BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                            Senator Loni Hancock, Chair               
                             2013-2014 Regular Session                

          SB 293 (DeSaulnier)                                          

          As Introduced February 14, 2013 
          Hearing date:  April 16, 2013
          Penal Code

                            OWNER AUTHORIZED HANDGUNS  


          Source:  Author

          Prior Legislation: SB 697 (DeSaulnier) - died in this  
          Committee, 2009
                                 AB 2235 (DeSaulnier) - died on  
                       suspense in Senate
                                   Appropriations, 2008
                       AB 1471 (Feuer) - Chap. 572, Statutes of 2007
          Support: California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to  
                   Prevent Gun Violence; Law Center to Prevent Gun  
                   Violence; several private citizens

          Opposition:California Association of Firearms Retailers;  
                   California Right to Carry; California Sportsman's  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

                   Lobby; Crossroads of the West; National Shooting  
                   Sports Foundation; Outdoor Sportsmen's Coalition  
                   of California; Safari Club International; National  
                   Rifle Association; California Association of  
                   Federal Firearms Licensees; California Rifle and  
                   Pistol Association; several letters and phone  
                   calls from private citizens 

                                         KEY ISSUE


          The purpose of this bill is to (1) define an  
          "owner-authorized handgun"; (2) require the Attorney  
          General, beginning July 1, 2014, and every July 1  
          thereafter through 2019, to submit a written report, as  
          specified, to the Governor and the Legislature summarizing  
          the current availability of owner-authorized handguns, and  
          continue to submit reports until he or she has reported  
          that owner-authorized handguns are available for retail  
          sale; (3) amend handgun safety requirements, for both  
          revolvers and pistols, beginning 18 months after the  
          release of a report by the Attorney General reporting that  
          owner-authorized handguns are available for retail sale, as  
          specified, to require that all handguns must be  
          owner-authorized handguns, as defined, except that this  
          shall not apply to the sale, loan, or transfer of a  
          revolver manufactured in or imported into this state prior  
          to that date; (4) establish minimum performance standards  
          for "owner-authorized handguns," as specified; and (5)  
          provide that, beginning 18 months following the release of  
          a report by the Attorney General reporting that  
          owner-authorized handguns are available for retail sale, as  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

          specified, any person who intentionally disables or  
          circumvents the technology of an owner-authorized handgun,  
          other than a licensed firearms dealer as necessary to  
          program the owner-authorized handgun, is guilty of a  
          misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a fine  
          of up to $1,000, or both. 

           Current law  provides that beginning January 1, 2001, except  
          as specified, any person in this state 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.  (Penal Code  32000.)
           Current law  defines an unsafe handgun as any pistol,  
          revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon  
          the person, which lacks various specified safety mechanisms  
          and does not pass specified safety tests.  (Penal Code   

           Current law  also provides that, beginning January 1, 2010,  
          all semiautomatic pistols that are not already listed on  
          the "not unsafe handgun" roster, must be designed and  
          equipped with a microscopic array of characters that  
          identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol,  
          etched or otherwise imprinted in two or more places on the  
          interior surface or internal working parts of the pistol,  
          and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge  
          case when the firearm is fired, provided that the  
          Department of Justice (DOJ) certifies that the technology  
          used to create the imprint is available to more than one  
          manufacturer unencumbered by any patent restrictions. The  
          Attorney General may also approve a method of equal or  
          greater reliability and effectiveness in identifying the  
          specific serial number of a firearm from spent cartridge  
          casings discharged by that firearm than that which is set  
          forth in this paragraph, to be thereafter required as  
          otherwise set forth by this paragraph where the Attorney  
          General certifies that this new method is also unencumbered  
          by any patent restrictions.  Approval by the Attorney 



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

          General shall include notice of that fact via regulations  
          adopted by the Attorney General for purposes of  
          implementing that method for purposes of this paragraph.   
          (Penal Code  31910.)

