BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 1020
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 16, 2013
          Counsel:        Gabriel Caswell

                                 Tom Ammiano, Chair

                    AB 1020 (Bonta) - As Amended:  April 10, 2013
                       As Proposed to be Amended in Committee

          SUMMARY  :  Requires the Attorney General (AG) to send a letter  
          during the 10-day waiting period to each individual who has  
          applied to purchase a firearm informing him or her of firearms  
          laws relating to gun trafficking and safe storage.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Requires that the AG send a letter informing individuals who  
            have applied to purchase a firearm of the following  

             a)   That California law generally requires that all firearms  
               transfers be conducted through a licensed dealer. 

             b)   That any exceptions to the requirement that transfers be  
               conducted through a dealer have strict limits. 

             c)   That California law has strict limits on the loaning of  
               firearms and the conditions and circumstances under which a  
               firearm may be loaned to another person. 

             d)   That California law prohibits any person, corporation,  
               or dealer from selling, loaning, or transferring a firearm  
               to anyone who is not the actual purchaser or transferee of  
               the firearm.

             e)   That storage of a firearm where children are likely to  
               gain access is a criminal offense if the child obtains  
               access and thereby causes death or injury.

             f)   It is a felony under both state and federal law,  
               punishable by imprisonment in state or federal prison, to  
               acquire a firearm for another person who is prohibited by  
               law from purchasing it himself or herself, which is also  
               known as a "straw purchase" or "straw acquisition." 


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             g)   That where a firearm is found in the possession of a  
               person other than the registered owner, such cases are  
               fully investigated and, in cases where violations of law  
               are discovered, they are prosecuted to the fullest extent  
               of the law by both state and federal authorities.

             h)   That information about how to obtain additional  
               information from the Department of Justice, including the  
               department's website.

          2)Require the notice to include a web address for the Department  
            of Justice's Summary of Firearms laws and require the  
            Department of Justice to update the summary annually.

           EXISTING LAW  :  

            1)  Requires that handgun purchasers must take an exam on  
              handgun safety from an instructor and obtain a minimum 75%  
              passing score to receive a certificate (Penal Code Section  

            2)  Provides that the sale, loan or transfer of firearms in  
              almost all cases must be processed by, or through, a  
              state-licensed dealer or a local law enforcement agency with  
              appropriate transfer forms being used, as specified.  In  
              those cases where dealer or law enforcement processing is  
              not required, as of today a handgun change of title report  
              must still be sent to DOJ and will require that as to all  
              firearms as of 1/1/2014.  (Penal Code Section 27545.)

            3)  Requires photo identification for the purchase of a  
              firearm.  Additionally requires that persons purchasing a  
              handgun be 21 years of age and those purchasing a long gun  
              be 18 years of age.  (Penal Code Section 27510.)

            4)  Requires the completion of the Alcohol Tobacco and  
              Firearms (ATF) Form 4473 and California Dealer's Record of  
              Sale (DROS) form and pass a background check.  (Penal Code  
              Section 29820.)  

            5)  Provides on or after January 1, 1998, that persons  
              establishing residency within California who bring with them  
              and store firearms within California after that date to  
              report the same to DOJ. This reporting requirement will  


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              apply to all firearms as of 1/1/2014.  (Penal Code Section  

            6)  Require the DOJ, upon submission of firearm purchaser  
              information, to examine its records to determine if the  
              purchaser is prohibited from possessing, receiving, owning,  
              or purchasing a firearm. Existing law prohibits the delivery  
              of a firearm within 10 days of the application to purchase,  
              or, after notice by the department, within 10 days of the  
              submission to the department of any corrections to the  
              application to purchase, or within 10 days of the submission  
              to the department of a specified fee. (Penal Code Sections  
              28200 to 28250.)

            7)  Requires that if a dealer cannot legally deliver a  
              firearm, the dealer shall return the firearm to the  
              transferor, seller, or person loaning the firearm. [Penal  
              Code Section 28050(d).]

            8)  Requires that in connection with any private party sale,  
              loan or transfer of a firearm, a licensed dealer must  
              provide the DOJ with specified personal information about  
              the seller and purchaser as well as the name and address of  
              the dealer.  This personal information of buyer and seller  
              required to be provided includes the name; address; phone  
              number; date of birth; place of birth; occupation; eye  
              color; hair color; height; weight; race; sex; citizenship  
              status; and a driver's license number, California  
              identification card number or military identification  
              number.  A copy of the Dealers Record of Sale (DROS),  
              containing the buyer and seller's personal information, must  
              be provided to the buyer or seller upon request.  (Penal  
              Code Sections 28160, 28210, and 28215.)

            9)  Provides that various categories of persons are prohibited  
              from owning or possessing a firearm, including persons  
              convicted of certain violent offenses, and persons who have  
              been adjudicated as having a mental disorder, among others.  
              (Penal Code Sections 29800 to 29825, inclusive, 29900,  
              29905, 30305 and WIC Sections 8100 and 8103.)

            10) Prohibits persons who know or have reasonable cause to  
              believe that the recipient is prohibited from having  
              firearms and ammunition to supply or provide the same with  
              firearms or ammunition. (Penal Code Section 27500 and 30306,  


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              and WIC Section 8101.) 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Author's Statement  :  According to the author, "AB 1020 takes a  
            successful program implemented by the Los Angeles City  
            Attorney's Office to inform potential firearms purchasers of  
            their rights and responsibilities and expands it statewide. 

