Frequently Asked Questions

Assault Weapons and .50 BMG

  1. What is considered an assault weapon under California law?

    There are three categories of assault weapons under California law:

  2. What are AK and AR-15 series weapons?

    These assault weapons are listed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the California Code of Regulations, title 11, section 5499.

  3. What is considered a .50 BMG rifle under California law?

    A .50 BMG rifle is defined as a centerfire rifle that can fire a .50 BMG cartridge and is not already an assault weapon or a machinegun as defined by Penal Code section 16880. A ".50 BMG cartridge" means a cartridge that is designed and intended to be fired from a centerfire rifle and that meets all of the following criteria:

    1. It has an overall length of 5.54 inches from the base to the tip of the bullet.
    2. The bullet diameter for the cartridge is from .510 to, and including, .511 inch.
    3. The case base diameter for the cartridge is from .800 inch to, and including, .804 inch.
    4. The cartridge case length is 3.91 inches. (Pen. Code, §§ 30525, 30530.)
  4. Can assault weapons and .50 BMG rifles still be registered?

    Generally, no. The public registration periods for assault weapons and .50 BMG rifles ended several years ago as follows:

    • Category 1 AW: must have been owned by 12/31/1991 and registered by 03/31/1992
    • Category 2 AW: must have been owned by 08/16/2000 and registered by 01/23/2001
    • Category 3 AW: must have been owned by 12/31/1999 and registered by 12/31/2000
    • .50 BMG: must have been owned by 12/31/2004 and registered by April 30, 2006

    However, Penal Code sections 30625 and 30630 provide an exception for specified peace officers with written authorization from the head of their employing agency.

  5. I already paid the Dealer's Record of Sale (DROS) fee and went through a DOJ record check when I purchased the firearm. Does that satisfy the registration requirement?

    No. 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. Additionally, prior to January 1, 2014, rifle or shotgun purchaser information could not be retained by DOJ.

  6. How can I get confirmation of my AW/.50 BMG rifle registration?

    You should have received confirmation from DOJ at the time you registered the AW/.50 BMG rifle. To receive another copy of the registration confirmation, contact DOJ at (916) 227-2153.

  7. Are there any restrictions on the use of a registered assault weapon/.50 BMG rifle?

    Yes. A person who has a registered assault weapon or registered .50 BMG rifle may possess it only under the conditions specified in Penal Code section 30945.

  8. Can I travel outside of California with a registered assault weapon/.50 BMG rifle and then bring it back into California?

    Yes, as a long as it is transported in accordance with Penal Code sections 16850, 25610, and 30945, subdivision (g).

  9. Can I take a registered assault weapon/.50 BMG rifle to a gunsmith for repairs?

    Yes. However, you cannot leave it with the gunsmith unless he or she holds an assault weapon permit or BMG rifle permit respectively. Otherwise, you must remain with the firearm while it is being repaired. If the firearm must be shipped to the manufacturer for repairs, a firearms dealer with an assault weapon permit or .50 BMG rifle permit must handle the shipping.

  10. Can I pawn my registered assault weapon/.50 BMG rifle?

    No. Neither assault weapons nor .50 BMG rifles can be pawned.

  11. Can I sell or transfer my assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle to a family member?

    No. Neither assault weapons nor .50 BMG rifles can be sold or transferred to a family member. Registered assault weapons or Registered .50 BMG rifles can be sold to certain California Peace Officers with written approval from the head of their law enforcement agency. See Penal Code sections 30625 and 30630 for more information. These transfers would have to occur at a licensed gun dealer that has a Dangerous Weapons Permit. An average gun store cannot accept and transfer these types of weapons (Pen. Code, § 30910).

  12. Can I keep a registered assault weapon/.50 BMG rifle that I inherited?

    No. Pursuant to California Penal Code sections 30915 and 30935, any person who obtains title to a registered assault weapon or registered .50 BMG rifle by bequest or intestate succession shall, within 90 days (for assault weapons) or 180 days (for .50 BMG rifles) do one or more of the following:

    1. Render the weapon permanently inoperable.
    2. Sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer who has a permit from DOJ to purchase assault weapons/.50 BMG rifles.
    3. Obtain a permit from DOJ to possess assault weapons/.50 BMG rifles, in the same manner as specified in Penal Code sections 32650 – 32670.
    4. Lawfully remove the weapon from this state.

  13. What should I do if I don’t want to keep my assault weapon/.50 BMG rifle?

    If you have an unregistered assault weapon/.50 BMG rifle, you must relinquish it to law enforcement.

