BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 950


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          Date of Hearing:  April 14, 2015
          Counsel:               Gabriel Caswell

                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                                  Bill Quirk, Chair





          AB  
                   950 (Melendez) - As Introduced  February 26, 2015




          SUMMARY:  Allows a person, who is subject to a gun violence  
          restraining order (GVRO), to transfer his or her firearms or  
          ammunition to a licensed firearms dealer for the duration of the  
          prohibition.  If the firearms or ammunition have been  
          surrendered to a law enforcement agency, the bill would entitle  
          the owner to have them transferred to a licensed firearms  
          dealer.  The bill would additionally provide for the transfer of  
          ammunition to a licensed firearms dealer by any person who is  
          prohibited from owning or possessing ammunition. 

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Permits persons who are subject to domestic violence  
            restraining orders to surrender their weapons to licensed  
            firearms dealers for storage during the period they are not  
            permitted to possess firearms.  (Pen. Code,  29380.)

          2)States that the provisions of law establishing gun violence  
            restraining orders shall take effect on January 1, 2016. (Pen.  
            Code,  18122.)

          3)Requires, upon issuance of a gun violence restraining order,  
            the court to order the restrained person to surrender to the  
            local law enforcement agency all firearms and ammunition in  








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            the restrained person's custody or control, or which the  
            restrained person possesses or owns.  (Pen. Code,  18120,  
            subd. (b)(1).)

          4)Allows an immediate family member of a person or a law  
            enforcement officer to file a petition requesting that the  
            court issue an ex parte gun violence restraining order, that  
            expires no later than 21 days from the date of the order,  
            enjoining the subject of the petition from having in his or  
            her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or  
            receiving a firearm or ammunition.  (Pen. Code,  18150 and  
            18155, subd. (c).)

          5)States that the court, before issuing an ex parte gun violence  
            restraining order, shall examine on oath, the petitioner and  
            any witness the petitioner may produce, or in lieu of  
            examining the petitioner and any witness the petitioner may  
            produce, the court may require the petitioner and any witness  
            to submit a written affidavit signed under oath.  (Pen. Code,  
             18155, subd. (a).)

          6)Requires a showing that the subject of the petition poses a  
            significant danger, in the near future, of personal injury to  
            himself or herself, or another by having in his or her custody  
            or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a  
            firearm as determined by considering specified factors and  
            that less restrictive alternative have been ineffective, or  
            are inappropriate for the situation, before an ex parte gun  
            violence restraining order may be issued. (Pen. Code,  18150,  
            subd. (b).)

          7)Specifies in determining whether grounds for a gun violence  
            restraining order exist, the court shall consider all evidence  
            of the following:

             a)   A recent threat of violence or act of violence by the  
               subject of the petition directed toward another;

             b)   A recent threat of violence or act of violence by the  
               subject of the petition directed toward himself or herself;

             c)   A violation of an emergency protective order that is in  








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               effect at the time the court is considering the petition;

             d)   A recent violation of an unexpired protective order;

             e)   A conviction for any specified offense resulting in  
               firearm possession restrictions; or,

             f)   A pattern of violent acts or violent threats within the  
               past 12 months, including, but not limited to, threats of  
               violence or acts of violence by the subject of the petition  
               directed toward himself, herself, or another.  (Pen. Code,  
                18155, subd. (b)(1).)

          8)States that an ex parte gun violence restraining order shall  
            be personally served on the restrained person by a law  
            enforcement officer, or any person who is at least 18 years of  
            age and not a party to the action, if the restrained person  
            can reasonably be located.  When serving a gun violence  
            restraining order, a law enforcement officer shall inform the  
            restrained person of the hearing that will be scheduled to  
            determine whether to issue a gun violence restraining order.   
            (Pen. Code,  18160, subd. (b).)

          9)Requires, within 21 days from the date an ex parte gun  
            violence restraining order was issued, before the court that  
            issued the order or another court in the same jurisdiction,  
            the court to hold a hearing to determine if a gun violence  
            restraining order should be issued.  (Pen. Code,  18160,  
            subd. (c).)

          10)Allows an immediate family member of a person or a law  
            enforcement officer to request a court, after notice and a  
            hearing, to issue a gun violence restraining order enjoining  
            the subject of the petition from having in his or her custody  
            or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a  
            firearm or ammunition for a period of one year.  (Pen. Code,   
            18170.)

          11)States at the hearing, the petitioner shall have the burden  
            of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that both of the  
            following are true:









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             a)   The subject of the petition, or a person subject to an  
               ex parte gun violence restraining order, as applicable,  
               poses a significant danger of personal injury to himself or  
               herself, or another by having in his or her custody or  
               control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a  
               firearm or ammunition; and,

             b)   A gun violence restraining order is necessary to prevent  
               personal injury to the subject of the petition, or the  
               person subject to an ex parte gun violence restraining  
               order, as applicable, or another because less restrictive  
               alternatives either have been tried and found to be  
               ineffective, or are inadequate or inappropriate for the  
               circumstances.  (Pen. Code,  18175, subd. (b).)