           This bill  would require that, commencing 18 months  
          following the release of a report by the Attorney General  
          to the Legislature and the Governor reporting that  
          owner-authorized handguns are available for retail sale, as  
          specified, a handgun that it is not an owner-authorized  
          handgun will be deemed "unsafe."  However, this requirement  
          shall not apply to the sale, loan, or transfer of a handgun  
          manufactured in or imported into this state prior to that  

           This bill  provides that, in addition to complying with all  
          other specified handgun safety requirements,  
          owner-authorized handguns shall comply with the following  
          performance standards:

                 The firearm shall not fail to recognize the  
               authorized user, and shall not falsely recognize an  
               unauthorized user, more than one time per thousand  
               recognition attempts.
                 The time from first contact to use recognition and  
               firearm enablement shall be no more than 0.5 seconds.
                 The time from loss of contact with the authorized  
               user to firearm disablement shall be no more than 0.5  
                 When the firearm is enabled, the "ready" condition  
               shall be indicated by a visible indicator.
                 If the recognition technology on the firearm is  
               battery operated, the firearm shall be equipped with a  
               low power indicator that emits an audible signal.
                 If the user is not recognized, or if the power  
               supply fails, the firearm shall be inoperable.
                 Enabling authorized user information shall be  
               stored in the firearm as permanent memory that is  
               restored when power is restored.
                 The firearm shall be capable of use by more than  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

               one authorized user and, if the firearm uses hand  
               recognition technology, it shall recognize either of  
               the authorized user's hands. 

           This bill  defines an "owner-authorized handgun" as a  
          handgun that has a permanent programmable biometric or  
          other permanent programmable feature as part of its  
          original manufacture that renders the handgun incapable of  
          being fired except when activated by the lawful owner or  
          other users authorized by the lawful owner, and that cannot  
          be readily deactivated. 

           This bill  provides:

                 An owner-authorized handgun shall only be  
               programmed by a licensed firearms dealer.
                 Biometric data collected for purposes of  
               programming the owner-authorized handgun shall not be  
               used for any purpose other than programming the  
               owner-authorized handgun.
                 The Department of Justice shall not retain any  
               biometric data that may be stored in an  
               owner-authorized handgun.

           This bill  would require that beginning 18 months following  
          the release of a report by the Attorney General to the  
          Legislature and the Governor reporting that  
          owner-authorized handguns are available for retail sale, no  
          handgun may be submitted for testing by DOJ as a safe  
          handgun if it is not an owner-authorized handgun, as  

          This bill  would provide that the Attorney General shall,  
          commencing July 1, 2014, and every July 1 thereafter  
          through July 1, 2019, submit a written report to the  
          Governor and the Legislature summarizing the current  
          availability of owner-authorized handguns, as defined.  The  
          Attorney General shall continue to submit reports until he  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

          or she has reported that owner-authorized handguns are  
          available for retail sale.

                 Each report shall state whether owner-authorized  
               handguns are available for retail sale, and if not,  
               what progress, if any, has been made in the  
               development of that technology since the previous  
                 Each report shall state what, if any, pressures  
               exist within the firearms industry to deliberately  
               withhold owner-authorized handguns from the market.
                 The Attorney General shall consult with law  
               enforcement agencies, firearms industry  
               representatives, private technology providers, the  
               State Department of Public Health, the University of  
               California, other higher learning institutions, and  
               other appropriate parties in making reports and  
               recommendations pursuant to this section.
                 Each report shall explicitly state all sources  
               consulted and relied upon, including the names and  
               affiliations of those sources, and shall be made  
               publicly accessible.
                 Once the Attorney General has reported that  
               owner-authorized handguns are being produced and  
               offered for sale in any state or country, the Attorney  
               General shall contact the manufacturer in writing and  
               inform it of the provisions of California law relating  
               to owner-authorized handguns.  The Attorney General  
               shall invite the manufacturer to submit its  
               owner-authorized handguns for testing at the  
               manufacturer's expense.
                 Owner-authorized handguns shall be deemed available  
               for retail sale when at least one domestic or foreign  
               manufacturer has submitted its owner-authorized  
               handgun for testing and the Attorney General has  
               determined that it meets certain performance  
               standards, as specified, provided that the Attorney  
               General may not certify that "owner-authorized  
               handguns" are available for retail sale, unless the  
               Attorney General has determined that either of the  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

               following requirements apply:

                  o         The manufacturer has the capacity to meet  
                    the reasonably expected demand of California  
                    residents for the new handguns; there is one  
                    technology that meets the required standards; and  
                    the manufacturer has provided written assurances  
                    that any applicable patents will either not be  
                    asserted or will be available for licensing on a  
                    nonexclusive basis on reasonable and  
                    nondiscriminatory terms.
                  o         There are at least two technologies that  
                    meet the required standards.