    If you have a registered assault weapon/.50 BMG rifle, you have the following options:

    1. Sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer who has a permit from DOJ to purchase assault weapons/.50 BMG rifles.
    2. Make arrangements with your local police department or sheriff's office to relinquish your assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle. Call first. Do not go to the police department or sheriff’s office without first making prior arrangements.
    3. Lawfully remove the weapon from this state.
    4. Render the weapon permanently inoperable.

  14. If the characteristics that make my firearm a category 3 assault weapon are removed, can I cancel the registration? Can I sell it as regular (non-assault weapon) firearm?

    Yes. If the defining characteristics establishing a firearm as a category 3 assault weapon are removed, it is no longer an assault weapon and the registration may be canceled. However, once the registration is canceled, you can never replace the characteristic(s) that make it an assault weapon, or you will be in possession of an illegal weapon. To cancel an assault weapon registration, contact DOJ at (916) 227-2153. Once the registration has been canceled, the firearm can be sold or transferred like any other firearm (non-assault weapon).

  15. What is the Kasler v. Lockyer California Supreme Court decision and what does it do?

    This court decision upholds the constitutionality of the Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989. As a result, DOJ is obligated to enforce the statute with respect to identification of category 3 assault weapons (AK and AR-15 series weapons). These assault weapons are listed in the California Code of Regulations, title 11, section 5499.

Back To Top



  1. What is a Military Assault Weapon Permit?

    A Military Assault Weapon Permit allows possession of a personal assault weapon for use in military sanctioned activities only, by active members of the military permanently stationed in California who have express permission from their Military Base Commander. The following documentation and fees must be provided:

    • Submit your fingerprint impressions before submitting this application. To submit fingerprint impressions, you must take a completed Request for Live Scan Service form (BCII 8016) to a Live Scan station. Refer to http://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints for Live Scan station location information. Request the Live Scan station submit your fingerprint impressions to both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI. You must pay the Live Scan operator a $73.00 DOJ fingerprinting fee as well as the Live Scan operator's fee (note: Live Scan operator fees vary by Live Scan site, and the DOJ does not regulated or set this fee).
    • Completed Military Assault Weapon Permit Application (BOF 4082).
    • Current copy of applicant's official military identification card.
    • Official letter signed by the applicant's Base Commander, establishing that a bona fide necessity exists for use of personal assault weapons in sanctioned military activities. The letter must include a current telephone number for the Base Commander's office.
    • Copy of Permanent Change of Military Station/Duty Orders.

  2. Does a Military Assault Weapon Permit expire?

    Yes. A Military Assault Weapon Permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance or the termination of permanent active duty military stationing in the State of California, whichever occurs first. For renewal, prior to the permit’s expiration, the following documentation must be mailed to DOJ along with the Military Assault Weapon Permit Application (renewal) (BOF 4082):

    • Current copy of applicant's official military identification card.
    • Official letter signed by the applicant's Base Commander, establishing that a bona fide necessity exists for continued use of personal assault weapons in sanctioned military activities. The letter must include a current telephone number for the Base Commander's office.
    • Copy of Permanent Change of Military Station/Duty Orders.
    • Completed copy of Report of Use of Personal Assault Weapons in Military Sanctioned Activities (BOF 047).

    If the renewal application is received after the expiration date, there is a $25 renewal fee.

  3. If I have a valid Military Assault Weapon Permit can I purchase or acquire additional assault weapons while permanently stationed in California?

    No, a Military Assault Weapon permit does not allow the permit holder to purchase in or import additional assault weapons into California.

