another state and can show proof of the purchase.
- Inherited the gun (firearm safety certificates will still be required).
- Have a license to carry a handgun.
Collectors and importers who are licensed with the State of California are always allowed to transport firearms into the state.
If you’re thinking of ignoring California’s current policy for transporting a gun into the state, you should reconsider. If you’re caught transporting a gun into the state without following the proper protocol, you will likely be convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to 6 months in jail and/or charged a $1,000 fine.
Things get worse if the gun is a handgun, because illegally transporting a handgun into the state is one of California’s wobbler offenses, which means you could be facing either misdemeanor or felony charges.