BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 683
                                                                  Page 1

          Date of Hearing:  August 13, 2013
          Counsel:       Shaun Naidu


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                                 Tom Ammiano, Chair

                     SB 683 (Block) - As Amended:  August 7, 2013


           SUMMARY  :   Extends the safety certificate requirement for  
          handguns to all firearms and requires the performance of a safe  
          handling demonstration to receive a long gun.  Specifically,  
           this bill  :

          1)Starting January 1, 2015, extends the safety certificate  
            requirement for handguns to all firearms and makes conforming  
            changes.

          2)Requires long-gun recipients, except as specified, to perform  
            a safe handling demonstration before receiving that firearm  
            from a licensed firearm dealer.  Requires the Department of  
            Justice (DOJ) to adopt regulations by January 1, 2015  
            establishing a long-gun safe-handling demonstration that  
            includes, at a minimum, loading and unloading the long gun.

          3)Exempts individuals with valid current-season hunting  
            licenses, or valid hunting licenses from the hunting season  
            immediately preceding the calendar year, from the firearm  
            safety certificate requirement when acquiring a firearm other  
            than handguns.  This exemption is in addition to the current  
            list of exemptions to the handgun safety certificate  
            requirements.

          4)Exempts individuals with unexpired handgun safety certificates  
            from the firearm safety certificate requirement when acquiring  
            only handguns.

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Prohibits a dealer, except as specified, from delivering a  
            handgun unless the person receiving the handgun presents to  
            the dealer a valid handgun safety certificate.  (Penal Code  
            Section 26840.)









                                                                  SB 683
                                                                  Page 2

          2)Punishes as a misdemeanor any person who purchases or receives  
            any handgun, except as specified, without a valid handgun  
            safety certificate or any person who sells, delivers, loans,  
            or transfers any handgun, except as specified, to a person who  
            does not have a valid handgun safety certificate.  (Penal Code  
            Section 31615.)

          3)Requires the safety certificate applicant to complete and pass  
            a written test prescribed by DOJ and administered by a  
            DOJ-certified instructor.  The test must cover, but is not  
            limited to, the following:

             a)   The laws applicable to carrying and handling firearms,  
               particularly handguns;

             b)   The responsibilities of ownership of firearms,  
               particularly handguns;

             c)   Current law as it relates to the sale and transfer of  
               firearms laws;

             d)   Current law as it relates to the permissible use of  
               lethal force; 

             e)   What constitutes safe firearm storage;

             f)   Risks associated with bringing handguns into the home;  
               and,

             g)   Prevention strategies to address issues associated with  
               bringing firearms into the home.  (Penal Code Section  
               31640.)

          4)Authorizes a certified instructor who administers the handgun  
            safety test to charge a fee of $25, $15 of which is to be paid  
            to DOJ to cover DOJ's cost in carrying out and enforcing  
            provisions relating to the handgun safety certificate and  
            other specified provisions of law.  (Penal Code Section  
            31650.)

          5)Provides that DOJ shall develop handgun safety certificates,  
            which expire 5 years after the date of issue, to be issued by  
            DOJ-certified instructors to those persons who have complied  
            with specified requirements.  A handgun safety certificate  
            shall include, but not be limited to, the following  








                                                                  SB 683
                                                                  Page 3

            information:

             a)   A unique handgun safety certificate identification  
               number;

             b)   The holder's full name;

             c)   The holder's date of birth;

             d)   The holder's driver's license or identification number;

             e)   The holder's signature;

             f)   The signature of the issuing instructor; and,

             g)   The date of issuance.  (Penal Code Section 31655.)

          1)Exempts the following persons from the handgun safety  
            certificate requirement:

             a)   Any active or honorably-retired peace officer, as  
               defined;

             b)   Any active or honorably-retired deferral officer or law  
               enforcement agent;

             c)   Any reserve peace officer, as defined;

             d)   Any person who has successfully completed the specified  
               peace officer training course;

             e)   A licensed firearms dealer, as specified;

             f)   A federally-licensed collector, as specified;

             g)   A person to whom a firearm is being returned, where the  
               person receiving the firearm is the owner of the firearm;

             h)   A family member of a peace officer killed in the line  
               who is obtaining the firearm of the slain officer;

             i)   Any individual who has a valid concealed weapons permit,  
               who is authorized to carry a loaded firearm, or who is the  
               holder of a special weapons permit, as specified;