           This bill  provides that the requirement for the Attorney  
          General to submitting this report is inoperative on January  
          1, 2020, as specified.

           This bill  provides that beginning 18 months following the  
          release of a report by the Attorney General to the  
          Legislature and the Governor reporting that  
          owner-authorized handguns are available for retail sale, as  
          specified, any person who intentionally disables or  
          circumvents the technology of an owner-authorized handgun,  
          other than a licensed dealer as necessary to program the  
          owner-authorized handgun, is guilty of a misdemeanor. 


          For the last several years, severe overcrowding in  
          California's prisons has been the focus of evolving and  
          expensive litigation relating to conditions of confinement.  
           On May 23, 2011, the United States Supreme Court ordered  
          California to reduce its prison population to 137.5 percent  
          of design capacity within two years from the date of its  
          ruling, subject to the right of the state to seek  
          modifications in appropriate circumstances.  

          Beginning in early 2007, Senate leadership initiated a  
          policy to hold legislative proposals which could further  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

          aggravate the prison overcrowding crisis through new or  
          expanded felony prosecutions.  Under the resulting policy  
          known as "ROCA" (which stands for "Receivership/  
          Overcrowding Crisis Aggravation"), the Committee held  
          measures which created a new felony, expanded the scope or  
          penalty of an existing felony, or otherwise increased the  
          application of a felony in a manner which could exacerbate  
          the prison overcrowding crisis.  Under these principles,  
          ROCA was applied as a content-neutral, provisional measure  
          necessary to ensure that the Legislature did not erode  
          progress towards reducing prison overcrowding by passing  
          legislation which would increase the prison population.   
          ROCA necessitated many hard and difficult decisions for the  

          In January of 2013, just over a year after the enactment of  
          the historic Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011, the  
          State of California filed court documents seeking to vacate  
          or modify the federal court order to reduce the state's  
          prison population to 137.5 percent of design capacity.  The  
          State submitted in part that the, ". . .  population in the  
          State's 33 prisons has been reduced by over 24,000 inmates  
          since October 2011 when public safety realignment went into  
          effect, by more than 36,000 inmates compared to the 2008  
          population . . . , and by nearly 42,000 inmates since 2006  
          . . . ."  Plaintiffs, who oppose the state's motion, argue  
          in part that, "California prisons, which currently average  
          150% of capacity, and reach as high as 185% of capacity at  
          one prison, continue to deliver health care that is  
          constitutionally deficient."  

          In an order dated January 29, 2013, the federal court  
          granted the state a six-month extension to achieve the  
          137.5 % prisoner population cap by December 31st of this  

          The ongoing litigation indicates that prison capacity and  
          related issues concerning conditions of confinement remain  
          unsettled.  However, in light of the real gains in reducing  
          the prison population that have been made, although even  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

          greater reductions are required by the court, the Committee  
          will review each ROCA bill with more flexible  
          consideration.  The following questions will inform this  

                 whether a measure erodes realignment;
                 whether a measure addresses a crime which is  
               directly dangerous to the physical safety of others  
               for which there is no other reasonably appropriate  
                 whether a bill corrects a constitutional infirmity  
               or legislative drafting error; whether a measure  
               proposes penalties which are proportionate, and cannot  
               be achieved through any other reasonably appropriate  
               remedy; and
                 whether a bill addresses a major area of public  
               safety or criminal activity for which there is no  
               other reasonable, appropriate remedy.