            "The mail program was first developed in consultation with the  
            U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives  
            (ATF), California Department of Justice (CalDOJ), Los Angeles  
            Police Department, and the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office,  
            among others.

            "Research suggests that one important flow of illegal guns to  
            criminals involves legal purchasers who engaged in one or two  
            "straw purchases" to provide guns to someone with a  
            disqualifying criminal record. The mail campaign was premised  
            on the idea that straw purchasers can be deterred from  
            illegally transferring guns. Because these individuals had no  
            prior arrests or convictions that prohibited them from making  
            a legal firearm purchase, they could be deterred more easily  
            than individuals with an existing criminal history.

            "According to several RAND studies, the mail program had a  
            significantly increased the number of firearms reported lost  
            and stolen-more than doubling the reporting. Additionally,  
            there was an increase in approved firearms transactions not  
            being completed, suggesting a deterrence effect, but the  
            results require further examination."

           2)Handgun Safety Certificate  :  All handgun purchasers in the  
            State of California must take an exam on handgun safety from  
            an instructor and obtain a minimum 75% passing score to  
            receive a certificate (Penal Code Section 31615.)  Effective  
            January 1, 2003, the Basic Firearms Safety Certificate Program  
            was replaced with the Handgun Safety Certificate Program.  
            These new statutes affect the general public in two principal  
            ways. First, unless exempt, individuals must possess a Handgun  
            Safety Certificate (HSC) prior to purchasing or acquiring a  
            handgun. Second, unless exempt, individuals must perform a  


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            safe handling demonstration prior to taking delivery of a  
            handgun from a licensed dealer.  HSCs are acquired by taking  
            and passing a written test on handgun safety, generally at  
            participating firearms dealerships and private firearms  
            training facilities. A written guide is available to help  
            individuals prepare for the Handgun Safety Certificate Test  
            for purchase at firearms dealerships at $.50 each. There is  
            also a Handgun Safety Certificate Video available for purchase  
            at firearms dealerships or from DOJ Certified Instructors at  
            $5.00 each.  The handgun safety demonstration protocols and  
            DOJ Certified Instructor standards have been established and  
            implemented by DOJ.

           3)Numbers of Gun Sales in California  :  The number of gun sales  
            in California is relatively high.  Over the last five years of  
            reported data (2007-2011) the numbers have been increasing.   
            In 2007 there were 370,628 Dealer's Records of Sale reported  
            in the state of California.  In 2011 there were 601,243  
            Dealer's Records of Sale reported to the DOJ.  Therefore as of  
            2011, over 600,000 letters would have to be sent to firearms  
            purchasers in California under this legislation.  It has been  
            widely reported in the media that following the tragedy at  
            Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that gun  
            sales have increased significantly following proposed  
            legislative efforts throughout the United States to impose  
            stricter regulations on gun sales.  Therefore, the 2013 gun  
            sales in California will likely be much higher.  

           4)Argument in Support  :  According to the  California Chapters of  
            the Brady Campaign  , "California law requires that a 10-day  
            waiting period be observed after the initial purchase of a  
            firearm and before delivery of the firearm to the prospective  
            purchaser.  This period of time allows the Department of  
            Justice, in most cases, to perform a thorough background check  
            and it serves as a cooling off period.  This bill would  
            require the Attorney General to send a letter during the  
            10-day waiting period to each individual who has applied to  
            purchase a firearm informing him or her of firearms laws  
            relating to gun trafficking and safe storage.  

            "Between May 2007 and September 2008 a controlled study was  
            performed in the City of Los Angeles aimed at new gun buyers  
            to determine whether a public safety message delivered by mail  
            during the waiting period could modify gun purchasers'  
            behaviors.  The letter was intended to improve gun law  


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            awareness and was cosigned by the City Attorney, the Attorney  
            General and the Los Angeles Chief.  

            "The study concluded that the letter appeared to have no  
            effect on the legal firearm transfer rate of guns showing up  
            in a crime.  However, the rate at which guns were reported  
            stolen by those who received the letter was more than twice  
            the rate for those who did not receive the letter.  Overall,  
            the authors concluded that gun law messaging increased the  
            likelihood that new gun owners would report the theft of  
            recently purchased firearms.  What could not be determined  
            from the study was whether the increase in theft reports was  
            the result of straw buyers filing false reports to try and  
            break the paper trail that would lead back to their illegal  
            activities.  In either case, the additional data on gun theft  
            is of investigative value to law enforcement."   

           5)Argument in Opposition:   None submitted.  
           6)Related Legislation:   

             a)   AB 740 (Alejo) deals with various gun licensure,  
               receipt, and transfer issues. AB 740 will make the "federal  
               advance ship" requirement a specific state law requirement  
               as well.  AB 740 is pending in this committee.

             b)   SB 140 (Leno) appropriates $24.0 million from the DROS  
               special account to the Department of Justice for  
               firearms-related regulatory and enforcement activities  
               primarily for SB 950 enforcement. SB 140 is pending in the  

             c)   SB 374 (Steinberg) deals with various firearm  
               registration issues, primarily as to handguns.  SB 374 is  
               pending in the Senate Public Safety Committee.


          California Chapters of the Brady Campaign
          Coalition Against Gun Violence
          Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence 


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          California Rifle and Pistol Association
          National Rifle Association

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Gabriel Caswell / PUB. S. / (916)