Back To Top



Bullet Button Assault Weapons

  1. What is considered an assault weapon under California law?
  2. What are AK and AR-15 series weapons?
  3. How and when do I register a firearm that is affected by AB 1135/SB 880?
  4. Can I send in a manual registration form?
  5. What forms of payment will be accepted for the registration fee?
  6. What if I don’t have a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit card?
  7. How much does it cost to register a firearm affected by AB 1135/SB 880?
  8. Will I be able to register multiple firearms affected by AB 1135/SB 880 at the same time?
  9. Once I have submitted my registration, how will I know that my firearm has been successfully registered?
  10. Once I have registered my firearm, do I ever have to register it again?
  11. If I already have a registered assault weapon, do I have to register it again under this new registration period?
  12. Can any other assault weapons, aside from those affected by AB 1135/SB 880, be registered under this new registration period?
  13. How complete will the firearm need to be to be registered as an assault weapon under the new law?
  14. Are there any options other than registering an AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon?
  15. What if I don’t register my AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon during the specified registration period?
  16. Once I register my AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon, can I replace the bullet button style release with a traditional magazine release?
  17. Can I joint-register a firearm that is affected by AB 1135/SB 880?
  18. What are the joint registration requirements?
  19. Who is considered a “family member” for the purpose of joint-registering an assault weapon?
  20. What if my AB 1135/SB 880 firearm(s) does not have a serial number engraved, can I still register it?
  21. I already placed a personal serial number on my assault weapon. Do I still have to obtain a DOJ serial number and have it engraved?
  22. Can I create my own serial number?
  23. How can I obtain a serial number for my self-built AB 1135/SB 880 firearm(s)?
  24. Where can I get my DOJ serial number engraved?
  25. What are the serial number engraving specifications?
  26. What is considered a “self-built” firearm?
  27. Can I take my AB 1135/SB 880 firearm to a shooting range up until the conclusion of the registration period, if the assault weapon is not registered yet?
  28. Can a registered AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon be rented at a gun range after January 1, 2017?
  29. Can I pawn or consign a firearm that is affected by AB 1135/SB 880 after June 30, 2018?
  30. Can a firearms dealer install the patriot mag lock for a customer after January 1, 2017 as long as the owner stays with the firearm?
  31. Can I keep a registered assault weapon that I inherited?
  32. What should I do if I do not want to keep my assault weapon?
  33. I changed my registered assault weapon to no longer qualify as an assault weapon. Do I have to inform DOJ?
  34. What changes can I make to my assault weapon after I register it?
  35. Can I transport my registered assault weapon the same way as before I registered it?
  36. What notifications must I make in order to bring my AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon into California legally?
  37. Will AB 1135/SB 880 impact the ability for law enforcement officers, identified in Penal Code section 30625, to purchase assault weapons as they do now, with an agency letter?
  38. In 2017, will law enforcement agencies be able to release unregistered firearms affected by SB 1135/AB 880 to members of the public through the Law Enforcement Gun Release process? What if it is built from an unfinished receiver and has no serial number?
  1. What is considered an assault weapon under California law?

    There are three categories of assault weapons under California law:

    • Category One: Firearms specified on the original Roberti-Roos assault weapons list. [Penal Code, section 30510, subdivisions (a), (b), and (c)].
    • Category Two: Firearms specified on the AK and AR-15 series weapons listing [Penal Code section 30510, subdivisions (e) and (f)].
    • Category Three:
      • Firearms defined as assault weapons based on specific generic characteristics, often called “SB 23 assault weapons.” (Penal Code section 30515).
      • Firearms that do not have a fixed magazine, as defined in Penal Code section 30515, including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be readily removed from the firearm with the use of a tool. Assembly Bill 1135 / Senate Bill 880 [Penal Code, section 30900(b)(1)].

  2. What are AK and AR-15 series weapons?

    These assault weapons are listed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the California Code of Regulations, title 11, law division 5, firearms regulations chapter 40, assault weapons identification 11, sections 5495 and 5499. The consolidated assault weapons list is available here:
    https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/infobuls/kaslist.pdf.


  3. How and when do I register a firearm that is affected by AB 1135/SB 880?

    All registrations must be submitted electronically through the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS) at https://cfars.doj.ca.gov. The registration fee is $15 for each transaction (for each person) [See also: FAQ Question 8]. The registration period began August 2017 and will end on June 30, 2018.


  4. Can I send in a manual registration form?

    No. Firearms affected by AB 1135/SB 880 must be registered electronically through CFARS at https://cfars.doj.ca.gov/login.do.


  5. What forms of payment will be accepted for the registration fee?

    Payment can be made using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover debit/credit card.


  6. What if I don’t have a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit card?

    Prepaid cards/gift cards for Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover can be purchased at local stores. These cards are also acceptable forms of payment.


  7. How much does it cost to register a firearm affected by AB 1135/SB 880?

    The registration fee is $15 for each transaction (for each person). There is a $15 fee for each joint registrant.


  8. Will I be able to register multiple firearms affected by AB 1135/SB 880 at the same time?

    Yes. You can register multiple firearms during the same transaction. However, if you log out of the system and then submit more registrations, in the same day or on a different day, you will be charged another $15 fee.


  9. Once I have submitted my registration, how will I know that my firearm has been successfully registered?

    Once you have submitted your electronic registration, you will immediately receive a submission confirmation email acknowledging the successful submission of your registration. When your registration has been processed, you will be notified via U.S. mail that your assault weapon has been registered.


  10. Once I have registered my firearm, do I ever have to register it again?

    No.


  11. If I already have a registered assault weapon, do I have to register it again under this new registration period?

    No. This registration period is specific to Penal Code section 30900 (b)(1).


