BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 293
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   July 2, 2013
          Chief Counsel:      Gregory Pagan


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                                 Tom Ammiano, Chair

                   SB 293 (DeSaulnier) - As Amended:  May 24, 2013


           SUMMARY  :   Provides that if two owner-authorized handguns are  
          placed on the Department of Justice (DOJ) roster of not unsafe  
          handguns, commencing two years from the date the second handgun  
          was placed on the roster, DOJ shall not place a handgun on the  
          roster that is not an owner-authorized handgun.  Specifically,  
           this bill  :   

          1)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 authorized users, and  
            that cannot be readily deactivated.

          2)Requires owner-authorized handguns to comply with the  
            following minimum performance standards:

             a)   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.

             b)   The time from first contact to use recognition and  
               firearm enablement shall not be more than 0.3 seconds.

             c)   The time from loss of contact with the authorized user  
               and firearm disablement shall be no more than 0.3 seconds.

             d)   When the firearm is enabled the "ready" condition shall  
               be indicated by a visible indicator.

             e)   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.

             f)   If the user is not recognized, or if the power supply  








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               fails, the firearm shall be inoperable.

             g)   Enabling authorized user information shall be stored in  
               the firearm as permanent memory that is restored when the  
               power is restored.

             h)   The firearm shall capable of use by more than one  
               authorized user and, if the firearm uses hand recognition  
               technology, it shall recognize either of the authorized  
               user's hands.

          3)States that an owner-authorized handgun shall only be  
            programmed by a licensed firearms dealer.

          4)Provides that biometric data collected for the purpose of  
            programming the owner authorized handgun shall not be used for  
            any purpose other than programming the owner-authorized  
            handgun, and the DOJ shall not retain any biometric data that  
            may be stored.

          5)Requires a manufacturer that has developed an owner-authorized  
            handgun meeting the minimum specified standard to submit the  
            handgun for testing, at the owner's expense, before the  
            handgun may be placed on the DOJ's roster of not unsafe  
            handguns.

          6)States that if two owner-authorized handguns have been place  
            on the DOJ roster of not unsafe handguns, commencing two years  
            from the date the second handgun was placed on the roster, DOJ  
            shall not place a handgun on the roster that is not an  
            owner-authorized handgun.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)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.  (Penal Code Sections  
            27540, 27545, and 28050.)  

          2)Provides that commencing January 1, 2001, no "unsafe handgun" may  
            be manufactured or sold in California by a licensed dealer, except  
            as specified, and requires that the Department of Justice prepare  
            and maintain a roster of handguns which are determined not to be  
            unsafe handguns.  Private party sales (used or previously owned)  
            and transfers of handguns through a licensed dealer or sheriff in  








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            smaller counties are exempted from those restrictions.  (Penal  
            Code Sections 27545, 32000, et seq., and 32110.)

          3)Defines an "unsafe handgun" as any pistol, revolver, or other  
            firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, as specified,  
            which lacks various safety mechanisms and does not pass listed  
            tests, as specified.  (Penal Code Section 31910.)

          4)Requires any concealable firearm manufactured in California, or  
            intended to be imported for sale, kept for sale, or offered for  
            sale to be tested within a reasonable period of time by an  
            independent laboratory, certified by the DOJ, to determine whether  
            it meets required safety standards, as specified.  (Penal Code  
            Section 32010.)

          5)Requires DOJ, on and after January 1, 2001, to compile, publish,  
            and thereafter maintain a roster listing all of the pistols,  
            revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed upon the  
            person that have been tested by a certified testing laboratory,  
            have been determined not to be unsafe handguns, and may be sold in  
            this state, as specified.  The roster shall list, for each  
            firearm, the manufacturer, model number, and model name.  (Penal  
            Code Section 32015.)

          6)Provides that DOJ may charge every person in California who is  
            licensed as a manufacturer of firearms, as specified, and any  
            person in California who manufactures or causes to be  
            manufactured, imports into California for sale, keeps for sale, or  
            offers or exposes for sale any pistol, revolver, or other firearm  
            capable of being concealed upon the person in California, an  
            annual fee not exceeding the costs of preparing, publishing, and  
            maintaining the roster of firearms determined not to be unsafe,  
            and the costs of research and development, report analysis,  
            firearms storage, and other program infrastructure costs, as  
            specified.  (Penal Code Section 32015.)