                                                                  SB 683
                                                                  Page 4

             j)   An active or honorably-retired member of the United  
               States Armed Forces, the National Guard, the Air National  
               Guard, or the other active reserve components of the United  
               States.  (Penal Code Section 31700(a).)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Author's Statement  :  According to the author, "SB 683 is about  
            education and preventing unintended injuries. Currently anyone  
            age 18 or older can buy a long gun without having to show that  
            he or she understands how to safely use and properly store it  
            in the home. Long guns can be just as dangerous as hand guns.  
            And long gun laws are just as complicated as hand gun laws. So  
            it makes sense to establish similar requirements to buy a long  
            gun as those required to purchase a hand gun. 

            "The purpose of the current Handgun Safety Certificate is to  
            ensure that persons who buy a handgun have a basic familiarity  
            with the firearm and are aware of the laws that govern gun  
            ownership. This bill expands this program by establishing the  
            Firearm Safety Certificate which seeks to generate more  
            responsible, law-abiding gun owners by requiring every  
            purchaser to take a written objective test that covers  
            California laws applicable to the handling of both hand guns  
            and long guns, the responsibilities of firearm ownership, the  
            private transfer of firearms, and safe firearm storage."

           2)Safety Certificate Background  :  Beginning in 1993, possession  
            of a handgun safety certificate was required to transfer  
            firearms. The Department of Justice was required to create the  
            requisite process to obtain a handgun safety certificate.  
            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. 

            Senate Bill 52 (Scott), Chapter 942, Statutes of 2001,  
            repealed the basic firearms safety certificate scheme and  
            replaced it with the more stringent handgun safety certificate  
            scheme.  SB 52 provided that, effective January 1, 2003, no  
            person may purchase, transfer, receive, or sell a handgun  
            without a Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC).

            This bill would extend what currently is a requirement for  








                                                                  SB 683
                                                                  Page 5

            handgun buyers to learn basic safety and laws regarding  
            handguns to instead include this requirement to buyers of all  
            firearms. The subjects covered would be:

             a)   The laws applicable to carrying and handling firearms;

             b)   The responsibilities of ownership of firearms;

             c)   Current law as it relates to the sale and transfer of  
               firearms;

             d)   Current law as it relates to the permissible use of  
               lethal force;

             e)   What constitutes safe firearm storage;

             f)   Risks associated with bringing a firearm into the home;  
               and,

             g)   Prevention strategies to address issues associated with  
               bringing firearms into the home. 

           3)Hunting License v. Firearm Safety Certificate  :  California  
            requires any person hunting, pursuing, catching, capturing,  
            killing, or attempting any of these actions on, birds or  
            mammals to have a hunting license issued by this state.  (Fish  
            and Game Code (FGC) Sections 86 and 1054.2.)  In order to  
            obtain a California hunting license, the state "requires all  
            first time resident hunters, regardless of age, to complete  
            hunter education training or pass a comprehensive equivalency  
            test before purchasing a hunting license."  (California  
            Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Hunter Education  
            Program  [as of Aug. 7,  
            2013]; FGC Sections 1053.5 and 3050.)  Consequently, "[e]ach  
            year approximately 30,000 students complete the state's  
            ten-hour minimum hunter education course."  (California  
            Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Hunter Education  
            Program, supra.)  A hunting license generally is valid for one  
            year from July 1 to June 30.  (FGC Section 3037.)   
            Additionally, California allows the issuance of a lifetime  
            hunting license for state residents of any age.  (FGC Section  
            3031.2.)
             
             Topics covered by the hunting education course generally are  
            Introduction to Hunter Education, Hunting Safety, Hunter  








                                                                  SB 683
                                                                  Page 6

            Responsibility, Outdoor Safety, Wildlife Conservation, and  
            Hunting Opportunities.  (See, e.g., International Hunter  
            Education Association, Introduction to Hunter Education  
             [as of Aug. 7, 2013].)  The  
            amount of firearm safety information included in the hunting  
            education course is more extensive than that in the safety  
            certificate education component prompting the exemption in  
            this bill from the safety certificate requirement for those in  
            possession of a hunting license.  An argument, however, can be  
            made that while the hunting education requirement is more  
            intensive and extensive, it does not cover all aspects  
            included by the safety certificate education component (such  
            as the applicable laws regarding the sale and transfer of  
            firearms and persons ineligible to possess firearms) which  
            would be useful to all firearm owners.