  12. Can any other assault weapons, aside from those affected by AB 1135/SB 880, be registered under this new registration period?

    No. Weapons that previously required registration such as named assault weapons pursuant to Penal Code 30510 (cat 1 and cat 2) are not eligible for registration during the 2017-2018 registration period. Reference Penal Code section 30900 (b).


  13. How complete will the firearm need to be to be registered as an assault weapon under the new law?

    The firearm must be fully functional and semi automatic. Lower receivers, including “80 percent lowers,” cannot be registered because they are not fully functional and semi automatic.

    Registration is allowed for a firearm defined as an assault weapon only if it does not have a fixed magazine and does have one of the additional features specified in Penal Code section 30515.


  14. Are there any options other than registering an AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon?

    Yes. By June 30, 2018 you can:

    • Remove the characteristic(s) specified in Penal Code section 30515 that make the firearm an assault weapon (contact ATF for a determination as to whether making these changes would require a Type 07 FFL to manufacture).
    • Modify the firearm(s) so that it has a "fixed magazine" pursuant to Penal Code section 30515(b) (contact ATF for a determination as to whether making these changes would require a Type 07 FFL to manufacture).
    • Lawfully remove the weapon from this state or sell it to a DOJ approved Dangerous Weapons Permittee.
    • Make arrangements with the local police department or sheriff's office to relinquish the AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon. Call first. Do not go to the police department or sheriff’s office without first making prior arrangements.

  15. What if I don’t register my AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon during the specified registration period?

    If you are found in possession of an unregistered AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon after June 30, 2018 (end of the registration period), you will be in violation of Penal Code section 30605. Depending on the circumstances, the first conviction can result in a $500 fine or up to one year imprisonment in a county jail and confiscation of the firearm.


  16. Once I register my AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon, can I replace the bullet button style release with a traditional magazine release?

    No. This registration is specific to “bullet button” firearms. As such, the firearm must remain in its current “bullet button” configuration. California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 39, article 2, section 5477(b) allows for repairs and replacement of the bullet button mechanism. California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 39, article 2, section 5477(c) details what can occur during deregistration.


  17. Can I joint-register a firearm that is affected by AB 1135/SB 880?

    Yes. Pursuant to Penal Code section 30955, the option for joint registration is authorized. The registration fee is $15 for each transaction (for each person). There is a $15 fee for each joint registrant.


  18. What are the joint registration requirements?

    Pursuant to Penal Code section 30955, the assault weapon must be owned by family members residing in the same household.


  19. Who is considered a “family member” for the purpose of joint-registering an assault weapon?

    Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 39, article 2, section 5474.1, “family member” is defined as:

    • Parent
    • Child
    • Grandparent
    • Grandchild
    • Spouse
    • Domestic Partner
    • Sibling

  20. What if my AB 1135/SB 880 firearm(s) does not have a serial number engraved, can I still register it?

    No. Firearms without government issued serial numbers (engraved or otherwise applied to the firearm) pursuant to federal law at the time of application shall not be registered by DOJ until such time as a DOJ provided serial number has been applied in a manner consistent with state and federal law. Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 11, section 5474.2, if you have a Firearm Manufactured By Unlicensed Subject (FMBUS) you will need to apply for a Department issued serial number prior to initiating the assault weapon registration process. Please contact the DOJ at DOJserialnumber@doj.ca.gov to obtain a Department issued serial number.


  21. I already placed a personal serial number on my assault weapon. Do I still have to obtain a DOJ serial number and have it engraved?

    Yes. You must still request a DOJ issued serial number and it must be engraved on the assault weapon in accordance with California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 39, article 2, section 5474.2.


  22. Can I create my own serial number?

    No. AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapons must have a federal type “07” manufacturer issued serial number or DOJ issued serial number pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 39, article 2, section 5474.2.


  23. How can I obtain a serial number for my self-built AB 1135/SB 880 firearm(s)?

    Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 11, section 5474.2, if you have a Firearm Manufactured By Unlicensed Subject (FMBUS) you will need to apply for a DOJ issued serial number prior to initiating the registration process. Please contact the DOJ at DOJserialnumber@doj.ca.gov to obtain a Department issued serial number.


  24. Where can I get my DOJ serial number engraved?

    DOJ serial numbers can be engraved by Federal Firearms Manufacturers. Persons who have manufactured their own firearms may also use non-licensed parties to apply the serial number or markings as long as the firearm is not left unattended during the engraving process.

    Weapons must be engraved pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 39, article 2, section 5474.2. Proof of compliance will be required at time of registration in the form of uploaded photographs.


