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Effective January 1, 2005, the .50 Caliber BMG Regulation Act of 2004 regulates the .50 BMG rifles in essentially the same manner as assault weapons. The law generally prohibits the manufacturing, importation, sale and possession of .50 BMG rifles. The same basic exceptions that apply to assault weapons will also apply to the new .50 BMG rifle restrictions. For individuals who lawfully possessed .50 BMG rifles prior to January 1, 2005, the new law also provides for the registration and possession of their .50 BMG rifles.
A .50 BMG rifle is defined as a centerfire rifle that can fire a .50 BMG cartridge and is not already an assault weapon pursuant to Penal Code sections 12276, 12276.1, or 12276.5 PC, or a machinegun as defined by Penal Code section 12200. These sections of law may be accessed on this website’s on-line Dangerous Weapons Control Laws.
The .50 BMG rifle registration period is from January 1, 2005 through April 30, 2006.
The fee to register a .50 BMG rifle is $25 per person. The per person fee applies to any number of weapons on application form(s) and payment received together by DOJ at the same time. Additional lawful registrations received from the same registrant separately will cost an additional $25.
.50 BMG rifle registration applications can be obtained by contacting DOJ at (916) 263-4887. Most firearms dealerships will also have application forms for public distribution. Unfortunately, due to the physical characteristics of the registration application, .50 BMG rifle registration application forms are not available directly on the Bureau of Firearms website.
While the law generally allows only one individual to register a specific .50 BMG rifle, 12285 PC provides the option of a joint registration for .50 BMG rifles owned by family members over the age of 18 only if they reside in the same household. For a joint registration of .50 BMG rifles, each registrant must submit a completed application and the $25 registration fee.
Individuals must be 18 years of age by December 31, 2004 in order to qualify to register a .50 BMG rifle.
.50 BMG rifles already registered as assault weapons pursuant to the assault weapons laws in effect prior to January 1, 2005 DO NOT need to be registered again to satisfy the requirements of the .50 Caliber BMG Regulation Act of 2004.
No. The law provides that a .50 BMG rifle cannot be an assault weapon nor a machine gun. Therefore, while a .50 BMG rifle already registered as an assault weapon meets the requirements for .50 BMG rifle registration, a .50 BMG rifle registration alone does not meet the assault weapon registration requirements.
The last day to legally purchase a .50 BMG rifle from a licensed firearms dealer is December 31, 2004. This means the DROS must be accepted by DOJ by 11:59pm December 31, 2004. If a .50 BMG rifle purchased prior to January 1, 2005 is not picked up within the allowed 30 day period extending into January, 2005, that rifle cannot be delivered and the sale must be cancelled.
An acknowledgment letter that DOJ has received a .50 BMG rifle registration application should be returned within 30 days after DOJ receives the application. During late 2005 or early 2006, after registration system enhancements are complete, permanent registration confirmation letters, including assignment of .50 BMG rifle registration number, will be forwarded to all qualifying registrants.
No. Under California law, no rifle or shotgun purchaser information may be retained by DOJ. The DROS fee only covers the cost to determine whether or not a purchaser is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm at the time of the transaction. Once eligibility has been verified, DOJ is required by law to destroy all DROS information pertaining to long guns. The $25.00 application fee covers the costs of processing the application, conducting an eligibility background check, and creating and maintaining the database of registered .50 BMG rifles.
Yes, as a long as it is transported in accordance with Penal Code sections 12285 and 12026.1. These sections of law may be accessed on this website’s on-line Dangerous Weapons Control Laws.
Yes. A person who has a registered .50 BMG rifle may possess it only under certain conditions as specified in Penal Code section 12285. This section of law may be accessed on this website’s on-line Dangerous Weapons Control Laws.
No. Pawning .50 BMG rifles is not permitted because Penal Code section 12285(b)(3) provides that registered .50 BMG rifles can only be sold to a firearms dealer with a Department of Justice .50 BMG Rifle permit.
