For those considering buying a firearm in California, it’s important to know all the rules and regulations involved in the purchase, registration and possession of firearms in the state. Having the ammunition to navigate through the system can make the path to gun ownership much easier instead of an exercise in live fire.
Most of the information needed can be found online at the California Department of Justice Firearms Bureau webpage, https://oag.ca.gov/firearms. Visitors to the page can find information on laws, the Firearm Safety Certificate Program, information and applications for certificates of eligibility and even an easy-to-use roster of handguns certified for sale within the state.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, all firearms purchases and transfers, including private party transactions and gun show sales, must be made through a licensed dealer under the Dealer Record of Sale process.
The Dealer Record of Sale process simply means that private party transactions between a seller and a buyer must be processed by a firearms dealer. Antique gun sales, or the sale of guns over 50 years of age, are exempt from the Dealer Record of Sale process.
California imposes a 10-day waiting period before a firearm can be released to a buyer or transferee, and a person must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun. To buy a handgun, a person must be at least 21 years of age, and either possess a Handgun Safety Certificate and have successfully completed a safety demonstration with the handgun being purchased or qualify for a Handgun Safety Certificate exemption.
Those eligible for a HSC exemption include special weapons permit holders, executor or administrators of an estate, secured creditors, agents or employees where firearms are possessed as collateral under a security agreement under the commercial code, a trustee in a bankruptcy performing their duties and many others. Check www.ag.ca.gov to verify HSC exemption eligibility.
Under state and federal laws, any person convicted of any misdemeanor listed in California Penal Code 29805, including domestic violence misdemeanors or any felony are ineligible to own or possess a firearm. Anyone addicted to the use of any narcotic or who has been held involuntarily as a danger to themselves or others is also prohibited from buying, owning or possessing a firearm.
Other prohibitions exist for mental conditions, domestic restraining or protective orders, conditions of probation and offenses committed as a juvenile.
Recreational shooting is allowed in Riverside County on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Access to the public lands must be via public roads. Crossing private lands to access public lands is not permitted without express permission from the private landowner.
According to the Bureau of Land Management, two target practice areas in Riverside County are open to the public: Berdoo Canyon in Joshua Tree National Park and Fargo Canyon in Indio. Before heading out to either site for recreational shooting, check with the nearest Bureau of Land Management Field office for current conditions, regulations, fire hazard closures and other information.
The Bureau of Land Management Palm Springs South Coast field office can be reached by calling (760) 833-7100 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Numerous private shooting ranges are also open throughout Riverside County, though most charge a fee or require a membership for access. Most shooting ranges can be found using a quick Google search on any computer.
These are just a few of the requirements for gun ownership in the state of California, for more information on owning or purchasing a gun, be sure to visit the office of the Attorney General website at www.ag.ca.gov.