          1.    Need for This Bill

           According to the author:

               SB 293 would require all newly manufactured or  
               imported handguns in California to be  
               owner-authorized, or personalized in a way that  
               would allow them to be fired only by authorized  
               persons.  This requirement will take effect  
               eighteen months following the release of a report  
               by the California Attorney General that  
               owner-authorized handguns are available for  
               retail sale.

               Owner-authorized handguns will help to prevent  
               both unintentional and intentional gun violence.   
               Injuries, homicides, suicides, and accidental  
               shootings could be significantly reduced in  
               California.  The illegal transfer of firearms  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

               could also be reduced.  

               An owner-authorized handgun could not be fired by  
               a child or teen unless authorized by the parent  
               or legal guardian, thereby establishing some  
               parental control over the weapon.  This would  
               help prevent young people from accidentally  
               shooting themselves and others, or committing  
               suicide or homicide with handguns.  Most parents  
               would say that they keep their firearms locked  
               away from their children, but all too often kids  
               find the gun and tragedy follows.  

               According to the Center for Disease Control,  
               suicide is the fourth leading cause of death of  
               children and teens; over 43% are committed with  
               firearms.  Despondent teens, or other depressed  
               individuals who are not authorized users, would  
               be unable to commit suicide with a personalized  

          2.   Background - The Product-Safety Approach to Reducing  
          Gun Violence  

          In a 2002 issue of the journal "The Future of Children," a  
          publication of The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and  
          International Affairs at Princeton University and The  
          Brookings Institution, researchers wrote the following:  

               The Promise of Personalized Guns
               Some researchers believe that the most important  
               change that could be made in the design of  
               handguns to reduce the incidence of gun-related  
               injuries, especially to children, would be to  
               personalize guns.  A "smart" gun would rely upon  
               a personal identification number (PIN), a  
               magnetic ring worn by the user, a radio-frequency  
               device on the user's clothing or person, or  
               fingerprint recognition technology to ensure that  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

               only an authorized user could actually fire the  
               gun.  Some technology to produce smart guns  
               already exists; other technology seems feasible  
               in the near future.

               Theoretically, handgun personalization would  
               prevent unauthorized persons of any age-not just  
               young children-from operating a firearm.  Until  
               these types of guns are widely available for use,  
               however, their effectiveness remains unmeasured.   
               It is not known how many firearm injuries  
               personalization of guns may prevent.  However,  
               personalization technology could prevent the use  
               of stolen handguns, thus shrinking the illegal  
               gun market, and it could decrease access to  
               firearms by adolescents and protect young  

               An Emerging Technology
               In 1992, faculty at The Johns Hopkins School of  
               Public Health commissioned three undergraduate  
               engineering students to devise a personalized  
               gun.  With an investment of $2,000, and use of  
               existing technology, the students converted a  
               revolver so that only its authorized user could  
               operate it.  The gun's firing mechanism was  
               blocked unless it was touched by an electronic  
               "touch-memory" device.  Only the handgun's  
               authorized user had possession of the device.  

               Today, the technology to make personalized guns  
               is far more sophisticated.  In the near future,  
               personalized guns that identify the authorized  
               user by a PIN programmed into a gun may be  
               available for sale.  This development would make  
               possible an early version of a personalized gun.   



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

               Another future version of a personalized gun  
               could employ biometrics, such as fingerprint  
               recognition, for identification of the authorized  
               user.  Computer chips already on the market for  
               use in other products immediately scan  
               fingerprints.  Soon these chips will be made  
               durable enough to withstand the trauma of gunfire  
               and will be incorporated into guns.  A  
               personalized holster already on the market keeps  
               a gun locked in its holster unless a device reads  
               the fingerprint of an authorized user.

               Potential Advantages and Drawbacks of  
               Personalized Guns 

               Personalization has the potential to make guns  
                                                                         less accessible to young people and therefore  
               holds promise for reducing firearm injury and  
               death.  Personalized guns are not a panacea,  
               however.  The increased cost of the guns, the  
               immense stock of nonpersonalized guns in this  
               country, and the potential for an increase in gun  
               sales once personalized guns enter the market  
               make uncertain the precise impact of smart guns  
               on the safety of children and youth.

