On Sunday, January 1, a number of new laws related to guns and ammunition take effect, except where noted. This is Part 2 of a two-part story. (File Photo)
By Michael P. Neufeld
Mountain Communities – The flurry of new gun and ammunition laws — effective January 1 — have led to brisk sales of firearms in California with those making purchases doing so mindful of the state’s 10-day waiting period for securing a new firearm.
Some retail gun stores have reported that sales, since Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown signed the new laws, have more than doubled to “beat” the December 31 deadline.
Brown placed his signature on a total of 898 bills and vetoed 159 bills that crossed his desk for his consideration.
This is the second installment of laws related to Guns And Ammunition. These bills — effective New Year’s Day except where noted — were all authored by members of the State Assembly:
ASSEMBLY BILL 857 – FIREARMS: Ghost Gun Registration (D-Jim Cooper-Elk Grove/09)
Existing law authorizes the Department of Justice to assign a distinguishing number or mark of identification to any firearm whenever the firearm lacks a manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification, or whenever the manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification or distinguishing number or mark assigned by the department has been destroyed or obliterated.
This bill, commencing July 1, 2018, and subject to exceptions, requires a person who manufactures or assembles a firearm to first apply to the department for a unique serial number or other identifying mark, as provided. The bill, by January 1, 2019, and subject to exceptions, requires any person who, as of July 1, 2018, owns a firearm that does not bear a serial number to likewise apply to the department for a unique serial number or other mark of identification. The bill, except as provided, prohibits the sale or transfer of ownership of a firearm manufactured or assembled pursuant to these provisions. The bill prohibits a person from aiding in the manufacture or assembly of a firearm by a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm. The bill makes a violation of these provisions a misdemeanor. By creating a new crime, this bill imposes a state-mandated local program. The bill requires the department to issue a serial number or other identifying mark to an applicant meeting specified criteria and would allow the department to charge a fee to recover its costs associated with assigning a distinguishing number or mark pursuant to the above provisions.
ASSEMBLY BILL 1135 – FIREARMS: Bullet Buttons (D-Marc Levine-Petaluma/10)
This bill redefines assault weapons to include specific guns capable of accepting any type of detachable magazine. The bill also defines “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. Existing law requires that any person who, within California, possesses an assault weapon, except as otherwise provided, be punished as a felony or for a period not to exceed one year in a county jail. This bill exempts from punishment under that provision a person who possessed an assault weapon prior to January 1, 2017, if specified requirements are met.
ASSEMBLY BILL 1511 – FIREARMS: Gun Lending (D-Miguel Santiago-Los Angeles/58)
Existing law generally requires the loan of a firearm to be conducted through a licensed firearms dealer. A violation of this provision is a crime. Existing law exempts from this requirement a loan of a firearm between persons who are personally known to each other, if the loan is infrequent and does not exceed 30 days in duration. This bill instead limits that exemption to the loan of a firearm to a spouse or registered domestic partner, or to a parent, child, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild, related as specified. The bill requires a handgun loaned pursuant to these provisions to be registered to the person loaning the handgun. By expanding the application of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
ASSEMBLY BILL 1664 – FIREARMS: Assault Weapons (D-Marc Levine-Petaluma/10)
This bill revises this definition of “assault weapon” to mean a semi-automatic centerfire rifle or a semiautomatic pistol that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of those specified attributes. The bill also defines “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. By expanding the definition of an existing crime, the bill imposes a state-mandated local program.
NOTE: This bill becomes operative New Years Day because Senate Bill 880 of the 2015–16 Regular Session was enacted and takes effect on January 1, 2017.
ASSEMBLY BILL 1798 -FIREARMS: Cell Phone Case (D-Jim Cooper-Elk Grove/09)
Existing federal law prohibits a person from manufacturing, entering into commerce, shipping, transporting, or receiving any toy, look-alike, or imitation firearm unless the firearm contains, or has affixed to it, a marking approved by the federal Secretary of Commerce. Existing California law defines “imitation firearm” as any BB device, toy gun, replica of a firearm, or other device that is so substantially similar in coloration and overall appearance to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to perceive that the device is a firearm. Under existing law, a manufacturer, importer, or distributor of imitation firearms that, among other things, fails to comply with any applicable federal law or regulation governing the marking of a toy, look-alike, or imitation firearm, as defined by federal law or regulation, is guilty of a misdemeanor. This bill specifies that the definition of imitation firearm described above includes, but is not limited to, a protective case for a cellular telephone that is so substantially similar in coloration and overall appearance to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to perceive that the device is a firearm.
ASSEMBLY BILL 2165 – FIREARMS: Handgun Roster/Law Enforcement Exception (D-Rob Bonta-Oakland/18)
Existing law makes it a crime for any person in this state to manufacture, import into the state for sale, keep for sale, offer or expose for sale, give, or lend an unsafe handgun. Under existing law, this prohibition does not apply to the sale or purchase of a handgun if the handgun is sold to, or purchased by, a police department, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, or any federal law enforcement agency, among other entities. This bill also makes the above prohibition inapplicable to the sale or purchase of a handgun if the handgun is sold to, or purchased by, specified entities or sworn members of those entities who have satisfactorily completed the firearms portion of a training course prescribed by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. The bill prohibits a licensed firearms dealer from processing the sale or transfer of an unsafe handgun between a person who has obtained an unsafe handgun pursuant to this exemption and a person who is not exempt. This bill requires a person, with exceptions, who obtains an unsafe handgun pursuant to this exemption to, when leaving the handgun in an unattended vehicle, as defined, lock the handgun in the vehicle’s trunk or lock the handgun in a locked container, as defined, and place the container out of plain view. The bill makes a violation of this provision an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000. By creating a new crime, this bill imposes a state-mandated local program.
ASSEMBLY BILL 2510 – CONCEALED WEAPON: Uniform License (R-Eric Linder-Corona/60)
Existing law authorizes the sheriff of a county or a chief or other head of a municipal police department of a city or a city and county to issue a license to carry a concealed firearm upon proof that the person applying for the license is of good moral character, that good cause exists for the issuance, that the applicant satisfies specified residency requirements, and that the applicant has completed a course of specified training. Existing law requires that licenses and applications for licenses be uniform throughout the state and be submitted upon forms prescribed by the Attorney General. This bill requires the Attorney General to develop a uniform license that may be used as indication of proof of licensure throughout the state. The bill requires the Attorney General to approve the use of licenses issued by local agencies that contain specified information, including a recent photograph of the applicant. The bill would require the Attorney General to retain exemplars of approved licenses and maintain a list of agencies issuing local licenses. The bill creates a committee comprised of representatives from the California State Sheriffs’ Association, California Police Chiefs Association, and the Department of Justice to review and revise the uniform licenses, as specified.