Patriot Info Blog America How to Transfer a Gun to a Family Member in California

How to Transfer a Gun to a Family Member in California

How to Transfer a Gun to a Family Member in California

Owning a firearm is a constitutional right in the United States, but it comes with a great responsibility. If you are a gun owner in California and wish to transfer your firearm to a family member, there are certain legal procedures that must be followed. This article will guide you through the process of transferring a gun to a family member in California, ensuring compliance with the state’s firearms laws and regulations.

1. Determine Eligibility: Before initiating the transfer process, it is crucial to ensure that both you, as the current owner, and your family member, as the recipient, are eligible to possess firearms under California law. Both parties must meet the minimum age requirement (18 for long guns, 21 for handguns) and cannot have any disqualifying criminal convictions or mental health issues.

2. Choose a Transfer Method: California law provides two primary methods for transferring firearms: through a licensed firearms dealer (FFL) or through a private party transfer (PPT). The method you choose will depend on the type of firearm being transferred and your personal preferences.

3. Licensed Firearms Dealer Transfer: If you opt for a licensed firearms dealer transfer, both you and your family member must visit a licensed dealer authorized to conduct firearm transfers. The dealer will facilitate the transfer by conducting a background check on the recipient and ensuring all necessary paperwork is completed. This method is often preferred for transferring handguns.

4. Private Party Transfer: Alternatively, you can choose a private party transfer, also known as intrafamilial transfer, for the transfer of certain firearms. This method is applicable for long guns, handguns, and antique firearms. Both parties must complete the California Department of Justice (DOJ) form and submit it to the DOJ along with a $19 fee. The DOJ will conduct a background check on the recipient, and upon approval, the transfer can be completed.

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5. Complete the Required Documentation: Regardless of the transfer method chosen, certain documentation must be completed. This includes a Firearm Ownership Report (FOR), which must be submitted to the DOJ within 30 days of transfer. Additionally, if you are transferring a handgun, a Safety Certificate must be obtained by the recipient prior to the transfer.

6. Comply with Waiting Periods: California imposes a 10-day waiting period on all firearm transfers, including those within family members. This means that the transfer process cannot be completed until after the waiting period has expired.

7. Safe Storage: As an added safety measure, it is important to remind your family member about the importance of safe firearm storage. Encourage them to invest in a suitable gun safe or lockbox to ensure that the firearm is securely stored and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals.


Q: Can I transfer a firearm to a spouse or domestic partner without going through the transfer process?
A: No, even transfers between spouses or domestic partners require compliance with California’s firearm transfer laws and regulations.

Q: Are there any restrictions on transferring firearms to immediate family members?
A: No, there are no specific restrictions on transferring firearms to immediate family members, as long as both parties meet the eligibility requirements and follow the proper transfer procedures.

Q: Can I transfer a firearm to a family member who resides out of state?
A: Transferring a firearm to a family member who resides out of state requires compliance with federal firearm transfer laws. It is advisable to consult with an attorney or a licensed firearms dealer to ensure compliance with both federal and state regulations.

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Q: Can I gift a firearm to a family member?
A: Yes, gifting a firearm to a family member is permissible, but the same transfer procedures and eligibility requirements must be followed.

Q: What happens if I transfer a firearm to a family member without following the proper procedures?
A: Failure to comply with California’s firearm transfer laws may result in criminal charges and severe penalties. It is essential to follow all legal requirements to ensure a lawful transfer.

In conclusion, transferring a firearm to a family member in California requires careful adherence to state laws and regulations. By following the recommended steps and seeking professional guidance when necessary, you can ensure a smooth and legal transfer process while upholding your responsibilities as a gun owner. Remember, safety should always be the top priority, both during the transfer process and in the storage of firearms.

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