Buying A Gun In Nevada As A California Resident

For California residents, buying a gun in neighboring Nevada may seem like an easy way to bypass California’s strict gun laws. But does it really work that way? Can you legally purchase firearms in Nevada if you live in California? Read on to learn the ins and outs of buying guns across state lines.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: While it is possible for California residents to legally buy guns in Nevada, there are restrictions around transporting them back to California. California residents can’t bring the weapon to California personally, it needs to be shipped to a licensed gun dealer first. Guns purchased in Nevada must comply with California gun laws and be reported to the California DOJ.

Nevada Gun Laws vs. California Gun Laws


Nevada has relatively lenient gun laws compared to its neighboring state, California. In Nevada, individuals who are at least 18 years old can legally purchase and possess a firearm. There is no waiting period when buying a gun, and private sales between individuals do not require a background check.

This makes it easier for residents and even out-of-state visitors to buy firearms in Nevada.

Additionally, Nevada recognizes concealed carry permits from other states, allowing individuals with valid permits to carry a concealed weapon in the state. However, it’s important to note that Nevada law prohibits carrying a concealed firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


California, on the other hand, has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. In order to purchase a firearm in California, individuals must be at least 21 years old, undergo a background check, and complete a 10-day waiting period.

Additionally, California has a roster of approved handguns, meaning that only firearms on this list can be legally sold in the state.

California also has restrictions on high-capacity magazines, requiring them to be permanently modified to hold no more than 10 rounds. Assault weapons are banned, and individuals must obtain a special permit to possess one.

It’s important to understand and abide by the gun laws of both states when considering purchasing a firearm. Failure to do so can result in legal consequences. It’s always recommended to consult with legal professionals or law enforcement officials to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

Buying a Gun in Nevada as a California Resident

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, leading some residents to consider purchasing firearms in neighboring states with more relaxed regulations. One popular option for Californians is buying a gun in Nevada, which has looser gun laws.

However, there are several important factors to consider before making such a purchase.

Is It Legal?

While it is legal for California residents to buy guns in Nevada, there are certain restrictions and requirements that must be followed. First and foremost, purchasers must comply with both California and Nevada laws.

This means that even though a gun may be legal to purchase in Nevada, it may still be illegal to possess or transport back to California. It is crucial to thoroughly research and understand the laws of both states before attempting to buy a firearm.

What Types of Guns Can Be Purchased?

Nevada allows the purchase of a wide range of firearms, including handguns, rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic weapons. However, it is important to note that California has a list of approved firearms, and any gun not on that list cannot be legally brought into the state.

Therefore, while Nevada may have a larger selection of firearms available for purchase, California residents must ensure that the gun they buy is on the approved list in order to comply with California law.

Background Checks and Waiting Periods

California has some of the strictest background check and waiting period requirements in the country. When purchasing a firearm in Nevada, California residents must still undergo a background check, which includes a review of criminal history, mental health records, and other factors.

Additionally, California residents are subject to a mandatory 10-day waiting period before they can take possession of their firearm. It’s important to note that this waiting period begins when the firearm is purchased, not when it is brought into California.

Paperwork and Registration Requirements

When purchasing a firearm in Nevada as a California resident, there is specific paperwork that must be completed and requirements that must be met. This includes filling out a federal background check form (Form 4473) and providing a valid government-issued identification.

It is also important to remember that all firearms purchased in Nevada must be registered with the California Department of Justice within specified timeframes. Failure to properly register the firearm can result in legal consequences.

It is always recommended to consult with legal professionals or experts in firearm laws before attempting to purchase a gun. Understanding and complying with the laws of both California and Nevada is essential to ensure a legal and hassle-free purchase.

Bringing Nevada Guns Back to California

For California residents who are interested in purchasing firearms, neighboring Nevada is often seen as a convenient option due to its more relaxed gun laws. However, it is important to understand the legalities and restrictions surrounding the transportation of firearms from Nevada back to California.

Laws Around Transporting Firearms

California has strict laws when it comes to transporting firearms across state lines. In order to bring a gun purchased in Nevada back to California, residents must comply with California’s regulations.

While you can purchase a firearm in another state, such as Nevada, you can’t bring it to California by yourself. Instead, the seller needs to ship your weapon to a licensed gun dealer in California.

Other regulations include registering the firearm within 60 days of bringing it into the state and adhering to California’s specific requirements for storage and transportation.