          7)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.  [Penal Code Section  
            32000(a).]  Specifies that this section shall not apply to any  
            of the following [Penal Code Section 32000(b)]:

             a)   The manufacture in California, or importation into this  








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               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 DOJ to  
               conduct an independent 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.

             b)   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.

             c)   Firearms listed as curios or relics, as defined in  
               federal law.

             d)   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, 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.

          8)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.   
            [Penal Code Section 32000(c).]  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Author's Statement  :  According to the author "SB 293 would  
            require two years after two manufacturers have  
            owner-authorized handguns on the 'Roster of Handguns Certified  
            for Sale; no handgun can be placed on the roster by the  








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            Department of Justice that is not owner-authorized.

          "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 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 handgun."

           2)Argument in Support  :  The  California Chapter of the Brady  
            campaign to Prevent Gun Violence  states, "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 person.  This bill  
            specifies the requirements that such a handgun would have to  
            meet and requires that manufacturers submit new models to the  
            DOJ for certification at the manufacturer's expense.  Once two  
            or more new models have been placed on the safe handgun  
            roster, the DOJ will be prohibited from placing any additional  
            handguns on the roster unless they also have owner-authorized  
            technology.

          "The concept of an owner-authorized handgun has been under  
            discussion for over 15 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  








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            prevent intentional and unintentional gun violence in  
            California."

           3)Argument in Opposition  :  The  California Association of  
            Firearms Retailers  argues, "By permitting a specified failure  
            rate, SB 293 recognizes itself that no safe and reliable  
            'owner authorized' handgun technology is available, even after  
            years of research and development.  The technology is still  
            not perfected and thus is not ready for sale to the public.

          "Firearm retailers oppose mandates as proposed in SB 293 because  
            anything less than 100% reliability in the technology could  
            result in unproven, potentially less safe and less reliable  
            handguns being available for sale to the public.

          "This, in turn, would create a situation that could result in  
            increased liability exposure for firearms dealers.  This  
            especially true in the case of SB 293 because, although the  
            bill mandates performance standards for the technology at the  
            time of manufacturing, it contains no standards for device  
            quality, durability, warranty or for device manufacturing  
            processes.

          "As a result, SB 293 could allow lesser quality devices into the  
            retail marketplace that could fail soon after purchase.

          "Leaving it to the DOJ to establish such standards by regulation  
            will just result in another bill that cannot be properly  
            implemented because the legislation did not contain adequate  
            direction to the DOJ relative to exactly what is needed.

          "The loaded chamber indicator and microstamping bills are two  
            recent examples of legislation that were so vague in their  
            drafting that is virtually impossible to successfully  
            implement them.

          "In the case of firearms, complete reliability can mean the  
            difference between life and death for someone in a  
            self-defense situation.

          "Legislative mandates as provided in SB 293 can operate to deny  
            consumers the ability to purchase the firearms having the  
            features that best meets their specific needs.  Consumers who  
            do not want to buy 'user authorized' features should not be  
            mandated to purchase them.  Such devices will also add  








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            significantly to the purchase price of a handgun which could  
            create an economic barrier preventing many from buying them.

          "It is also likely that design changes will have to be made to  
            existing models of handguns to accommodate the technology,  
            thus further increasing the costs of production and consumer  
            prices."

           4)Prior Legislation:
           
             a)   AB 2235 (DeSaulnier) of the 2007-2008 Legislative  
               Session was substantially similar to this bill in that it  
               defined an owner-authorized handgun and required DOJ to  
               certify when owner authorized handguns are available for  
               retail sale.  AB 2235 was held on the Senate Appropriations  
               suspense file.

             b)   AB 1219 (Frommer) of the 2001-2002 Legislative Session  
               prohibited the sale manufactured after January 1, 2004,  
               unless that firearm includes an integrated safety device  
               which prevents children and unauthorized users from  
               discharging the firearm.  AB 1219 was later substantially  
               amended into a different subject matter.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          American Federation of State and Municipal and County Employees
          California Chapter of the American College of Emergency  
          Physicians 
          California Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
          City of Los Angeles
          City of Oakland
          Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
          South County Citizens Against Gun Violence

           Opposition 

           California Association of Firearms Retailers
          California Rifle and Pistol Association
          California Sportsman's Lobby
          Crossroads of the West Gun Shows
          Gun Owners of California 
          National Rifle Association








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          National Shooting Sports Foundation
          Outdoor Sportsmen's Coalition of California 
          Safari Club International Foundation
          Sheriff of Riverside County
          Sheriff of Shasta County
          Three private individuals


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Gregory Pagan / PUB. S. / (916)  
          319-3744