BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 1131
          Author:   Skinner (D)
          Amended:  9/4/13 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 7/2/13
          AYES:  Hancock, Block, De León, Knight, Liu, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Anderson

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  6-1, 8/30/13
          AYES:  De León, Walters, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
          NOES:  Gaines

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not relevant


           SUBJECT  :    Firearms

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill increases the period of time during which a  
          person is prohibited from possessing a gun based on a mental  
          illness or mental disorder, or a serious threat of violence  
          communicated to a licensed psychotherapist.  

          The current provisions of this bill were previously contained in  
          AB 48 (Skinner, 2013).

           Senate Floor Amendments  of 9/4/13 add double-jointing language  
          with SB 755 (Wolk).

                                                                CONTINUED





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           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1.Provides that a person shall not have in his or her possession  
            or under his or her custody or control, or purchase or  
            receive, or attempt to purchase or receive, any firearms  
            whatsoever or any other deadly weapon for a period of six  
            months whenever, on or after January 1, 1992, he or she  
            communicates to a licensed psychotherapist, as defined, of a  
            serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably  
            identifiable victim or victims.  The six-month period shall  
            commence from the date that the licensed psychotherapist  
            reports to the local law enforcement agency the identity of  
            the person making the communication.  The prohibition provided  
            for in this subdivision shall not apply unless the licensed  
            psychotherapist notifies a local law enforcement agency of the  
            threat by that person.  The person, however, may own, possess,  
            have custody or control over, or receive or purchase any  
            firearm if a superior court, upon petition of the person, has  
            found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the person is  
            likely to use firearms or other deadly weapons in a safe and  
            lawful manner.

          2.Requires the Department of Justice (DOJ), upon receiving a  
            report from the local law enforcement agency of the identity  
            of a person described in the section above, to notify by  
            certified mail a person subject to this prohibition, of the  
            following.
           
           3.Provides that a violation of these prohibitions against  
            possessing a firearm or deadly weapon shall be punishable by  
            imprisonment in a county jail as a felony for 16 months, two  
            or three years, or as a misdemeanor for not more than one  
            year, by a fine not exceeding one $1,000, or by both that  
            imprisonment and fine. 

          4.Requires DOJ to request each public and private mental  
            hospital, sanitarium, and institution to submit to DOJ  
            information that DOJ deems necessary to identify those persons  
            who are prohibited from possessing firearms, in order to carry  
            out its duties in relation to firearms, destructive devices,  
            and explosives.  








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          This bill:
           
            1. Increases from six months to five years the period of time a  
             person is prohibited from possessing or owning a firearm  
             based on his or her communication with a licensed  
             psychotherapist, on or after January 1, 2014, of a threat of  
             physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or  
             victims.

           2. Specifies that, if a hearing is requested, the People have  
             the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that  
             the person is not likely to use firearms in a safe and lawful  
             manner, and if the court finds that the People have not met  
             their burden, the court shall order that the person shall not  
             be subject to the five-year prohibition and submit a copy of  
             the order to the DOJ. 

           3. Specifies procedures to be followed for the return, sale,  
             transfer, or destruction of confiscated firearms by persons  
             found not to be subject to the five-year prohibition for  
             having communicated a threat to a therapist as well as those  
             subject to a five-year prohibition as a result of being taken  
             into custody for a mental health examination.

           4. Specifies where the district attorney declines or fails to  
             go forward in a hearing to restore ownership and possession  
             of firearms, the court shall order that the person shall not  
             be subject to the five-year prohibition and a copy of the  
             order shall be submitted to the DOJ. 

           5. States upon receipt of the order, DOJ shall, within 15 days,  
             delete any reference to the prohibition against firearms from  
             the person's state mental health firearms prohibition system  
             information.
           
            6. Provides that, where a firearm has been confiscated, as  
             specified, the period of forfeiture is 180 days, during which  
             the person it was taken from may contact the law enforcement  
             agency to facilitate transfer to a firearms dealer, and after  
             which the firearm will be subject to destruction.

