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Firearm laws vary from state to state, and the purchase of a gun can be more difficult in certain areas than in others. When it comes to buying a gun from someone or buying a firearm as a gift, things can get confusing. Can you legally buy a gun for someone else? Is it legal to buy a gun from someone?

For those of you in California, we have the answers. Whether it’s to transfer a firearm, purchase a firearm, or buy a gun for someone else, here’s what you need to know regarding both federal law and state law. Read on to find out if buying a gun for someone is legal in California.

Federal law states that you can buy a firearm as a gift, so long as you, the buyer, are registered as such. Even if you’re technically buying the gun for someone else, you will be treated as the “actual buyer” in the transaction. Furthermore, you’ll also need to make sure that the gun will be treated as a bona fide gift.

A “gift” in the legal sense is something that you give to someone without any form of compensation, whether that be money or something else of monetary value. The recipient of the said gift must also not be legally prohibited to own a firearm.

It’s also worth noting that background checks are not required by federal law when it comes to private gun sales, but firearms dealers will need to do so.

can you legally buy a gun for someone else

California Gun Purchasing Laws

Of course, federal law can be overridden by state law, and California has some rules regarding guns and gun laws. For example, open carrying is generally considered prohibited in California. When it comes to purchasing guns, you’ll have to do so through a dealer, even if the sale is private. All sales must be recorded by the state.

Can You Buy a Gun as a Gift for a Friend or Family Member in California?

Can you buy a gun as a gift? Can I buy a gun for someone else? The answer, simply put, is yes, but the method of doing so isn’t the same as in other states. Whether it’s for yourself or as a gift, you’ll need to transfer the firearm via a local retailer or dealer. This is a requirement, and you will need to do this for dealer sales and private sales. The same sort of requirement is followed in states such as New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Colorado, among others.

So if you’re wondering, “Can I buy a gun for someone else?” in California, you can – just through a licensed retailer or dealer.

buying a gun for someone

Out-of-State Guns Must Come Into California Through a Dealer

California has laws pertaining to bringing firearms into the state. Can you legally buy a gun for someone else? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you can bring them to California as you, please. Residents of California must ship their firearms to a licensed dealer, after which the dealer will perform a background check.

It can take around 10 days before you can get your firearm back, but you can be exempt from this requirement in a few ways. If you are listed in a firearms registry and own the guns you plan on bringing, then you’re good. If you have a California license for a handgun, then you’re in the clear, too.

Penalties for Bringing Guns Into California Illegally

Most of the time, the penalty for bringing guns to California illegally is a misdemeanor. This means up to six months in county jail and/or a $1000 fine. However, if you were convicted of the same crime or are not legally allowed to own a gun, then you’ll be charged with a felony instead.

If you have questions such as “Is it legal to buy a gun from someone?” or “Can you legally buy a gun for someone else?” then don’t worry. At Manshoory Law, we can provide legal assistance. If you’re not sure why are California gun laws the way they are, we’ve got you covered. Contact us if you’re looking for a reliable criminal defense attorney.


Shaheen Manshoory
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