          4)Loaning of Long Guns  :  Under existing law, there is an  
            exception for a minor possessing a handgun safety certificate  
            when a handgun is temporarily loaned for the purpose of the  
            minor engaging in lawful, recreational sport (such as  
            competitive shooting) or other specified activities.  (Penal  
            Code Section 31810.)  As argued in its opposition letter, the  
            California Waterfowl Association notes that this bill "is  
            impractical in cases where firearms need to be temporarily  
            loaned to others, particularly youth, for hunting or other  
            recreational shooting purposes while participants are in the  
            field or at a shooting range.  In such cases, it would not  
            likely be possible for someone to obtain a safety certificate  
            in a timely manner."  As this bill does not create a  
            loan-to-minors exception to the firearm safety certificate,  
            the author may wish to address the inconsistency that this  
            bill will create between long guns and handguns.

           5)Argument in Support  :  According to the  Law Center to Prevent  
            Gun Violence  , "SB 683 would require every firearm purchaser to  
            have a valid Firearm Safety Certificate before buying a  
            weapon, regardless of whether the firearm to be acquired is a  
            handgun or a long gun.  This expansion reflects the prominent  
            role that long guns (rifles and shotguns) play in our gun  
            violence epidemic.  For example, of the 26,682 crime guns  
            entered into the state's Automated Firearm System (AFS)  
            database in 2009, 11,500 were long guns.  Moreover, requiring  
            long gun owners to obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate will  
            help ensure that all gun owners know how to handle their  
            weapons safely and understand their responsibilities under  








                                                                  SB 683
                                                                  Page 7

            California law.

            "Expanding the certificate requirement to apply to all firearm  
            buyers is a reasonable method of making sure that gun owners  
            are informed about basic principles of gun safety and  
            California law while imposing only a minimal burden upon  
            them."

           6)Argument in Opposition  :  According to the  California  
            Association of Federal Firearms Licensees  , "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 County in D.C., et 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 [sic] 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."

           7)Prior Legislation  :

             a)   AB 35 (Shelley), Chapter 940, Statutes of 2001, required  
               any person who wants to purchase or otherwise transfer a  
               handgun, except as specified, to obtain a handgun safety  
               certificate.  Enactment of AB 35 was contingent upon the  
               enactment of SB 52, with the bill that was chaptered last  
               establishing the handgun safety certificate scheme.

             b)   SB 52 (Scott), Chapter 942, Statutes of 2001, required  
               any person who wants to purchase or otherwise transfer a  
               handgun, except as specified, to obtain a handgun safety  
               certificate.  Enactment of SB 52 was contingent upon the  
               enactment of AB 35, with the bill that was chaptered last  
               establishing the handgun safety certificate scheme.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 








                                                                 SB 683
                                                                  Page 8

           
          Courage Campaign (Sponsor)
          American Academy of Pediatrics, California
          American Association of University Women, Santa Barbara-Goleta  
          Valley Branch
          Anti-Defamation League
          Auburn Area Democratic Club
          Bend the Arc: Jewish Partnership for Justice
          Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, California Chapter
          Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Orange County Chapter
          California Church IMPACT
          California Medical Association
          City of Santa Monica
          Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice
          Coalition Against Gun Violence, A Santa Barbara County Coalition
          Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
          CREDO Action
          Diablo Valley Democratic Club
          Doctors for America
          Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California
          Laguna Woods Democratic Club
          Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
          League of Women Voters of California
          Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (former)
          Nevada County Democratic Women's Club
          PICO California
          Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center
          Tri-Cities Democratic Forum
          Women Against Gun Violence
          Women For: Orange County
          Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles
          Violence Prevention Coalition of Orange County
          Youth ALIVE!

          Eleven private individuals
           
            Opposition 
           
          California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees
          California Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc.
          California Waterfowl Association


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Shaun Naidu / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744 









                                                                  SB 683
                                                                  Page 9