               Personalized firearms would cost more than  
               firearms sold today, although how much more is  
               unknown.  A national poll on gun ownership and  
               safety found that 80% of people who would buy a  
               personalized gun would buy one even if the  
               personalization device added $100 to $300 to the  
               price.  Even so, it is unlikely that all, or even  
               a significant proportion, of the nearly 200  
               million existing firearms in the United States  
               would be retrofitted for personalization.  The  
               majority of these older weapons would remain  
               available for use and purchase.  Also unknown is  
               how many people who do not currently own firearms  
               would purchase personalized guns because they  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

               would seem safer than other guns.  Would the rate  
               of concealed- weapon carrying increase?  How many  
               mothers would buy a handgun for self-protection  
               if the handgun were "childproof"?

               Although firearms would remain hazardous for  
               children even with personalization, safer gun  
               design could contribute to the broader strategy  
               to prevent firearm injuries among children and  
               adolescents.  At the very least, young children  
               could be protected from adult inattention to safe  
               firearm storage.  In a more complex set of  
               circumstances, adolescents would have decreased  
               access to operable firearms.

               Adolescents, proscribed by law from owning  
               firearms, nevertheless have four types of access  
               to guns: (1) unauthorized access to firearms in  
               homes; (2) authorized access to firearms  
               transferred from My, fiends, and acquaintances;  
               (3) illegal purchase of firearms off the street  
               or through retailers, either directly or through  
               an intermediary; and (4) theft.  The hope for  
               personalization technology is that the firearm  
               operating system would be individualized to the  
               gun owner so that the illegal transfer of  
               weapons, the utilization of stolen weapons, and  
               other unauthorized weapon use could not occur or  
               would occur only with great effort.   
               Personalization could decrease the pool of  
               readily usable firearms.

               Thus, for an adolescent, operating a firearm and  
               obtaining an operable firearm would be more  
               difficult and complicated.  For adolescents, who  
               frequently behave impulsively [], the time it  
               would take to find a usable firearm or to make a  
               firearm usable might result in a change of mind  
               and a loss of interest.  Personalization could  
               thereby work to prevent many homicides, suicides,  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

               and unintentional injuries among children and  
               adolescents.  (Stephen P. Teret, J.D., M.P.H.;  
               Patti L. Culross, M.D., M.P.H., The Future of  
               Children, Vol. 12, No. 2, Children, Youth, and  
               Gun Violence.  (Summer - Autumn, 2002), pp.  

          3.   Legislative Efforts Around Owner-Authorized Handguns  

          Bills promoting owner-authorized handguns in some fashion  
          have been introduced in several states<1> as well as in  
          Congress.<2>  In 2002, New Jersey passed the first state to  
          require owner-authorized handguns, as soon as the  
          technology becomes available.  On December 23, 2002, the  
          Associated Press reported:

               New Jersey on Monday became the first state to  
               enact "smart gun" legislation that would  
               eventually require new handguns to contain a  
               mechanism that allows only their owners to fire  

               The law will not go into effect immediately  

          <1> New York Assembly Bill 4878, introduced 1997; New  
          Jersey Senate Bill 113, Assembly Bill 780, introduced 1998;  
          Pennsylvania House Bill 1376, introduced 1999; Tennessee  
          House Bill 0954, Senate Bill 0469, introduced 1999; Hawaii  
          House Bill 41, introduced 2001; Los Angeles motion to  
          require that handguns sold in the city incorporate safety  
          features to prevent unauthorized or accidental firing by  
          criminals, minors, and others, introduced 1999.
          <2> Children's Gun Violence Prevention Act of 1999, 106th  
          Congress, 1st Session (March 25, 1999), H.R. 1342 and S.  
          735; Childproof Handgun Act of 1999, 106th Congress, 1st  
          Session (January 28, 1999), S. 319; Childproof Handgun Act  
          of 1999, 106th Congress, 1st Session (June 7, 1999), H.R.  
          2025; Concurrent Resolution Expressing the Sense of  
          Congress in Support of the Development and Use of Firearms  
          Personalization Technology, 106th Congress, 1st Session  
          (June 7, 1999), H. Con. Res. 125.



