Firearm Sales

Firearm sales adIn California the transference of firearms by one person or entity to another is judiciously governed by statute.

On example is the requirement that all firearms sold, transferred or manufactured in California must include a safety device and a warning label, unless sold or transferred to a person who owns a gun safe.1

  • If either a manufacturer or dealer violates these requirements they can be fined $1,000.
  • A second time a manufacturer becomes ineligible to manufacture firearms for 30 days, plus a $1000 fine; a dealer becomes ineligible to sell firearms 30 days plus a $1000 fine.
  • A third time a manufacturer or dealer becomes permanently ineligible to manufacture or sell firearms in California.2

Individuals engaging in selling or other forms of transference of firearms must be licensed and comply with other requirements associated with either the sale or transference of firearms.

Selling, leasing, or transferring firearms without a license is a misdemeanor.3

There are exceptions to the licensing requirement:

  • The sale, etc., of a firearm by a person acting under a court order. 4
  • The sale by a law enforcement agency of a seized firearm.5
  • The sale, by a person who inherits the firearm within 60 days.6
  • The sale, transfer or delivery under Federal law.7
  • Sales, deliveries, or transfers of firearms by wholesalers to dealers, or another wholesaler.
  • The loan of an unloaded firearm or a firearm loaded with blank cartridges to use in a motion picture, television, or video or theatrical event.8
  • The loan or return of firearms to or from a gunsmith for service or repair.9

There also exist penalties for failing to give accurate and/or false information during a transaction involving a firearm:

  • Giving a false name, address or information, or failing to give required information to register a sale of a firearm; or furnishing a false name address or providing incorrect information or omitting information required with the electronic or telephonic transfer of firearm purchaser information to the Department of Justice; is a misdemeanor. 10

  • Anyone prohibited from purchasing or receiving a firearm who gives a false name, address, or gives false information, or fails to give information required to be provided for the register is guilty of a misdemeanor, or a felony with a sentence of either 8, 12, or 18 months. 11


Last, there are penalties for selling or transferring firearms to individuals who for various reasons are prohibited from receiving them, including minors; restrictions on transfer to only those receiving them, and limitations on the number of firearms a person can receive during a specific period:

  • No person, corporation, or dealer may sell, supply, deliver, or give possession or control of a firearm to a person whom he or she has cause to believe is prohibited from ownership under 29800 et seq., or 29900 et seq., or Welfare and Institutions Code section 8100.12

  • It is prohibited to sell, loan, or transfer a firearm to a minor; or sell a handgun to an individual under age 21.13

  • Selling or furnishing a BB device to a minor without the permission of the minor's parent or legal guardian is prohibited.14

  • It is unlawful to sell, loan or transfer a firearm to a person who is not the actual purchaser unless specifically exempted from that provision by statute.15

  • Usually a person may purchase only one handgun within any 30-day period.16

1 Sections 23635(e); 23640; 23635(b); 23650; 23635(c) of the California Penal Code.
2 Section 23645 of the California Penal Code.
3 Sections 26500; 16520(b) of the California Penal Code.
4 Sections 26505; 16960 of the California Penal Code.
5 Section 186.22a(f) of the California Penal Code.
6 Section 26515 of the California Penal Code.
7 Section 18 U. S.C., §921; 17310; Sections 26525(a); 26530; 26535; 26565; 26570; 26710; 26585 of the California Penal Code.
8 Section 26580 of the California Penal Code.
9 Section 26587 of the California Penal Code.
10 Sections 28215(b); 28250(a); People v. Duran (2004) 124 C.A.4th 666, 672, 21 C.R.3d 495.
11 Section 28250(b) of the California Penal Code.
12 Sections 8103; 27500(b) of the California Penal Code.
13 Section 27510 of the California Penal Code.
14 Section 19915(a) of the California Penal Code.
15 Sections 27540; 27545; 27515 of the California Penal Code.
16 Section 27535 of the California Penal Code