All guns need to be on the official California roster to be sold to most people in Cali. These are specific by model. For instance, the Glock 35 (3rd Gen) in front is on the CA roster. However, the Glock 35 4th Gen in back is not on the CA Roster, and cannot generally be purchased.
California is one of the states that still restrict the import/purchase of high capacity magazines. Magazines are generally restricted to 10 rounds. The one on the left (15-rounds) vs the compliant 10 rounder on the right.
The Ruger LCP is a highly sought pistol nationwide, but is not on the roster, so it can only be bought in California by an in-state private party transfer, or the single shot exemption which is a fairly new and relatively untested methodology for bringing non-roster guns into California.
While you may be surprised to see an AR in California, more importantly, it’s a California Compliant AR. These have exploded in the state, and are filling tables throughout California gun shows.
These AR receivers look the same, but the one on top is a California legal one, with the “bullet button,” while the one below is a Registered Assault Weapon that is no longer able to be purchased by the general public in the state.
The bullet button makes many otherwise illegal assault weapons California compliant. The need to use a tool to eject the magazine is the key element that makes this legal.
By Brian Jensen
I don’t know how many times I have seen on an internet gun classified or auction, “No Sales to California!” (It’s usually on the item I really want too…) Sometimes people like to be cute, and call it “Kalifornia” instead. Most sellers who do this make reference that due to laws they don’t agree with, they refuse to sell to buyers in the Golden State, and seat of liberal silliness. Sometimes they just feel like there is too much nonsense to deal with and it isn’t worth their time, and sometimes they just won’t do it on principle.
While I respect their convictions, I see their reaction as flawed. For one, there is money to be made on guns in California, for someone who is willing to learn a few simple things. And as for politics, the main point of their position is the belief that as a result of their refusal to ship us Kalifornians, the would-be gun owners here will rise up, and kick out our village of idiots in Sacramento.
Unfortunately, this state is so deeply seated in liberal ideology, and conservatives are so heavily outnumbered, this will never be a realistic outcome. There just aren’t enough of us.
The end result then becomes that gun sellers in the “free states” for lack of a better word, abandon all the gun owners and potential owners in our state who are already victimized enough by their own government. If you want to do something to truly help the 2nd Amendment in California, send in more guns! One more gun means potentially one more gun owner and one more voter, and that’s a good thing, right?
Let’s say you’re one of those sellers who is willing to sell to buyers in California. What do you need to know?
What Can People Own…The Certified Gun List…
First off, not just any gun can be shipped to California. Hi-capacity long guns, so called and misnamed “assault weapons” are a whole article in themselves. But we’ll try to touch on that later… As for handguns, any pistol or revolver must be certified by the state as “safe”. These weapons are listed on a roster of certified handguns. Per the California DOJ:
Effective January 1, 2001, no handgun may be manufactured within California, imported into California for sale, lent, given, kept for sale, or offered/exposed for sale unless that handgun model has passed firing, safety, and drop tests and is certified for sale in California by the Department of Justice. Private party transfers, curio/relic handguns, certain single-action revolvers, and pawn/consignment returns are exempt from this requirement.
These guns are submitted by the manufacturer to the state’s designated labs for testing where they are dropped, banged, and beat up to see if they are likely to go “bang” when dropped. This is also to determine to the politicians’ particular criteria as “safe”. The manufacturer then pays the state on a yearly basis to keep that particular model on the list. In addition, any new gun introduced these days must have a chamber-loaded indicator and magazine disconnect safety. Older guns are exempt as long as they stay on the roster.
If you’re looking for the roster, it’s listed on the CA DOJ website.
Fortunately, only handguns coming into California need to be on this roster so rifles (as long as they are not assault weapons) are easily shipped in our fair state. Handguns not on the roster can be shipped here as well, as long as it is going to a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO), who is exempt.
There is also a new way around the roster evolving, called the “Single Shot Exemption” where the gun is made to fire as a single shot pistol, and can therefore be imported. The owner, once in possession of the firearm, can then convert it back to it’s normal configuration (with the exception of such things as hi capacity magazines…etc.). This is exemption is still a new idea for California, but the CalGuns group is one of the more informative websites that helps spell this, as well as many other legal matters out.
One other note, California bans the sale of magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds to the general public. Even if you are shipping the firearm to a LEO, you’d better check with your receiving FFL to make sure they can accept the magazines, as some can’t.
The California CFLC Program
Next, any FFL shipping a weapon to a California must be on a list within the CA DOJ database, called the California Firearms License Check (CFLC) System. The purpose of this is to verify that whoever the shipper is sending the firearm to inside California, is a legitimate FFL that is legally able to receive the firearm. (Basically, it protects the shipper by preventing shipping to someone posing as an FFL, or who isn’t able to receive the firearm in question.)
This is actually a relatively easy and free process. (How many times do you hear “free” along with government program…) Just contact the state’s DOJ, and they will walk you through how to go through the system.