           7. Provides that nothing in this bill shall prohibit the use of  
             reports filed to determine the eligibility of persons to own,  
             possess, control, receive, or purchase a firearm if the  







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             person is the subject of a criminal investigation, a part of  
             which involves the ownership, possession, control, receipt,  
             or purchase of a firearm.

           8. Requires the court to "as soon as possible, but no later  
             than two court days after issuing the certificate" notify DOJ  
             whenever the court has issued a certificate stating that a  
             person, adjudicated by a court of any state to be a danger to  
             others as a result of a mental disorder or mental illness, or  
             who has been adjudicated to be a mentally disordered sex  
             offender, may now possess a firearm or any other deadly  
             weapon without endangering others.

           9. Requires any notice or report required to be submitted to  
             DOJ to be submitted in an electronic format, in a manner  
             prescribed by DOJ.

           10.Requires the Department of State Hospitals, upon request, to  
             make its records regarding prohibited persons available to  
             DOJ within 24-hours.

           11.Requires that reports by a licensed psychotherapist to a  
             local law enforcement agency of the identity of a person who  
             has communicated to that therapist a serious threat of  
             physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or  
             victims be made within 24 hours.

           12.Requires that local law enforcement agencies, when they  
             receive such reports, notify DOJ electronically and within 24  
             hours of that report.

           13.Adds double-jointing language with SB 755 (Wolk) to avoid  
             chaptering-out issues.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

           One-time costs to the DOJ of $260,000 (Special Fund*) in FY  
            2013-14 and $100,000 in FY 2014-15 to design, develop, and  
            implement enhancements to several automated tracking systems  
            and databases.








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           Potential state-reimbursable costs for the mandated  
            notification process placed on peace officers and law  
            enforcement agencies.

           Minor, absorbable impact to the DSH to accommodate DOJ  
            requests electronically.

           Minor impact to the DOJ with regard to the notification  
            changes.

           Potential ongoing minor court-related costs (General Fund**)  
            for additional misdemeanor/felony court filings resulting from  
            the extended period of prohibition.

           Potential increase in non-reimbursable local incarceration  
            costs offset to a degree by fine revenue to the extent  
            additional violations of the firearms prohibition occur under  
            the extended period of prohibition.  

          *Dealers' Record of Sale (DROS) Special Account
          **Trial Court Trust Fund

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  9/5/13)

          Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
          California Police Chiefs Association
          California State Sheriffs Association
          Emeryville Police Department
          Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
          Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author:

               In 2012, a total of 191,416 people in California were  
               prohibited from owning a firearm because of a prior mental  
               health determination.  While the vast majority of  
               individuals with mental health issues are not violent,  
               research has shown that the risk of violence towards others  
               is higher among those with serious mental illnesses, in  
               part because this population also has high rates of other  
               risk factors such as substance abuse, trauma, and  
               unemployment. 

               A 2009 study found that 5% of people with serious mental  







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               illnesses committed violent acts, compared to 2% of those  
               without.  There is also a link between mental illness and  
               self- harm, and studies suggest that more than 90% of  
               people who commit suicide suffer from mental illness.  And  
               there is also a strong correlation between access to  
               firearms and successful suicide attempts.  The suicide rate  
               in homes with guns is 3-5 times higher than in homes  
               without guns.


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  75-2, 05/29/13
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Blumenfield, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown,  
            Buchanan, Ian Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway,  
            Cooley, Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Fong, Fox, Frazier, Beth  
            Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gonzalez, Gordon, Gorell, Gray,  
            Grove, Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Roger Hernández, Jones,  
            Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Linder, Logue, Lowenthal, Maienschein,  
            Medina, Melendez, Mitchell, Morrell, Mullin, Muratsuchi,  
            Nazarian, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Patterson, Perea, V. Manuel  
            Pérez, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Salas, Skinner, Stone,  
            Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk, Williams,  
            Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NOES:  Donnelly, Mansoor
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Eggman, Holden, Vacancy


          JG:nl  9/5/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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