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               because the technology is still under development  
               and it could be years before it becomes a  
               reality.  But supporters hailed it as an  
               important milestone in the campaign to reduce  
               handgun deaths.

               "This is common-sense legislation.  There are  
               safety regulations on cars, on toys.  It's  
               clearly time we have safety regulations on  
               handguns," Gov. James E. McGreevey said at  
               Monday's bill signing ceremony.   

          4.  Is This A Sole-Source Technology? 

          The race appears to be on to develop this new technology.   
          One group actively researching this technology is the New  
          Jersey Institute of Technology:

               Since 1999, NJIT has spearheaded efforts to  
               develop a personalized handgun that can instantly  
               and reliably recognize one or more pre-programmed  
               authorized users.  To date, the New Jersey  
               legislature has awarded NJIT $1.5 million for the  

               In 2003, [Michael] Recce [PhD] received a patent  
               for Dynamic Grip Recognition.  The invention  
               enabled NJIT electrical engineering professor  
               Timothy Chang, PhD, assisted by a team of  
               engineers, to embed multiple small electronic  
               sensors in the grip.  The sensors identify the  
               user.  The finished gun will eventually feature  
               both electronic features and computerized parts.   
               Recce sees his invention someday also being used  
               in other applications-perhaps the yoke of a plane  
               or a car's steering wheel.



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               Also in 2003, NJIT signed an agreement with Metal  
               Storm, which owns a patent for its Electronic  
               Firing System that can be used in a handgun.   
               Metal Storm's O'DwyerTM VLe system is a unique,  
               patented approach to firing projectiles.   
               Entirely electronic, the system utilizes  
               preloaded barrels holding multiple projectiles  
               that are fired by electronic ignition.  For the  
               first time, interchangeable and multiple barrels  
               can be made available to fire a range of  
               projectiles of varying calibers from the same  
               handgun.  (Spotlight: Smart Gun Technology Works,  
               New Jersey Institute of Technology Newsroom,  
               January 2005.)

          The NJIT researchers approach involves "Dynamic Grip  
          Recognition," essentially, sensors in the guns handle are  
          programmed to recognize the user's grip.  

               The gun relies on Dynamic Grip Recognition, a  
               biometric technology embedded in its handle.   
               Sensors and microprocessors analyze the complex  
               interplay of bones and muscles involved in  
               pulling the trigger, all in a fraction of a  
               second.  "The way you hold a gun, curl your  
               fingers, contract your hand muscles as you pull  
               the trigger-all of those measurements are  
               unique," says Donald Sebastian, vice president  
               for research and development at NJIT.  (A Smart  
               Shooter?,, 12/20/2005,  

          However, the New Jersey researchers are not the only ones  
          seeking to develop some type of owner authorized handgun.   
          Background submitted by the author suggests that a  
          different approach is being pursued by the Austrian  
          NANOIDENT Group:  

               Biometric recognition technology is used in many  



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               applications to verify a person's identity, in  
               order to prevent unauthorized access to  
               restricted places and sensitive data.  Properly  
               applied, such technology can provide a highly  
               reliable form of authentication, which could be  
               used to ensure that only authorized persons are  
               able to use a handgun.

               The realm of biometric sensors and related  
               technology is about to experience a revolution.   
               A very small number of companies are starting  
               production of electronics using specialized  
               printing techniques.  For electronics, it  
               represents a major departure from the old method  
               of building up layers on silicon "chips," a  
               method that could eventually become obsolete.

               Using organic polymer "inks" that are very  
               specialized, the technique allows circuits to be  
               printed on thin, flexible materials.  Moreover,  
               these optoelectronic circuits can now contain  
               their own light sources, their own sensor arrays,  
               and even their own displays.  NANOIDENT Group,  
               headquartered in Austria, is the market leader in  
               this technology, merging the latest breakthroughs  
               in materials science and nanotechnology.