Yes. However, a .50 BMG rifle can only be left with a gunsmith who holds a .50 BMG Rifle Permit. Otherwise, the owner must remain with the firearm while it is being repaired. If the .50 BMG rifle must be shipped to the manufacturer for repairs, a firearms dealer with a .50 BMG Rifle Permit must handle the shipping.
No. Pursuant to California Penal Code section 12285(b)(3), any person who obtains title to a registered .50 BMG rifle by bequest or intestate succession shall, within 180 days, render the weapon permanently inoperable, sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer who has a permit from DOJ to purchase assault weapons/.50 BMG rifles, obtain a permit from DOJ to possess .50 BMG rifles, or remove the weapon from this state.
Unregistered .50 BMG rifles must be relinquished to law enforcement or removed from the state prior April 30, 2006.
Lawfully registered .50 BMG rifles can be disposed of as follows:
No. Except as provided by law, any .50 BMG rifle not registered by the April 30, 2006 deadline must be relinquished to a law enforcement agency. Failure to relinquish an unregistered .50 BMG rifle could result in arrest and a criminal prosecution. In specified circumstances a person who has been arrested for possession of an unregistered .50 BMG rifle may be eligible, through April 30, 2007, to have the charge reduced to an infraction if he or she meets the specific conditions described in Penal Code section 12280(c). One of these conditions requires that the person register the .50 BMG rifle with the DOJ.
A fully functional, serialized .50 BMG rifle receiver which does not already fall within the statutory definitions of a machine gun or an assault weapon may be lawfully purchased prior to January 1, 2005. It would be a violation of the law to utilize any receiver not already registered as an assault weapon in a configuration described by Penal Code section 12276.1, or specifically listed by Penal Code section 12276, or to utilize any machine gun receiver as part of a .50 BMG rifle.
A fully functional, serialized receiver which does not already fall within the statutory definitions of a machine gun or an assault weapon and is lawfully possessed prior to January 1, 2005, may be registered as a .50 BMG rifle during the statutorily authorized registration period. Please note that make, model, and serial number information are required for registering .50 BMG rifles or receivers.
Penal Code section 12278, effective January 1, 2005, defines as a .50 BMG rifle, "...a centerfire rifle that can fire a .50 BMG cartridge and is not already an assault weapon pursuant to Sections 12276, 12276.1, or 12276.5, or a machinegun, as defined in Section 12200." Therefore, it would be a violation of the law to utilize any receiver not already registered as an assault weapon in a configuration described by Penal Code section 12276.1, or to utilize any receiver specifically listed by Penal Code section 12276. It would also be illegal to utilize any machine gun receiver as part of a .50 BMG rifle. And, as stated previously, the serialized receiver must be fully functional to qualify for registration.
The statutes prescribe no such stamping or engraving requirement for those receivers which may be registered as a .50 BMG rifle.
The statute makes no prohibitions against utilizing receivers that can lawfully be a part of a .50 BMG rifle for other lawful uses. Please remember, however, that Penal Code section 12278 states a .50 BMG rifle cannot already be an assault weapon or a machine gun. Therefore, no registered .50 BMG receiver can ever be configured as an assault weapon or a machine gun.
In order to qualify for registration, a .50 BMG rifle or fully functioning, serialized receiver must be lawfully acquired before January 1, 2005. This means the DROS must be accepted by DOJ by 11:59pm December 31, 2004. If a .50 BMG rifle purchased prior to January 1, 2005 is not picked up within the allowed 30 day period extending into January, 2005, that rifle cannot be delivered and the sale must be cancelled.
A serial number. An individual may assign any unique serial number, such as a unique driver license number, to any home built firearm.
Only a fully functional, serialized receiver is considered a receiver for the purpose of California firearms laws.
A home built receiver must be fully functional and serialized to be considered lawfully possessed prior to January 1, 2005 for the purpose of .50 BMG rifle registration. For homemade rifles or receivers, "USA" or "homemade" should be denoted as the make on the registration application form, and either a model name or "homemade" or "unknown" should be denoted as the model on the registration application form.