BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1964
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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 1964 (Dickinson)
          As Introduced  February 19, 2014
          Majority vote 

           PUBLIC SAFETY       5-2         APPROPRIATIONS      12-5        
           
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Ammiano, Jones-Sawyer,    |Ayes:|Gatto, Bocanegra,         |
          |     |Quirk, Skinner, Stone,    |     |Bradford,                 |
          |     |                          |     |Ian Calderon, Campos,     |
          |     |                          |     |Eggman, Gomez, Holden,    |
          |     |                          |     |Pan, Quirk,               |
          |     |                          |     |Ridley-Thomas, Weber      |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Melendez, Waldron         |Nays:|Bigelow, Allen, Donnelly, |
          |     |                          |     |Linder, Wagner            |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           
          SUMMARY  :  Makes the provisions regulating unsafe handguns  
          inapplicable to a single-shot pistol with a break top or bolt  
          action.  Specifically,  this bill  : makes this exemption from the  
          unsafe handgun list inapplicable to a semiautomatic pistol that  
          has been temporarily or permanently altered so that it will not  
          fire in a semi-automatic mode.

           EXISTING LAW  :  
           
           1)Provides that any person in California who manufactures or  
            causes to be manufactured, imports into the state for sale,  
            keeps for sale, offers or exposes for sale, gives, or lends  
            any unsafe handgun shall be punished by imprisonment in a  
            county jail not exceeding one year.

             a)   Specifies that this section shall not apply to any of  
               the following: 

               i)     The manufacture in California, or importation into  
                 this state, of any prototype pistol, revolver, or other  
                 firearm capable of being concealed upon the person when  
                 the manufacture or importation is for the sole purpose of  
                 allowing an independent laboratory certified by the  
                 Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct an independent  








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                 test to determine whether that pistol, revolver, or other  
                 firearm capable of being concealed upon the person is  
                 prohibited, inclusive, and, if not, allowing the  
                 department to add the firearm to the roster of pistols,  
                 revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed  
                 upon the person that may be sold in this;

               ii)    The importation or lending of a pistol, revolver, or  
                 other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person  
                 by employees or authorized agents of entities determining  
                 whether the weapon is prohibited by this section;

               iii)   Firearms listed as curios or relics, as defined in  
                 federal law; and

               iv)    The sale or purchase of any pistol, revolver, or  
                 other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person,  
                 if the pistol, revolver, or other firearm is sold to, or  
                 purchased by, the DOJ, any police department, any  
                 sheriff's official, any marshal's office, the Youth and  
                 Adult Correctional Agency, the California Highway Patrol,  
                 any district attorney's office, or the military or naval  
                 forces of this state or of the United States for use in  
                 the discharge of their official duties. Nor shall  
                 anything in this section prohibit the sale to, or  
                 purchase by, sworn members of these agencies of any  
                 pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being  
                 concealed upon the person.

          2)Specifies that violations of the unsafe handgun provisions are  
            cumulative with respect to each handgun and shall not be  
            construed as restricting the application of any other law.  

          FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, minor nonreimbursable local costs for incarceration,  
          offset to a degree by increased fine revenue, to the extent the  
          misdemeanor penalty for selling or providing unsafe handguns is  
          applied to additional cases.

           COMMENTS  :  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "The single shot  
            exemption undermines the state Unsafe Handgun Law and results  
            in an increasing number of handguns being obtained that do not  








                                                                  AB 1964
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            meet state safety requirements. Buyers have learned that  
            altering a semi-automatic handgun so that it becomes a single  
            shot handgun can be easily undone, returning the weapon to its  
            original illegal configuration.

          "AB 1964 will eliminate the exemption for single shot handguns  
            in the state Unsafe Handgun law. AB 1964 will halt the growing  
            trend of people buying and converting unsafe handguns to get  
            around state mandated safety features and/or safety test for  
            handguns sold in California.

          "Pursuant to AB 1964 no one will be able to purchase an unsafe  
            handgun in California by virtue of it being a single shot  
            weapon.

          "AB 1964 will ensure that more handguns purchased through a  
            dealer are handguns which meet all safety and firing tests and  
            contain all state required handgun safety features."

          2)Single Shot Handgun Modifications from Semi-Automatic Weapons:  
             According to the background provided by the author, existing  
            law provides that the sale, loan, or transfer of firearms must  
            be processed by, or through, a state licensed dealer or a  
            local law enforcement agency. Existing law also provides that  
            no "unsafe handgun" may be manufactured or sold in California  
            by a licensed dealer, as specified, and requires that the DOJ  
            prepare and maintain a roster of handguns which are determined  
            to be safe.  "Unsafe handguns" are defined as those which do  
            not have requisite safety devices, do not meet specified  
            firing tests, or do not meet a drop safety test, and therefore  
            do not appear on the DOJ safe handgun roster.
             
             Since the enactment of the Unsafe Handgun law, the statute has  
            been amended a number of times to add exemptions to the  
            prohibitions on buying and selling the affected weapons.  One  
            of the most significant loopholes in the Unsafe Handgun law  
            concerns single shot handguns.  In effect, a person may  
            purchase a handgun which is manufactured or altered to only  
            accept a single bullet (no semi-automatic reload of a bullet  
            in the firing chamber), even if the handgun is considered by  
            the DOJ as unsafe, (i.e. not meeting state safe handgun  
            requirements, and therefore not on the state safe handgun  
            roster).









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            Up until 2009, no more than 1100 single shot handguns which  
            did not contain state required safety features or failed state  
            safety tests, were purchased and registered each year, often  
            far fewer than that.  However, beginning in 2010, the number  
            of unsafe single shot handguns purchased and registered  
            skyrocketed.  In 2013 alone, more than 18,000 of these weapons  
            were purchased in California.

            The jump in the purchase of unsafe single shot handguns  
            coincides with the enactment of new handgun safety  
            requirements such as bullet chamber load indicators and  
            micro-stamping of bullets. In essence, more people are using  
            the exemption to acquire guns they would otherwise be unable  
            to legally purchase if the gun was bought in its original  
            semi-automatic configuration.

            The conversion of semi-automatic handguns to single shot  
            handguns can be easily undone by a buyer or the dealer after  
            the buyer takes delivery of the weapon.  Reconverting a single  
            shot handgun into its original semi-automatic configuration  
            undermines the state Unsafe Handgun law and results in an  
            increasing number of handguns being obtained that do not meet  
            state safety requirements. 

          Please see the policy committee analysis for a full discussion  
          of this bill.  


          Analysis Prepared by  :    Gabriel Caswell / PUB. S. / (916)  
          319-3744 


                                                                FN: 0003161