               The combined set of these technical strides  
               represents a giant leap for biometric access  
               control, particularly well suited to smart guns.   
               The biometric systems will be far less costly  
               than silicon chips.  They will be disposable,  
               bendable, very light, ultra-thin and can be  
               fashioned into any conceivable shape.  In  
               addition, they will be faster and more accurate  
               at the core task of biometric sensing.

               In the proposed solution the sensor is a printed  
               matrix sensor making direct contact with the palm  
               skin surface.  The emitted light from the  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

               sensor-integrated light source illuminates and  
               penetrates the tissue of the user palm.  The  
               reflected light from the skin surface, subdermal  
               tissue and vein structures is then captured by  
               the sensor array.

               Thanks to the cost structure resulting from the  
               printing technology, the size, the location, the  
               form factor and the shape (possibly curved) of  
               the sensor can be defined to optimize the  
               performance (false acceptances and false  
               rejections) of the smart gun biometric access  
               control system.  This makes the integration of  
               the sensor into the smart gun handgrip easier  
               while ensuring a reliable authentication.

               The combined analysis of skin surface, vein  
               structure and sub-dermal properties also enables  
               detection of any gummy fake biometrics that  
               unauthorized users might use to fool the  
               biometric system.  The smart gun access control  
               is thus more secure and reliable. 

               The production capacity for such printed sensors  
               is immediately available.  Because of the  
               necessary development work to integrate these  
               solutions into smart gun applications, their mass  
               production is planned to start by the first half  
               of 2011, while the first prototypes demonstrating  
               the solution are expected as early as the second  
               half of 2009.  (White Paper.  New Sensor  
               Technologies Enable Reliable and Secure Biometric  
               Access Control for Smart Guns.  NANOIDENT, April  
               01, 2008.)

          This bill describes a series of characteristics that  
          "owner-authorized" handguns would be required to contain,  
          if such technology becomes available.  It appears that  
          different researchers are attempting to create a weapon  
          that would only allow a recognized user to fire it but  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

          through significantly different technologies.  It appears  
          that the requirements of the "owner authorized handgun"  
          that would potentially be mandated by this bill could be  
          met by more than one technological method and therefore by  
          more than one supplier.  Depending on the timing of when  
          these technologies become viable, however, there could be a  
          period of time when only one patented technology meets the  
          requirements of what constitutes a safe handgun under the  
          definition contained in this bill.  In that case, the law  
          could require handgun buyers to buy the product of one  
          company.  Because it is not clear that the technology has  
          been developed to reliably meet the specifications of this  
          bill, this question appears to be speculative at this  

          5.  Constitutional Considerations  

          The Second Amendment of the Constitution states, "A well  
          regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a  
          free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,  
          shall not be infringed."  (United States Const. Amend. 2.)   
          For years, courts and commentators have interpreted that  
          language to mean that the right secured by the Second  
          Amendment relates to firearm ownership only in the context  
          of a "well regulated militia."  This is known as the  
          "collective rights" interpretation.  In the landmark case  
          of District of Columbia v. Heller, the United States  
          Supreme Court rejected the "collective rights" view of the  
          Second Amendment, and, instead, endorsed the "individual  
          rights" interpretation, that the Second Amendment protects  
          the right of each citizen to firearm ownership.  After  
          adopting this reading of the Second Amendment, the Supreme  
          Court held that federal law may not prevent citizens from  
          owning a handgun in their home.  (District of Columbia v.  
          Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 683-684.)  Two years later, in  
          McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court extended  
          this ruling to apply to laws passed by the 50 states.   
          (McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010).) 

          One question this bill poses is whether requiring firearms  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

          owners to buy only handguns that meet the  specifications  
          contained in this bill violates the right to home defense,  
          as recognized in Heller.  After deciding that the Second  
          Amendment protects an individual right to firearm  
          ownership, the Court applied that to the law in question:

               We turn finally to the law at issue here.  As we  
               have said, the law totally bans handgun  
               possession in the home.  It also requires that  
               any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or  
               bound by a trigger lock at all times, rendering  
               it inoperable. 

