By Shaun Rundle, Government Affairs and Public Safety Specialist
As a follow up to the terrible terrorist attack in San Bernardino last December, and increased public interest in gun control measures, the Legislature over the last few weeks has taken up a series of firearms bills. These pieces of legislation were crafted by gutting previous bills under different topics, and rewriting them to further lawmaker interest in offering alternatives to the firearms and ammunitions ban proposed for November’s general election ballot.
Last Thursday, May 19th the State Senate took up debate on several gun control bills containing various firearms restrictions. With 11 bills in total, the legislation reached the Senate by lawmakers stripping previous bills that failed under controversial topics, or hijacked bills under authors who leave the Legislature, as was the case with Assembly member Henry Perea (D-Fresno) who left the Assembly to join a lobbying firm.
The bills the Senate approved last week are:
SB 1235 (De Leon-D) and AB 156 (McCarty-D)
Provides that the term "vendor" for purposes of ammunition sales means "ammunition vendor," and, commencing on January 1, 2018, only a licensed ammunition vendor may sell ammunition. Defines "ammunition" as one or more loaded cartridges consisting of a primer case, propellant, and with one or more projectiles. "Ammunition" does not include blanks.
SB 880 (Hall-D) and AB 1135 (Levine-D)
Would revise the definition of "assault weapon" to mean a semiautomatic centerfire rifle, or a semiautomatic pistol that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of those specified attributes. The bill would also define "fixed magazine" to mean an ammunition feeding device contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action.
AB 1511 (Santiago-D)
Limits the infrequent loan provisions to a loan to "a spouse, registered domestic partner, or any of the following relations, whether by consanguinity, adoption, or step relation: (1) Parent. (2) Child. (3) Sibling. (4) Grandparent. (5) Grandchild." States that if the firearm being loaned is a handgun, the
handgun must be registered to the person making the loan.
AB 1176 (Cooper-D)
Reinstates grand theft in all cases of firearm theft, reversing Prop 47 provisions that made the theft of property that does not exceed $950 in value petty theft.
SB 1446 (Hancock-D)
Provides that, except as specified, commencing July 1, 2017, any person in this state who possesses any large-capacity magazine, regardless of the date the magazine was acquired, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $100 upon the first offense, by a fine not to exceed $500 upon the third or subsequent offense.
SB 894 (Jackson-D)
Would require every person, with exceptions, to report the theft or loss of a firearm he or she owns or possesses to a local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction in which the theft or loss occurred within 5 days of the time he or she knew or reasonably should have known that the firearm had been stolen or lost, and requires every person who has reported a firearm lost or stolen to notify the local law enforcement agency within 48 hours if the firearm is subsequently recovered. Violation would be an infraction.
SB 1407 and AB 857
Requires a person, commencing July 1, 2018, to apply to and obtain from the Department of Justice (DOJ) a unique serial number or other mark of identification prior to manufacturing or assembling a firearm.
Having passed the Senate, these bills will now be heard in the Assembly, where they may face tougher debate and approval.