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Private party transfer of firearm for California residents.

In the state of California, a non-licensed individual is allowed to sell firearms to another non-licensed individual but must use an FFL dealer in San Jose or in your city who is licensed firearm dealer as an intermediary to make the transfer legal (Penal Code 28050). FFL dealers are like me, FFL Dealer Sunnyvale who process Form 4473 only and there are FFL dealers who works in a gun stores. Both types of dealers are all obligated to do private party transfers.

  • You’ll need your California ID
  • FSC – Firearm Safety Certificate
  • Both seller and buyer during the transfer
  • The buyer cannot be a prohibited person (person with a criminal record or a warrant for his/her arrest).

Just to let you know that there are a few types of Private Party Transfer (PPT) with having variation of California law. These are:

Private Party Transfer are between two California residents. This type of transfer are your most typical firearm transfers.

These are to individuals who are transferring their firearms which requires an FFL dealer to process the background check.

PPT between family members who reside in California which does NOT require an FFL dealer. This is sometimes called Intrastate familial transfer with completely different sets of rules than the PPT between two non-related individuals.

PPT between family members where one lives here in California and the other family member lives in another state. This is sometimes called Interstate familial transfer with a slightly different rules compared to a typical PPT.

I will only discuss about the typical PPT between two California residents. I will go into details about familial transfer in two separate videos since the rules are different with intrastate familial versus interstate familial transfer.

How can someone sell their used gun or firearm in California? Well, there are several ways to go about it.

You can find a consignment FFL dealer in San Jose or in your city to sell your gun (dealers who are in business of consignment requires additional permit from California which most FFL do not possess.


Find a buyer who is not a prohibited individual willing to pay your price. This could be your friend or neighbor. You can also go online.

  • Calguns or Gunbroker as two online sites as an example where you can sell your guns.

Once you have a buyer, you must then find an FFL dealer in your area who agrees to transfer your firearm.

Schedule an appointment with the dealer making sure that the buyer and the dealer will be present at the same time. This is a requirement by the California Department of Justice.

What are required for the buyer and seller when both arrive at the FFL dealer office? You will need the following to bring to your FFL dealer in San Jose.

  • California ID or driver’s license with your current address.
  • If your ID does not have your current address, then your car’s registration with your current address will be needed. Read more here:
  • Both parties must be present for the transfer to occur per CA DOJ requirement.
  • Buyer will require a firearm safety certificate (FSC).
  • Buyer must not be a prohibited individual – meaning they have not been convicted of a crim (felony or misdemeanor and that they have not been dishonorably discharged from the military) or have a warrant for your arrest because you didn’t pay your speeding ticket. See this link:
  • Payment

The FFL will be required to file the necessary paperwork via Form 4473 background check. Once the Form is submitted, the buyer is required to wait 10 days prior possessing the firearm.

Somethings you need to know:

FFL dealer in San Jose or any dealer in any California city cannot charge no more than $10 fee for intrastate private party transfer but this fee does not include the DROS fees. The total ncludes both the FFL fee and the DROS is $47.19.
Penal Code 28055
A licensee (FFL Dealer) shall agree to and shall act properly and promptly in processing firearms transactions pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 28050)
Specifically – Penal Code 26825
It is essentially EVERY FFL dealer’s obligation to process Private Party Transfer.
Unfortunately, there are many FFL dealers who are refusing or circumventing intrastate PPT since it is time consuming for only $10. Remember that the average FFL dealer fee is about $80 just to cover their cost to do business. Perhaps, you can give the dealer a good online review on Google and Yelp to return the favor.
Both the buyer and seller who are California resident must be present for the transfer to occur.
Buyer cannot be prohibited individual and must be the age of 21 years of age or older.
Required documents must be provided during the appointment.
Proof of California residency required if your CA driver’s license does not include your current address:

Private party transfer has a few exemptions from the State law. These are:

PPT exempt from 1 handgun in 30 days
Penal Code 27535(b)(8)
This does NOT apply to City of Los Angeles.
Private Party Transfer are exempt from the Roster.
(Penal Code 12132(a))
Private Party Transfer transactions are subject to the 10-day wait period.

You can read more about these laws by reading CHAPTER 5. Procedure For a Private Party Firearms Transaction [28050 – 28070]