               As the quotations earlier in this opinion  
               demonstrate, the inherent right of self-defense  
               has been central to the Second Amendment right.   
               The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an  
               entire class of "arms" that is overwhelmingly  
               chosen by American society for that lawful  
               purpose.  The prohibition extends, moreover, to  
               the home, where the need for defense of self,  
               family, and property is most acute.  Under any of  
               the standards of scrutiny that we have applied to  
               enumerated constitutional rights, banning from  
               the home "the most preferred firearm in the  
               nation to 'keep' and use for protection of one's  
               home and family," would fail constitutional  
               muster.  (District of Columbia v. Heller, 554  
               U.S. 570, 628-629 (2008) (citations and footnotes  

          The law that the Supreme Court struck down in Heller  
          required the firearms owner to render the firearm  
          inoperable while they were at home.  This bill would  
          require, among other things, that if the user is not  
          recognized, or if the power supply fails, the firearm shall  
          be inoperable.  Members may wish to consider whether  
          requiring all handguns sold in California to become  
          inoperable if the handgun's power supply fails is  
          consistent with the ruling in Heller.



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

          6.  Argument in Support  

          The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence states in part:

               The concept of an owner authorized handgun has  
               been under discussion for over fifteen years.  In  
               2002, New Jersey passed a law similar to SB 293.   
               A number of technological solutions have been  
               explored, but none had been sufficiently  
               reliable.  However, there have been recent  
               advances in access control technologies and  
               features for handguns and prototypes are becoming  
               available.  This technology has the potential to  
               achieve very high authorized user recognition  
               reliability and very short response times.



               Once owner-authorized handguns are commercially  
               available, accidental firearm injuries,  
               homicides, and suicides could be significantly  
               reduced.  Personalized handguns would be  
               inoperable by unauthorized users - including  
               children, troubled young adults, and thieves -  
               thereby helping to prevent intentional and  
               unintentional gun violence in California.  

               The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary  
               School demonstrates the potential benefits of  
               owner-authorized weapons.  The shooter used his  
               mother's guns - had they been equipped with  
               owner-authorized technology, the mass shooting  
               may have been averted.  It is paramount that  
               young people be prevented from inappropriate  
               access to firearms.  Every day in the U.S., eight  
               children and teenagers are killed by a firearm;  
               suicide is the fourth leading cause of death of  
               young people.  An owner-authorized handgun could  
               not be fired by a child or teen; hence, curious  
               small children could not accidentally shoot  
               themselves or others, despondent teens could not  
               shoot themselves, and troubled young people could  
               not commit rampage school shootings with guns  
               taken from home.  

               Moreover, owner-authorized handguns provide a  
               means to reduce gun trafficking since illegally  
               obtained guns would not be operable.  Stolen  
               handguns that are personalized could not be  
               fired.  Similarly, handguns acquired through  
               straw purchasers or gun traffickers could not be  
               used.  These illegally obtained handguns are the  
               weapons that fuel the gun violence in our urban  

          7.  Argument in Opposition  



                                                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier)

          Safari Club International states:

               Many hunters use handguns for hunting.  By mandating  
               "user authorized" handgun technology, SB 293 would  
               make it impossible for a hunter who does not wish to  
               purchase "user authorized" technology to buy a handgun  
               without it.

               There are many situations in the field where hunting  
               takes place, or the shooting range where marksmanship  
               practice takes place, when a hunter may wish for  
               someone else to use or to evaluate their handgun.  The  
               handgun may be in need of repair or service by a  
               gunsmith.  It would be impossible for a handgun owner  
               to foresee all of these situations and to  
               pre-authorize selected other persons to be able to  
               discharge his or her firearm.

               The bill provides no testing standards or procedures  
               for manufacturers and the Attorney General to follow  
               in determining whether a given "user authorized"  
               design is in compliance.  How would the Attorney  
               General or a manufacturer know how to proceed in  
               making such a determination?

               Furthermore, consumers who do not want to buy "user  
               authorized" features should not be mandated to  
               purchase them.  It should be a matter of individual  
               choice whether to buy a handgun employing this  
               technology, if it is ever developed.