What I learned after a CA DoJ DROS delay

This is just a post for posterity sake, with hopes that it will help someone in the future avoid a similar experience to what I went through. if you don’t care about the why, and want to save the time reading through this whole post the bottom line is you may get delayed because:

  • the firearm(s) don’t show up in the DOJ database matching whats on the DROS forms
  • you need to ask if all firearms in the purchase are delayed, or just 1.
Knowing these 2 things will save you from panic, save you from wasting money on a livescan, save you from needing to submit multiple DROSes.

If you care about the why, here is the full story:

I bought a pair of handguns from a private citizen as a PPT purchase so the 1:30 exemption applied (in California you typically can’t buy more than 1 handgun within a 30 day period). He let me know up front that one of the handguns is older and not “in the system” so to speak, I decided to DROS it and keep things legit just in case.

The last firearm purchase I made in CA was April of this year and it went through no issues just like the numerous previous purchases. (I point this out only to say I am in the DOJ database as a gun owner and they know my info)

Last point I want to add is I have never been arrested in my life. This is very different than never being charged/convicted. If you have been arrested for something it appears it may still be on your record from what I am reading in other posts. and that can cause delays for firearms purchases.

Alright now as you can probably tell by the title the transaction was delayed. This is the 1st time it’s ever happened to me. Being a new experience I searched the internet high and low for info. I read horror stories about delays taking years to get resolved. I also read stories about being able to call the DOJ up and get it cleared up right then and there.

As of summer 2019 I can confirm this is the process:

  • you CAN NOT call the DOJ for any reason. they only have a voicemail box. no human being will pick up
  • sending them an email via their website gets you a reply back telling you they can’t give you an answer
  • you will get a letter that makes you think its something in your background that is the problem
  • the delay will either get resolved before the 30 day mark (approved/denied) or go undetermined on the 30 day mark from when the dealer submitted the DROS form
  • the dealer has every right legally to refuse to deliver the firearm if your DROS goes undetermined after 30 days. (I am not supporting this policy, just stating facts)
  • if a DROS is delayed then approved, you have 30 days from approval to pick it up
  • if the DROS is approved without a delay then you have 30 days from DROS submission (date of transaction) to pick it up
  • each firearm has it’s own DROS number and are treated separately from one another

I emphasize the last point for a reason. What happened to me was one handgun came back approved within the 10 days, and the other was delayed. Care to guess which one was delayed? Yeah it was the “not in the system” one. The problem I ran into was that by the time the one went undetermined, the 30 day mark was passed on the one that was approved. This means I had to redo the DROS for the 1 handgun that was originally approved which means another 10 day wait period and fee(s).

I did call the dealer about once a week during the delay and while I didn’t ask they definitely didn’t notice/tell me about the 1 being approved even though both DROS numbers showed up on the computer next to each other. They were just as surprised as I when I went to pick them up that there would be 2 separate decisions on the same transaction. Just goes to show you how messed up the DoJ has made the process and how little support the dealers get from the state. The dealer covered the 2nd DROS fee for me since it is their fault for not telling me, but I still have to wait the additional 10 days to pick up the 2nd handgun.

What I hope others will take away from my sharing of this experience is that if you have a multiple firearm purchase and you get delayed, make sure you ask the dealer if all DROS numbers are delayed, or just 1. Had I known to do this I would have been able to avoid a 2nd DROS.

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