On January 1st, 1991, the state of California made it illegal, generally, to transfer a gun within California without the transfer going through a licensed California firearms dealer.
Because making it illegal to transfer weapons entirely would fail a number of constitutional and rights based tests, on the same date California also made it mandatory for all Californian dealers to perform, upon request, "Private Party Transfers".
What weapons are exempt from PPT?
Long guns (NOT handguns) over 50 years old are exempt from the PPT requirement, and may be transferred between Californians without paperwork. However, any C&R weapons in a dealer's inventory must still go through the DROS process like ordinary guns. See LegalCaliforniaPaperlessGuns for more details.
PPT's and the 30-day waiting period
California has a 30-day waiting period between handgun transfers. However, a PPT is not considered a transfer for purposes of the 30-day limit, so you may PPT handguns as frequently as you want.
What does a PPT cost?
There is a state maximum fee of $35. That's $25 to the state and $10 to the dealer; the dealer may choose not to charge the $10 if desired. Some dealers try to charge more than $35 for a PPT, and are committing a crime in doing so! It's been argued, however, that it is not illegal for a dealer to charge an additional fee for storing the gun until it's picked up, as long as it isn't represented on the receipt as a part of the PPT fee.
[quote=http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12082.html]The purchaser or transferee or person being loaned the firearm may be required by the dealer to pay a fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10) per firearm, and no other fee may be charged by the dealer for a sale, loan, or transfer of a firearm conducted pursuant to this section, except for the applicable fee that the Department of Justice may charge pursuant to Section 12076. Nothing in these provisions shall prevent a dealer from charging a smaller fee.[/quote] --hunted up by Cavtrooper of Calguns.net
How does one perform a PPT?
The buyer and seller must both appear at the dealer who is going to perform the transfer. There, both will provide identification and the weapon will be handed over to the dealer for safekeeping until the buyer's background check is complete.
Unfortunately, there is no way to perform a PPT in which both buyer and seller are not physically present! You can perform a regular transfer still, where a gun is shipped to a dealer and then transferred to the buyer, but that does not enjoy the fixed-price transfer which a PPT has.
Bear in mind that while the dealer is obligated to perform PPT services, it is discourteous not to call the dealer in advance to arrange for the transfer to take place. The PPT should be scheduled at a time when the dealer isn't very busy.
When Dealers Can Refuse a PPT
Dealers may refuse a PPT under two conditions. First, they may refuse to perform a PPT on handguns if they do not deal in handguns. This is reasonable - handguns require a lot of additional test materials, training to employees, etc. If a dealer refuses a PPT on these grounds, and does not sell handguns, then the dealer is well within his/her right. The second circumstance is where they believe some component of the transaction to be illegal. For instance, they think the gun is illegal or that the buyer or seller is a criminal.
-- SeanNewton - 02 Jan 2009