  25. What are the serial number engraving specifications?

    Reference California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 39, article 2, section 5474.2


  26. What is considered a “self-built” firearm?

    “Self-built” assault weapon means the firearm was manufactured by an unlicensed subject from an unfinished lower receiver. Serialized firearms (manufactured by an FFL) later assembled into a functional semiautomatic firearm are not considered “self-built.”

    Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 11, section 5474.2 if you have a Firearm Manufactured By Unlicensed Subject (FMBUS) you will need to apply for a Department issued FMBUS serial number prior to initiating the registration process. Please contact the DOJ at DOJserialnumber@doj.ca.gov to obtain a Department issued serial number.


  27. Can I take my AB 1135/SB 880 firearm to a shooting range up until the conclusion of the registration period, if the assault weapon is not registered yet?

    Yes. During the registration period, firearms affected by AB 1135/SB 880 may still be used at shooting ranges by the owner.


  28. Can a registered AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon be rented at a gun range after January 1, 2017?

    No. Penal Code section 30945 does not authorize possession of a registered assault weapon for use as a rental.


  29. Can I pawn or consign a firearm that is affected by AB 1135/SB 880 after June 30, 2018?

    No. After June 30, 2018, a fully functional assault weapon can not be pawned.


  30. Can a firearms dealer install the patriot mag lock for a customer after January 1, 2017 as long as the owner stays with the firearm?

    Yes; however, in order to install a patriot mag lock or similar device designed to fix the magazine in place, the deregistration process has to be started before any change to the magazine release is made. Refer to California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 39, article 2, section 5477(b) and (c) for details.


  31. Can I keep a registered assault weapon that I inherited?

    No. Pursuant to California Penal Code section 30915, any person who obtains title to a registered assault weapon by bequest or intestate succession shall, within 90 days, do one or more of the following:

    • Render the weapon permanently inoperable.
    • Sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer who has a permit from DOJ to purchase assault weapons.
    • Obtain a permit from the DOJ in the same manner as specified in Article 3 (commencing with Section 32650) of Chapter 6.
    • Lawfully remove the weapon from this state.

  32. What should I do if I do not want to keep my assault weapon?

    If you have an unregistered assault weapon you must relinquish it to law enforcement. If you have a registered assault weapon, you have the following options:

    • Sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer who has a permit from DOJ to purchase assault weapons.
    • Lawfully remove the weapon from this state.
    • Render the weapon permanently inoperable.
    • Make arrangements with your local police department or sheriff's office to relinquish your assault weapon. Call first. Do not go to the police department or sheriff’s office without first making prior arrangements.

  33. I changed my registered assault weapon to no longer qualify as an assault weapon. Do I have to inform DOJ?

    Yes. You will need to deregister your assault weapon. Deregistration requests will be accepted for assault weapons, as defined in Penal Code section 30515, that have been modified or reconfigured to no longer meet that definition. Reference California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 39, article 2, section 5478 for more information on deregistration.


  34. What changes can I make to my assault weapon after I register it?

    The AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapons regulations created by DOJ state that the bullet button style release must remain on the firearm. The owner should not shorten a rifle barrel below 16” or the overall length under 26” (Penal Code 33210 and Penal Code 17170). The owner should not shorten a shotgun barrel below 18” or the overall length under 26” (Penal Code § 33210 and Penal Code § 17180). See the “key terms” section of the AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapons regulations.


  35. Can I transport my registered assault weapon the same way as before I registered it?

    No. Registered assault weapons may be transported only between specified locations and must be unloaded and stored in a locked container when transported. Please refer to California Penal Code section 30945 for further details.


  36. What notifications must I make in order to bring my AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon into California legally?

    Pursuant to Penal Code section 30600, persons moving to California cannot import assault weapons of any kind.


  37. 37. Will AB 1135/SB 880 impact the ability for law enforcement officers, identified in Penal Code section 30625, to purchase assault weapons as they do now, with an agency letter?

    No. AB 1135/SB 880 should not impact law enforcement officers’ ability to buy assault weapons with the letterhead exemption.


  38. In 2017, will law enforcement agencies be able to release unregistered firearms affected by SB 1135/AB 880 to members of the public through the Law Enforcement Gun Release process? What if it is built from an unfinished receiver and has no serial number?

    Law enforcement agencies must follow the LEGR process outlined here:
    https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/legrinfo.

    A person in lawful possession of an AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapon prior to December 31, 2016 could have it returned to them and the weapon would be eligible for registration that ends on June 30, 2018. The AB 1135/SB 880 assault weapons regulations created by DOJ have a process that allows for self built guns to be serialized with DOJ issued serial numbers.

Back To Top