Dual Residency for MT and CA

I maintain residency in MT six (6) months per year and CA during the balance. I have a CA valid-CCW Permit and a AZ vaild -CCW permit. Can I purchase a gun that is not on the CA Gun Registry in MT for carry in MT as long as I do not bring it back into CA or is that considered a “Straw-gun” purchase? Any help to clarify is appreciated.

Why would that be a straw gun purchase? You’re not buying the gun for someone else to possess.


California law doesn’t prohibit you from owning a gun that is not on the CA Gun Registry but prohibits you from having such a gun in California.

If you can legally purchase a gun in Montana, California has nothing to say about it.

As @Alces_Americanus mentioned, buying a gun for yourself is not a straw purchase.


@Alces_Americanus and @OldGnome - Thanks for the response. Appreciated. I just want to ensure I am not in violation of any law State or Federal. Thanks again.


Handguns can only be purchased in your state of residency. You cannot have two states of legal residency, though you can be, for income tax purposes, be considered an actual resident of a state in which you are not a resident. Typically, if you spend 183 days or more in a state, you are an actual resident.

In your state of residence, it does not matter how many days you actually spend in it. This would be the state you have your driver’s license, vote in, etc., the state you are a legal resident of. I have not read how the ATF determines one’s state of legal residence, but I would presume it is similar.

The ATF doesn’t really factor into it. It’s the state. If you possess a state’s driver’s license, you can purchase a gun in that state.

Yes, the ATF does factor into it - federal law, since 1968 bars you from purchasing firearms in a state in which you are not a legal resident.

That would typically be your state of legal residence, as I stated.


Thanks for the feedback. I thought this might be more complicated below the surface. I do have a vehicle registered and a home. However, my 183 days may vary from year-to-year.

ATF States:

ATF has previously addressed the eligibility of individuals to acquire firearms who
maintain residences in more than one State. Federal regulations at 27 CFR 478.11
(definition of State of Residence), Example 2, clarify that a U.S. citizen with homes in two
States may, during the period of time the person actually resides in a particular State,
purchase a firearm in that State. See also ATF Publication 5300.4 (2005), Question and
Answer B12, page 179. Similarly, in ATF Ruling 80-21 (ATFB 1980-4, 25), ATF held
that, during the time college students actually reside in a college dormitory or at an off-campus location, they are considered residents of the State where the on-campus or off-campus housing is located.

Well, yes, technically true…but it’s not a factor into the purchase itself until after the FFL sees your driver’s license. So, a pre-existing factor, but not an active factor. I know. Splitting hairs again, ain’t I?

Interesting and good to know that they do not follow the precedent of tax law, as they seemly to seek to limit our RKBA as much as possible. Don’t let the anti-rights politicians know about this “loophole”… LOL

You can actually be a resident of multiple states, however, only one state will be your domicile. You become a resident of a state based upon the state’s law for residency. Domicile, however, is legally defined as the place of physical presence within a state or territory, coupled with the intention to make it home. A student living away at school becomes a resident of the state of the school, but, unless they intend on permanently locating there, that is not their domicile.


Domicile, yes, that was the word that was eluding me… :sunglasses:


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Not a lawyer and can’t help on the legalities of purchasing in multiple states though I did not think that was possible. It is my understanding that CA requires CCW holders to be residents of CA. Make sure you are fulfilling all of CA’s residency requirements or you could find yourself in significant trouble, especially if you have to use your firearm for self defense in CA.

It’s been a long time since I have worked on residency issues. I do understand the underlying issues quite well. As for college students, residency can be a bit grey, as they can sometimes qualify for in-state tuition, and be allowed to vote in that state, but for income tax purposes, they are not typically considered residents, nor domiciled in the other state, just like prisoners are not, but for different reasons.

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That’s a bummer, if and when I need to go back to Missouri for a funeral I can’t go pistol shopping while there🥺

The pdf you linked to states this:
A person’s “State of residence” is defined by regulation in 27 CFR 478.11 as “the State in which an individual resides. An individual resides in a State if he or she is present in a State with the intention of making a home in that State.” Ownership of a home or land within a given State is not sufficient, by itself, to establish a State of residence. However, ownership of a home or land within a particular State is not required to establish presence and intent to make a home in that State. Furthermore, temporary travel, such as short-term stays, vacations, or other transient acts in a State are not sufficient to establish a State of residence because the individual demonstrates no intention of making a home in that State.

To ensure compliance with this residency requirement, section 922(t) of the GCA requires licensees to examine a valid “identification document” (as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1028(d) and 27 CFR 478.11) of a firearm transferee. This document must contain the residence address of the transferee so that the licensee may verify the identity of the transferee and discern whether the transferee has the intention of making a home in a particular State.

However, federal regulation § 478.11 appears to contradict domicile in its Example 2.

An individual resides in a State if he or she is present in a State with the intention of making a home in that State.

Example 2.
2. A maintains a home in State X and a home in State Y. A resides in State X except for weekends or the summer months of the year and in State Y for the weekends or the summer months of the year. During the time that A actually resides in State X, A is a resident of State X, and during the time that A actually resides in State Y, A is a resident of State Y.

Even with Example 2, the fact you must provide a valid “identification document” to prove your state of residence will likely pre-empt most people from purchasing a handgun in another state. “[T]he intention of making a home in a State must be demonstrated to a Federal firearms licensee by presenting valid identification documents. Such documents include, but are not limited to, driver’s licenses, voter registration, tax records, or vehicle registration.”