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How & when to purchase a firearm for a special occasion

Gary Heffley, gun purchases, Sportsman's warehouse, california fire arms, outdoors recreation

By Gary Heffley
There are many gift givers and gift recipients every year who expect to give or get a gun for Christmas (or other special occasion) who, because they are unfamiliar with gun purchasing laws in the state of California, become discouraged or are left disappointed. This needn’t be the case if you are aware of the exact meaning of the 10-day waiting period.

To start, California has strict requirements and background checks for purchasers of all firearms in the state. There are also strict laws for who can or who cannot legally own or possess firearms. For example, it is illegal to purchase a gun for another person who cannot qualify for ownership. In fact, firearms can only be purchased as gifts for immediate family such as father or mother, son or daughter or grandparent or grandchild.

But most Christmas disappointments (as well as those buying for other special reasons) come from qualified purchasers who forget that there is a 10 day waiting requirement for purchasing and picking up a firearm. Ten days means 240 hours (or 14,400 minutes) between filing paperwork and pickup of the fire arm. And a few minutes can make a difference. Just because you filed for the purchase at 9:00 p.m. December 14 does not mean you can come in at 10 a.m. on Christmas Eve to pick it up. You will probably be out of luck as the earliest you can pick it up would be at 9:00 p.m., at least 14,400 minutes after the purchase was made and the paperwork (Dealer Registration of Sale) was sent to the California Department of Justice for the state’s background checking system and approval. By then on Christmas Eve most stores are closed. By law the stores cannot release the firearm any earlier no matter the reason or the amount of pleading that is done.

Knowing when a store is closing on Christmas Eve or on other business days helps to prevent such disappointment; better yet, do not wait for the last minute especially when firearms are concerned. Remember the 10 day waiting period is to the minute. For example, in 2013, Sportsman’s Warehouse in Redding closed at 4:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve so anything purchased after 4:00 p.m. on December 14 could not (by law) be picked up until after Christmas.

Be smart purchase your firearm early regardless of the occassion. The same waiting period applies to other special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries, so be sure to remember minutes count when buying a firearm.

Gary Heffley has been a valued contributor to MyOutdoorBuddy for over five years serving as manager, sales representative and reporter for much of Northern California. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish and write about his adventures. He has long history in the Sporting Goods field and is presently managing the Gift Bar and Camping Department at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Redding.


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