BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 683
          Author:   Block (D)
          Amended:  5/24/13
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  5-2, 4/16/13
          AYES:  Hancock, Block, De León, Liu, Steinberg
          NOES:  Anderson, Knight

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  5-2, 5/23/13
          AYES:  De León, Hill, Lara, Padilla, Steinberg
          NOES:  Walters, Gaines


           SUBJECT  :    Firearms:  firearm safety certificate

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill extends to all firearms the requirements in  
          existing law that all handgun purchasers obtain a handgun safety  
          certificate (HSC) prior to taking possession of the handgun and  
          makes conforming changes to statutes regarding HSCs.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

           1. Provides that no person shall do either of the following:

              A.    Purchase or receive any handgun, except an antique  
                firearm, without a valid HSC.
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              B.    Sell, deliver, loan, or transfer any handgun, except  
                an antique firearm, to any person who does not have a  
                valid HSC.

              C.    Any person who violates subdivision (a) of Penal Code  
                Section 31615 is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up  
                to six months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or  
                both.

           1. Requires the license applicant to complete and pass a  
             written test prescribed by the Department of Justice (DOJ)  
             and administered by an instructor certified by DOJ.  

           2. Provides that the DOJ shall develop HSCs to be issued by  
             instructors certified by the DOJ, to those persons who have  
             complied with specified requirements.  

           3. Allows the DOJ to charge a certified instructor up to $15  
             for each HSC issued by that instructor and requires the funds  
             to be deposited in the Firearms Safety and Enforcement  
             Special Fund (Special Fund), which is a continuously  
             appropriated fund.

          This bill:

          1. Extends to all firearms the requirements in existing law that  
             all handgun purchasers obtain a HSC prior to taking  
             possession of the handgun commencing January 1, 2015.  Makes  
             conforming changes to statutes regarding HSCs.

          2. Allows, commencing January 1, 2015, the DOJ to collect $15  
             for each firearm safety certificate and requires the funds to  
             be deposited in the Special Fund, which is continuously  
             appropriated, thereby making and appropriation.

           Background
           
          Beginning in 1993, possession of a HSC was required to transfer  
          firearms.  The DOJ was required to create the requisite process  
          to obtain a HSC.  Exemptions were provided for specified classes  
          of persons who did not need to either successfully take the  
          course or challenge the course with a specified exam. 


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          SB 52 (Scott, Chapter 942, Statutes of 2001) repealed the Basic  
          Firearms Safety and Certificate Program and replaced that  
          Program with the more stringent Handgun Safety Licensing  
          Program.  The bill provided that, effective January 1, 2003, no  
          person may purchase, transfer, receive, or sell a handgun  
          without a HSC.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  Yes   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

             One-time costs of $716,000 (Special Fund) over two years to  
             DOJ to update program materials including safety guides,  
             certificates, the written test, safety video, and related  
             materials.  Costs to be fully covered by fees.

             Annual DOJ enforcement costs of about $500,000 (Special  
             Fund) to be covered by the $15 transaction fee.

             Non-reimbursable local enforcement costs offset to a degree  
             by fine revenue.

             Non-reimbursable local incarceration costs to the extent  
             persons are convicted of the misdemeanor offenses of  
             falsifying a firearm safety certificate or conducting  
             transactions involving a firearm without a valid firearm  
             safety certificate.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/24/13)

          American Academy of Pediatrics
          Bend the Arc:  Jewish Partnership for Justice
          California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun  
          Violence
          California Church Impact
          California Medical Association
          Christy Lynne Wilson Foundation
          City of Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
          CLUE California
          Courage Campaign
          Doctors for America
          Laguna Woods Democratic Club
          Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

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          Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
          Moms Demand for Gun Sense in America - San Francisco Bay Area  
          Chapter
          PICO California
          South County Citizens Against Gun Violence
          Violence Prevention Coalition of Orange County
          Youth ALIVE!

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  5/24/13)

          California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees
          California Rifle and Pistol Association
          National Rifle Association

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT :    According to the author:

             It is important that the State of California ensures that  
             everyone who buys a firearm is a responsible gun-owner with  
             demonstrated knowledge of safe handling and gun laws.   
             Currently, California requires potential handgun owners to  
             take and pass a safety certificate test designed to ensure  
             that the buyer understands the law and knows how to safely  
             handle a handgun.  To buy a long gun, however, a buyer is not  
             required to show that he or she is proficient in the safe  
             handling of the gun or knows the laws associated with the  
             long gun.

             Expanding the Safety Certificate to include long guns ensures  
             that everyone who buys a firearm is an educated and  
             responsible gun-owner.  A long gun can be a dangerous weapon  
             without knowledge of proper handling procedures.  First-time  
             buyers are often not aware of the proper and safe handling of  
             a firearm.  They are also frequently unaware of California's  
             complicated firearm laws.

             This bill seeks to increase the number of responsible gun  
             owners by requiring a Firearm Safety Certificate to buy any  
             firearm.  This will increase the knowledge gun owners have  
             regarding their own weapons for the purpose of encouraging  
             responsible gun ownership and use, and preventing accidents  
             from happening.

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    California Association of Federal  
          Firearms Licensees writes:

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            This measure would make the qualification test for a "firearm  
            safety certificate" unnecessarily difficult as it will require  
            detailed knowledge of the many firearm types that a purchaser  
            doesn't - and may never - own.

            Handgun purchasers seeking to exercise Second Amendment rights  
            acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme Court in D.C., at al. v.  
            Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008), would no longer just need to  
            know the details of handguns.  Under SB 683, they would also  
            need to learn, know, and pass a test on the intricacies of  
            firearm categories like rifles, shotguns, other long guns, and  
            firearms Federally classified as Any Other Weapons, each  
            having myriad action types such as lever, pump,  
            semi-automatic, single-shot, and others -- this despite the  
            fact that they may never chose to own any of them.


          JG/AL:k  5/24/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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