Gun ownership/transfer law (California)

Hey folks… I’m curious if any of our resident gunners can tell me what the laws are in regards to the SKS. My former brother-in-law has a Russian SKS, and I want to buy it from him.

It has the basic box-magazine (not the detachable one) and no bayonet.

Someone told me that I can’t buy it, that he can’t sell it, and when he wants to get rid of it he has to turn it over to the police so that it can be destroyed… anyone know if this is true?

And please, lets try to avoid the debate. You know, there’s a forum for that sort of thing… it’s called the Pit! :smiley:

I can’t answer that directly but IIRC the California attorney general has a webpage with a FAQ that answers that or will at least tell you who to ask. I’m pretty sure if his SKS is one defined as an assult weapon in california he would have been required to register it already. I can probably dig up the info but the anti-surfing software where I work makes “weapons” sites verboten.

I see SKSs for sale at gun shops all the time. On the other hand, California’s laws are so quirky that one gun might be okay to buy while an identical one might not. Given that the SKS in question has a non-detachable magazine and no bayonette (the ones I see at the shop have bayonettes, BTW) it’s probably transferable. Call your nearest gun shop and ask.

Assuming it’s legally transferable, you need to transfer it through a dealer. You and your brother will need to find a dealer who will handle transfers. You’ll fill out the federal form and DROS form for your background check and pay the DROS fee (which I think is $20), plus you’ll pay the dealer whatever he charges for handling the transfer. The dealer will take possession of the gun for 10 days (or 11, to be safe) and you can pick it up after the waiting period.

NB: If you ever buy a handgun in California, you’re only allowed to buy one per month.

  1. I want to sell a gun to another person, i.e., a private party transfer. Am I required to conduct the transaction through a licensed California firearms dealer?

Yes. Firearm sales must be conducted through a fully licensed California firearms dealer. Failure to do so is a violation of California law. The buyer (and seller, in the event that the buyer is denied), must meet the normal firearm purchase and delivery requirements. “Antique firearms,” as defined in Section 921(a)(16) of Title 18 of the United States Code, and curio or relic rifles/shotguns, defined in Section 178.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations that are over 50 years old, are exempt from this requirement.

Firearms dealers are required to process private party transfers upon request. Firearms dealers may charge a fee not to exceed $10 per firearm for conducting a private party transfer. Example:
a. For a private party transfer involving one or more handguns, the total allowable fees, including the DROS, safety, and dealer transfer fees, are not to exceed $30.00 for the first handgun and $26.00 for each additional handgun involved in the same transaction
b. For private party transfers involving one or more long guns, or a private party transfer involving one handgun and one or more long guns, the total allowable fees, including the DROS, safety, and dealer transfer fees, are not to exceed $30.00. The dealer may charge an additional dealer-service fee of $10.00 per each additional firearm transferred.
(PC section 12072(d))
Definition of ‘assault weapon’:

Specified as ‘assault weapon’:

If either of those apply, you can’t legally transfer the weapon. It looks like the only thing you have to consider is the magazine capacity.

We feel for you Johnny and Tristan:frowning:

SKS’s are a borderline case according to many “assault weapon” laws because, while most do come with a fixed 10 round magazine, it is trivial to replace this with either a larger fixed mag or a removable one. (The removable ones usually don’t work very well, BTW).

California allows private sales of Curio and Relics? That’s odd, considering their attitudes toward similar modern guns. Not that laws are supposed to make sense…

Anyway, while it is not explicitly stated in the Code of Federal Regulations*, I believe the ATF considers all Russian and Yugoslavian SKS’s to be Curio and Relics, and other countries’ SKS’s not to be (until they are 50 years old).

But Zwaldd’s link implies that California uses a different definition of the term - that the firearm must be over 50 years old AND meet CALIFORNIA’S interpetation of Title 27, which may be quite different from the BATF’s interpetation.

*Note that “Code of Federal Regulations” is not the same as “the U.S. Code”.

Why do you say that, BF? I am curious.

EJsGirl, we’re sorry for them because they live in California, which has very strict victim-disarmament laws.

I used to live in a similar state, NJ, until I moved to one of the freest states, NH. It was easy for me, though. I’m single and an engineer in a rather specialized field, which made it fairly easy to relocate.