When you have a firearm to ship, whether it be a long gun or handgun, just contact the CFLC automated system with the weapon and FFL info. Then, the automated system will generate a letter of authorization with a specific authorization number to ship the weapon. Save this letter, as it is your protection that verifies the receiver is legit. Put a copy of the letter with the gun when you ship it as well.
Only to an FFL
It is of course a US Federal law that guns crossing state lines have to be shipped to an FFL dealer. That dealer will do the background check and state paperwork to legally transfer the gun. California, believe it or not, has a goodly number of FFL’s to service the public. They are scattered across the state, from venues such as a guy’s garage to large stores, so don’t let their location fool you. Just use the CFLC and BATFE systems to verify them if you have any doubts.
Assault Weapons in Cali…
OK, so you might figure that assault weapons are pretty much dead here. On the contrary! AR-15 style firearms, and now even AK-style rifles are enjoying a new heyday in California. This is because of the ingenuity of a few, who saw the raging demand here for such rifles, and found a way to make them work under the law. You see, any of these weapons are legal, as long two items are met. First, the gun cannot be listed by name as banned (see below for more information). Second, the weapon must have a “fixed” 10-round magazine. This has been determined the magazine can only be removed by means of a “tool”.
A replacement for the magazine release called a “bullet button,” makes this possible. The solid metal piece that inserts into the hole of the magazine release makes it so you must insert something long and narrow, like a bullet or punch, into the hole and thus activate the magazine release. These, and other similar items to make the magazine “permanent” have revolutionized weapons sales in CA. Guns stores are dedicating large portions of their inventory to the heinous “black rifle”, and they are raking in money hand over fist.
The source of the situation is from California’s assault weapon bans. Assault weapons were initially banned by specific name, then by similar series such as AK/AR type rifles, but finally, the legislature banned the guns by feature. Any semiautomatic centerfire weapon with a detachable magazine, which also has a: pistol grip, thumbhole stock, folding stock, grenade/flare launcher, flash suppressor, or a forward pistol grip was banned. That’s why any standard AR / AK is illegal, but most semi-auto rifles like the Ruger Mini-14 is perfectly legal. Some guns, such as any .50 BMG weapon, regardless of configuration, are still Assault weapons, whether single shot, bolt action, or semi-auto.
As an example, the California Penal Code regarding assault weapons that are rifles:
California Penal Code Section 30515.
(a) Notwithstanding Section 30510, “assault weapon” also means any of the following:
(1) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
(A) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
(B) A thumbhole stock.
(C) A folding or telescoping stock.
(D) A grenade launcher or flare launcher.
(E) A flash suppressor.
(F) A forward pistol grip.
(2) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
(3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.
One maker of excellent quality AR components, JD Machine Tech, is located here in San Diego. Their uppers and lowers are machined here in a nondescript warehouse near downtown and they are considered to be some of the industry’s best, being used by many big names.
So, if you are indeed sending an assault weapon to our fine state, it may very well be on the up and up. Some guns are even touted by the manufacturer as being “CA Compliant”. This usually means it has an apparatus such as the aforementioned “bullet button” or has had one of its “undesirable” attributes removed. These are legal in California for anyone who can otherwise own a gun. If, however, the gun is a standard AR, AK, or other s rifle, it can only be shipped to a CA Assault Weapons Dealer, and can only go to a LEO, or other person specified by statute.
If all Else Fails, Call the California DOJ
I have on numerous occasions had to call the California DOJ for firearms related questions. I have never been disappointed. Their staff has been courteous, helpful, and professional, I’ll even go so far as to say downright friendly. I just try to remember that they are merely the people tasked with deciphering and enforcing the myriad of Firearms laws passed by the people in Sacramento.
If you are unsure about a potential sale, or have questions about the CFLC program, just call them. They can steer you in the right direction. This is especially important in the continually evolving world of firearms. Their goal is to keep things legal, not to trap other sellers into some legal loophole.
Don’t Abandon California
OK, so we don’t have to agree that what our legislature does is exactly helpful. However, our state is not one flush with conservative thinking gun enthusiasts, so changing the laws is slow, painful, and will likely be at the point of the spear (rhetorically speaking) from court decisions in light of Heller and McDonald.
I won’t pretend to understand all the California firearms laws as they are many. However, by merely doing your due diligence with the CA DOJ, they can steer you in the right direction, and make shipping a firearm here easier, and without legal peril. There are other resources such as the CalGuns network, or FFL’s here who have learned the right way to do things. Open up to California’s firearms market, we have buyers waiting.
CA Penal Code (Assault Weapons) 30500-30530
CA DOJ Firearms Website: http://oag.ca.gov/firearms
CA DOJ Assault Weapon Guide (Online Form): http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/awguide
CA CFLC: http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/cflcoverview
Cal Guns Foundation Website: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/index.php