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I have been in contact with a CA dealer concerning firearms transfers to and from that state. Hopefully, his cut and pasted reply will help clear the air about this apparently misunderstood procedure.

"What does it take for a private person to ship a firearm from Cal to Tenn? I only charge for the actual shipping charges and a $5 sevice charge. Send me the dealers name and phone number and I will handle the transaction. For a private party in CA to ship to Tenn, I would recommmend the person in CA ship only to a dealer in Tenn. They should put a copy of the dealer's FFL in with the gun."

"It is legal for a private party to ship to a dealer. Not all CA dealers will accept from a private party. There is a list of all approved handguns and information on banned semi-automatic rifles."

"If the gun is not on the approved list, it cannot be sold in CA. I have the person that purchased the gun contact the seller and try and return it for a refund. If the seller will not take it back, I sell it out of state. I caution all of my customers to check with me or DOJ before buying or ordering a gun from out of CA. I do accept firearms shipped from private parties. The law about getting a letter from DOJ before shipping to a dealer in CA, only applies to FFL holders. It does not apply to guns being imported from overseas or being shipped, to a dealer, by a private party."
 

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The bit about the need to get a letter from the DOJ is a new requirement. An out-of-state dealer has to get a verification approval number from CA before shipping the firearm to CA. Here is the text from the CA DOJ website:

As of July 1, 2008, California Penal Code Section 12072(f)(1) prohibits all Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs), other than Type 03 or 06 FFLs, from shipping firearms to an FFL in California unless, prior to delivery, the FFL intending to deliver, sell or transfer the firearms obtains a verification approval number from the California Department of Justice (CADOJ) Bureau of Firearms. This includes transfers that occur at gun shows.

The verification approval number, which the Bureau of Firearms provides in a Firearms Shipment Approval letter, confirms that the intended recipient of the firearm shipment is properly licensed and listed in the state's database of persons/entities authorized to receive firearm shipments. If the intended CA FFL recipient is not listed in the state's database, the transaction will result in a Do Not Ship letter, and it is a crime for the intended recipient to receive the firearms (Penal Code Section 12083(c)(1)).

And here's a link to the "approved list" (technically, the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale):

http://certguns.doj.ca.gov/

Applicable only to handguns (and there are some exceptions for C&R and "Olympic competition" pistols).

Here's a link to the exempt "Olympic competition" pistols:

http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/op.pdf
 

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The part about needing a letter was a reference to the shipment number required by the DOJ. Most people print out the DOJ shipping number and include a copy with the firearm.
Fred
 
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