Firearms transported into the state must be unloaded and stored in a locked container separate from any ammunition. Additionally, the firearm must be transported in the trunk of a vehicle or in a locked container that is not easily accessible to the driver or passengers.

It is crucial to familiarize yourself with these regulations and ensure you are in compliance to avoid any legal issues or penalties. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense, so it is always better to be safe and well-informed.

Reporting Requirements

When bringing a gun purchased in Nevada back to California, residents are also required to report the firearm to the California Department of Justice. This can be done through the online reporting system within 5 days of bringing the firearm into the state.

The reporting process requires providing information such as the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the firearm, as well as personal information of the owner. It is important to accurately fill out this information to ensure compliance with the law.

By reporting the firearm, the California Department of Justice can keep track of the influx of out-of-state guns and monitor compliance with state regulations. Failure to report the firearm can result in penalties and legal consequences.

Following the proper procedures will ensure a smooth and legal experience while exercising your Second Amendment rights.

Restrictions and Exceptions

When it comes to buying a gun in Nevada as a California resident, there are several restrictions and exceptions that you need to be aware of. These regulations are in place to ensure the safety and security of both residents and visitors, and it’s important to understand them before making any purchasing decisions.

Assault Weapons Ban

One of the main restrictions you’ll encounter is the assault weapons ban. In Nevada, there are certain firearms that are considered assault weapons and are prohibited for purchase. These include semi-automatic rifles with certain features, such as a folding stock, flash suppressor, or pistol grip.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific criteria outlined in the law to determine whether the firearm you’re interested in falls under this ban.

Handgun Roster

Another restriction that California residents need to be aware of is the handgun roster. In California, all handguns must be on the state’s approved roster in order to be legally purchased. This means that if a handgun is not listed on the roster, you will not be able to buy it as a California resident, even if it is legal to purchase in Nevada.

It’s essential to check the roster before attempting to buy a handgun in Nevada to ensure compliance with California law.

Magazine Capacity Limits

California also has strict regulations regarding magazine capacity limits. In general, magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds are prohibited in California. While Nevada does not have the same restrictions, it’s important to note that it is illegal to bring high-capacity magazines back into California.

Therefore, as a California resident, you must ensure that any magazines you purchase in Nevada comply with the state’s regulations.

It’s crucial to research and understand these restrictions and exceptions before attempting to buy a gun. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense, and violating these regulations can lead to serious legal consequences.

Penalties for Violating CA Gun Laws

California has strict gun laws in place to ensure public safety and prevent the misuse of firearms. Violating these laws can result in severe penalties and consequences for individuals, especially for those who are not California residents but attempt to purchase a gun in the state.

It is crucial for individuals to understand the potential legal ramifications before attempting to buy a gun in California as a non-resident.

Criminal Charges

California law prohibits the sale, transfer, or possession of certain firearms and ammunition. Violating these laws can lead to criminal charges. Non-residents who attempt to purchase a gun in California without following the proper legal procedures may face charges such as:

  • Felony Possession: Owning or possessing a firearm without the necessary permits or licenses can result in felony charges. Convictions for felony possession can lead to imprisonment, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal record.
  • Illegal Sale or Transfer: Selling or transferring a firearm to a non-resident without going through the required background checks and paperwork is illegal. Individuals found guilty of this offense can face criminal charges, including fines and imprisonment.
  • False Statements: Providing false information on firearm purchase forms or during the background check process is a serious offense. Non-residents who attempt to deceive authorities may face charges of perjury or making false statements, resulting in criminal penalties.

Gun Confiscation

In addition to criminal charges, non-residents who violate California gun laws may also face the confiscation of firearms and ammunition. Law enforcement agencies have the authority to seize firearms that are illegally possessed or acquired.

This means that individuals who attempt to purchase a gun in California as a non-resident may have their firearms confiscated, even if they were legally purchased in their home state.

It is important to note that California and Nevada have different gun laws, and purchasing a gun in Nevada does not grant non-residents the right to possess or carry firearms in California without complying with the state’s laws.

Non-residents should familiarize themselves with California’s gun laws and consult with legal professionals to ensure compliance and avoid severe penalties.


While Nevada’s gun laws are more relaxed than California’s, California residents can’t simply cross state lines to bypass California firearms regulations. There are legal ways to purchase guns in Nevada and bring them back to California, but residents must comply with all reporting requirements and ensure the firearms adhere to California’s strict gun laws. Violating these laws can result in serious criminal penalties. When in doubt, consult with a lawyer to ensure your gun purchase and transportation across state lines follows all applicable laws.

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