BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 374
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          SENATE THIRD READING
          SB 374 (Steinberg)
          As Amended  September 6, 2013
          Majority vote

           SENATE VOTE  :23-15  
           
           PUBLIC SAFETY       4-2         APPROPRIATIONS      11-6        
           
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Ayes:|Ammiano, Jones-Sawyer,    |Ayes:|Gatto, Bocanegra,         |
          |     |Quirk, Skinner            |     |Bradford,                 |
          |     |                          |     |Ian Calderon, Campos,     |
          |     |                          |     |Gomez, Hall, Holden, Pan, |
          |     |                          |     |Quirk, Weber              |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |Nays:|Melendez, Waldron         |Nays:|Harkey, Bigelow,          |
          |     |                          |     |Donnelly, Eggman, Linder, |
          |     |                          |     |Wagner                    |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 

           SUMMARY  :  Amends the definition of an assault weapon as it  
          pertains to rifles and defines "detachable magazines" and "fixed  
          magazines".  Specifies that rifles which are not assault weapons  
          have fixed magazines.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Amends the definition of an assault weapon as it pertains to  
            rifles only.  The new definition is a rifle is an assault  
            weapon if it is:

             a)   A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that does not have a  
               fixed magazine with the capacity to accept 10 rounds or  
               more; or,

             b)   A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall  
               length of less than 30 inches.

          2)Defines a "detachable magazine" as "an ammunition feeding  
            device that can be removed readily from the firearm without  
            disassembly of the firearm action."

          3)Defines a "fixed magazine" as an ammunition feeding device  
            contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a  
            manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly  








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            of the firearm action.

          4)Provides that a person who, between January 1, 2001, and prior  
            to January 1, 2014, lawfully possessed an assault weapon that  
            does not have a fixed magazine, as defined, and including  
            those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be  
            removed readily from the firearm with the use of a tool, shall  
            register the firearm by July 1, 2014, with the Department of  
            Justice (DOJ) pursuant to procedures determined by DOJ.

           EXISTING LAW  :  
           
           1)Defines an "assault weapon" as one of certain specified rifles  
            and pistols or as:  

              a)   A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity  
               to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the  
               following:
              
                i)     A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath  
                 the action of the weapon;  

                ii)    A thumbhole stock;  

                iii)   A vertical handgrip;  

                iv)    A folding or telescoping stock;  

                v)     A grenade launcher or flare launcher;  

                vi)    A flash suppressor; or,  

                vii)   A forward handgrip.
                
              b)   A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed  
               magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds;  

              c)   A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall  
               length of less than 30 inches;  

              d)   A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a  
               detachable magazine and has at least one of the following:
              
                i)     A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash  
                 suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;  








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                ii)    A second handgrip; 

                iii)   A shroud that is attached to, or partially or  
                 completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer  
                 to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand,  
                 excepting a slide that encloses the barrel; or,  

                iv)    The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some  
                 location outside of the pistol grip.
                
              e)   A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has  
               the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds;  

              f)   A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:
              
                i)     A folding or telescoping stock; and, 

                ii)    A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath  
                 the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical  
                 handgrip.
                
              g)   A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a  
               detachable magazine; and  

              h)   Any shotgun that has a revolving cylinder.   

           2)Defines a "detachable magazine" as any ammunition feeding  
            device that can be removed readily from the firearm with  
            neither disassembly of the firearm action nor use of a tool  
            being required.  A bullet or ammunition cartridge is  
            considered a tool.  Ammunition feeding device includes any  
            belted or linked ammunition, but does not include clips, en  
            bloc clips, or stripper clips that load cartridges into the  
            magazine.   

          FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee:

          1)One-time special fund Dealers' Record of Sale (DROS) costs in  
            the $3 million range over three years to DOJ to transform the  
            current - and aging - Assault Weapon Registration system into  
            a system capable of handling an estimated one million assault  
            weapon registrations by July 1, 2015, and to process these  
            registrations.  These costs would be fully offset by the $15  








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            DROS fee authorized by this bill to cover DOJ costs. 

          2)Unknown, potentially significant annual state General Fund  
            (GF) and local incarceration costs, for additional commitments  
            for possession, manufacture or sale of an assault weapon under  
            the expanded definition, the penalty for which ranges from one  
            year in county jail to four, six, or eight years in county  
            jail, pursuant to correctional realignment.  If the person  
            committing this offense has a violent or serious prior, the  
            penalty can be doubled and the sentence served in state  
            prison.  Extrapolating from almost 1,000 arrests for  
            possession of an assault weapon in 2012, for every 10 persons  
            with a prior serious or violent felony conviction who are  
            convicted of possession of an assault weapon, pursuant to the  
            definition in this bill, the annual out-year GF cost would be  
            about $1 million in four years, assuming an average term of  
            two years and full -per capita costs. 

          Local incarceration costs would be lower, given shorter terms on  
            average. 

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, "The Sandy Hook Elementary  
          School shooting is only one of many tragedies depicting the  
          devastating lethality of military-style, rapid-rate-of-fire  
          weapons.  In July of 2012, twelve people were killed and 58  
          others were injured within a few minutes of an assailant  
          entering a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.  That shooter was  
          armed with multiple assault rifles and high capacity magazines  
          able to hold up to 100 rounds.  In July of 2011, a shooter armed  
          with a Ruger Mini-14 and a Glock 34 pistol shot, killed 69  
          people and wounded 110 others at a children's summer camp in  
          Norway.  Both of the weapons used in Norway currently are legal  
          in California.

          "The list of these shootings goes on and on and the common  
          characteristic of the firearms used in these mass shootings is  
          the ability to detach a magazine and rapidly reload.  That is  
          why I introduced SB 374 which will prohibit the future sale,  
          purchase, manufacture, importation, or transfer in California of  
          semi-automatic rifles that can accept detachable magazines.    
          Rifles with detachable magazines have a virtually unlimited  
          capacity to kill.  It is this specific feature that this bill  
          targets: the ability to shoot unchecked semiautomatic gunfire.   
          By focusing on the function of these weapons and not just their  
          form this bill is aimed at the commercialization of mass killing  








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          machines, not the rights of sporting gun and hunting  
          enthusiasts.

          "Specifically, SB 374 will amend the current definition of  
          illegal 'assault weapon' to include a semiautomatic, or  
          centerfire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine with the  
          capacity to accept ten or fewer rounds.  

          "California has been a leader in regulating firearms and banning  
          military style weapons since 1989.  But, even these laws have  
          loopholes and gaps that the gun manufacturers have exploited. SB  
          374 and the other seven bills in the LIFE Act (Life-saving  
          Intelligent Firearms Enforcement) Act - are merely updating  
          California's statutes to stop the work-arounds that  
          manufacturers have figured out.  

          "In 1989, California passed the first statewide law in the  
          nation designed to ban assault weapons.  Soon after its passage,  
          however, the firearms industry made minor cosmetic changes to  
          many banned assault weapons evading the intent of the law and  
          allowing their continued sale.  In 1999, California moved to  
          update the law to address the industry's actions again.  

          "And now manufactures have done it again.  They have figured out  
          how to make a long gun into a rapid reload, military-style  
          weapon by just the push of a button.  

          "Well, I say enough.  We can't trust manufacturers to follow the  
          intent of the law so we will change the law to require fixed  
          magazines on all long guns so manufacturers cannot create a work  
          around that guts the intent of California's laws."   
           
          Please see the policy committee analysis for a full discussion  
          of this bill.
           

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


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