California law places limitations on bulk purchases of certain types of firearms.
California law has for decades1 generally prohibited people from purchasing more than one handgun from a licensed dealer per month,2 and accordingly, restricts dealers from selling a handgun to a buyer if they are notified by the California Department of Justice that the buyer has already applied to acquire another handgun from a dealer within the preceding 30-day period.3
California also recently expanded this law to apply to purchases of both handguns and semiautomatic rifles. Since July 1, 2021, this one-firearm-per-month law has limited people from acquiring a handgun or semiautomatic centerfire rifle from a licensed dealer if they already acquired another handgun or semiautomatic centerfire rifle in the previous 30 days.4.)) Dealers are, accordingly, also prevented from selling either type of firearm if they are notified that the buyer has already applied to acquire a handgun or semiautomatic centerfire rifle from a dealer within the preceding 30 days.5 Starting January 1, 2024, these limitations will apply to all firearms, including completed and unfinished frames and receivers.6
However, these restrictions do not apply to the secondary market of firearm transfers between unlicensed parties (individuals without a firearm dealer license), even when those transactions are processed through a licensed dealer in accordance with California law.7
Firearms dealers are required to post a notification on their premises, in block letters at least one inch in height, that notifies purchasers of these bulk purchase restrictions.8
Our experts can speak to the full spectrum of gun violence prevention issues. Have a question? Email us at email@example.com.Contact
- Since passage of AB 202 in 1999, effective January 1, 2000.
- Cal. Penal Code § 27535.
- Cal. Penal Code § 27540(f).
- See 2019 CA SB 61; Cal. Penal Code § 27535.
- Cal. Penal Code § 27540.
- See 2022 AB 1621, SEC. 18 – 21. The term “firearm” is defined for these purposes to include both completed and unfinished frames and receivers (or “firearm precursor parts”). See Cal. Penal Code § 16520(b)(15) (as amended by 2022 AB 1621, SEC. 6).
- Cal. Penal Code § 27535. There are a number of other exceptions to these restrictions laid out in this section, including, but not limited to, exceptions for law enforcement agencies, private security companies, licensed collectors, and for the replacement of a lost or stolen firearm. Id.
- Cal. Penal Code § 26835(g).