Laws regarding reselling of firearms

I live in CA. If I legally own a firearm (shotgun or pistol) and want to later resell it because I no longer want to own it, what legal procedures must I do to comply with applicable state laws?

Is there limits as to who I can resell my firearm to? Are there oversight agencies which I must notify of the sale?


I’ve never resold a firearm, but what I recall from the hunter’s safety class I took several years ago, you have to go through a licensed firearms dealer. They run a background check on the new owner, change the name the gun’s registered in and will notify any agencies that need to be notified.

As to who you can resell it to, nobody that couldn’t buy it new. That means no felons, minors, insane folks, or people with restraining orders against them.

I think the dealer will charge a fee, but it’s a fairly small one.

Maybe in California but around here there is no laws against dealing between provate individuals. Advertise them right in the paper to sell.

Same here in Missouri. See them advertised in the paper all the time.

Listen to Ender_Will, you must go through a dealer to transfer a firearm in California. Federal law does not prohibit private sales to someone who is not prohibited from owning a firearm in your own state but that’s not the end of it.

There are services such as that can be used to facilitate sales but you still have to go through a dealer to make most transfers, particularly across state lines. This is one way to advertise to a national market and still be legal. I live in Arizona so I don’t have to necessarily go through a dealer on this end as you would in California. Once a sale is negotiated the buyer has his local dealer send me a copy of his federal firearms dealer’s license signed in ink. I keep the original for my records and make a copy for my shipper. I ship to the dealer which is legal under federal law. The dealer places the gun in his inventory and transfers it to the buyer on a form 4473. In your case it will be a dealer to dealer transfer before the buyer gets the gun.

In N.Y., you need a federal firearms licence to sell or buy a pistol. Rifles and shotguns can change hands without the intervention of a licenced person. I’ve done it a few times (with pistols) with a friend of mine (an FFL holder.)

Why not visit the California DOJ Firearms Division web site?

Also check out the California State Law Summary site where I found this tidbit:

“When neither party to a transaction is a licensed firearms dealer, firearms transfers must be completed through either a licensed dealer or a law enforcement agency.”

      • As noted, in CA you must transfer through a licensed gun dealer.
  • This was the source of one of Arnie’s main pre-election gaffes: once when he was asked how he felt about gun control, he said he wanted to “continue the assault weapons ban and close the gun show loophole”. -->The “gun show loophole” being where in many states, a person can set up a table at a gun show and sell guns to others without doing background checks, because it’s considered a “individual-to-individual” sale, and not a dealer since the seller doesn’t engage in it regularly or attempt to live mainly off their earnings.
    —Except that CA has no “gun show loophole” already, because all transfers of any kind have to be done through a dealer, who would be required by law to do the background check anyway. CA’s laws on the matter are already stricter than federal laws… This is the very reason anti-gunners shouldn’t be involved in making gun laws–they frequently do not know what they are talking about.