Assault Weapons - Registration Requirements And Exceptions

Where a person or entity falls within one or more exceptions to the possession of a particular assault weapon(s) or .50 BMG rifle(s) the assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle must still have been previously registered to qualify for the exception.

  • Any person who possessed an assault weapon prior to June 1, 1989, had to register it by January 1, 1991, and a person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon before it was specified is similarly required to register it.

  • A person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon not specified had to register the firearm by January 1, 2001. 1

  • Similarly, a person who lawfully possessed a .50 BMG rifle before January 1, 2005, that was not specified as an assault weapon, had to register the .50 BMG rifle by April 30, 2006.

  • A person who registered a firearm before January 1, 2000, is not required to reregister the weapon if it is thereafter defined as an assault weapon. 2

  • Similarly, a person who registered a firearm as an assault weapon before January 1, 2005, is not required to reregister the weapon if it is thereafter defined as a .50 caliber BMG rifle. 3
Additional Requirements, For Sale, Transfer, Purchase Or Possession

Assault weapons possessed under 30900 et seq. may be sold or transferred only to a licensed gun dealer. 4

A person who inherits title to a registered assault weapon, or possessed it under 30630(a), or who possessed it before it was classified as an assault weapon, must, within 90 days of receipt, either:

  • Render the weapon permanently inoperable,
  • Sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer,
  • Obtain a permit from the Department of Justice under 32650 et seq.,
  • Or remove the weapon from California. 5

A .50 BMG rifle may not be sold or transferred, to anyone within California other than to a licensed gun dealer or as provided in 31100 except as provided in 30940. 6

A person who inherits title to a registered .50 BMG rifle; or one possessed under 30630(a); must within 180 days of receipt either:

  • render the weapon permanently inoperable,
  • sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer,
  • obtain a permit from the Department of Justice,
  • or remove the weapon from California. 7

A person moving into California otherwise in possession of a lawful assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle must either:

  • obtain a permit from the Department of Justice before bringing the weapon into the state or
  • have the weapon delivered to a licensed gun dealer under federal laws and regulations;
  • if the person obtains a permit, the dealer must redeliver the weapon to the person. 8

A licensed gun dealer who lawfully possesses an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle may transport the weapon between dealers or out of state, display it at a licensed gun show, sell it to a resident outside the state, or sell it to a person issued a permit; transportation must be under 16850 and 25610. 9

A licensed gun dealer may also take possession of an assault weapon and transfer it to a gunsmith for service or repair;10 or to a licensed gun dealer with a permit to sell assault weapons or .50 BMG rifles under 31005. 11


1 Section 30900(a), (b) of the California Penal Code.
2 Section 30965(a) of the California Penal Code.
3 Section 30965(b) of the California Penal Code.
4 Section 30910 of the California Penal Code.
5 Sections 30915, 30920(a) of the California Penal Code.
6 Section 30930 of the California Penal Code.
7 Section 30935 of the California Penal Code.
8 Section 30925 of the California Penal Code.
9 Section 31055 of the California Penal Code.
10 Section 31050 of the California Penal Code.
11 Section 16790 of the California Penal Code.