          12)Provides if the court finds that there is clear and  
            convincing evidence to issue a gun violence restraining order,  
            the court shall issue a gun violence restraining order that  
            prohibits the subject of the petition from having in his or  
            her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or  
            receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive, a firearm or  
            ammunition. If the court finds that there is not clear and  
            convincing evidence to support the issuance of a gun violence  
            restraining order, the court shall dissolve any temporary  
            emergency or ex parte gun violence restraining order then in  
            effect.  (Pen. Code,  18175, subd. (c).)

          13)Requires the court to inform the restrained person that he or  
            she is entitled to one hearing to request a termination of the  
            gun violence restraining order and provide the restrained  
            person with a form to request a hearing.  (Pen. Code,  18180,  
            subd. (b).)

          14)States that it is a misdemeanor offense for every person who  
            files a petition for an ex parte gun violence restraining  
            order or a gun violence restraining order issued after notice  
            and a hearing knowing the information in the petition to be  
            false or with the intent to harass.  (Pen. Code,  18200.)

          15)Provides that it is a misdemeanor offense for every person  
            who owns or possesses a firearm or ammunition with knowledge  
            that he or she is prohibited from doing so by a gun violence  








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            restraining order and he or she shall be prohibited from  
            having in his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing,  
            possessing, or receiving, or attempting to purchase or  
            receive, a firearm or ammunition for a five-year period, to  
            commence upon the expiration of the existing gun violence  
            restraining order.  (Pen. Code,  18205.)


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "This measure  
            will ensure the safety of the public without unnecessarily  
            infringing upon the rights of individuals. It will reinstate  
            passed statutes set by AB 539 in 2013 which created a process  
            to provide an individual who is prohibited from owning or  
            possessing firearms, due to a gun violence restraining order  
            (GVRO), the ability to transfer their firearms to a federal  
            firearm licensed (FFL) dealer for the duration of the  
            restraining order. Gun violence restraining orders are  
            extremely serious and reflect the gravity of the situation. As  
            long as the firearm and ammunition is not in the possession of  
            the individual and is not accessible, the intent of the GVRO  
            is being carried out."

          2)Provides an Option of Storage of Firearms with Licensed  
            Dealers:  AB 1014 (Skinner), Chapter 872, Statutes of 2014,  
            enacted a novel gun violence restraining order law in  
            California to address concerns related to mental health and  
            firearms possession after the Isla Vista shooting in Santa  
            Barbara.  Under the provisions of AB 1014, persons subject to  
            gun violence restraining orders are required to either sell  
            their weapons or surrender those firearms to law enforcement.   
            This bill seeks to provide an option that is available for  
            persons who are subject to domestic violence restraining  
            orders.  That option was put into place by AB 539 (Pan),  
            Chapter 739, Statutes of 2013, which created a process whereby  
            persons subject to a domestic violence restraining order could  
            transfer their firearms to a federally licensed firearms  
            dealer for the duration of the restraining order.  This bill  
            would provide that same remedy for persons subject to a gun  








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            violence restraining order.  By enacting this bill, the  
            original intent of AB 1014 is preserved, while the property  
            interests of persons subject to restraint through a GVRO are  
            also maintained.    

          3)Argument in Support:  According to The California Chapters of  
            the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, "In 2014, the  
            Brady Campaign was instrumental in the passage of AB 1014  
            (Skinner), which we believe, when implemented in 2016, will  
            save numerous lives.  The California Brady Campaign Chapters  
            support AB 950 by Assembly Member Melissa Melendez, as the  
            bill will facilitate the implementation of this important new  
            law.

            "AB 1014 allows an immediate family member or a law  
            enforcement officer to request a court to issue a Gun Violence  
            Restraining Order (GVRO) to enjoin a person from owning or  
            possessing a firearm or ammunition for a period of one year  
            upon a showing that the person poses a significant danger of  
            personal injury to himself, herself, or another.  Existing law  
            requires a person who is subject to such a restraining order  
            to surrender his or her firearms and ammunition immediately  
            upon request of any law enforcement officer. If no request is  
            made, existing law requires the person to surrender his or her  
            firearms or ammunition to a local law enforcement agency or to  
            sell his or her firearms or ammunition to a licensed firearms  
            dealer within 24 hours.

            "This bill would allow a person who is subject to a GVRO to  
            transfer his or her firearms and/or ammunition to a licensed  
            firearms dealer for the duration of the prohibition. If the  
            firearms or ammunition have been surrendered to a law  
            enforcement agency, the bill would entitle the owner to have  
            them transferred to a licensed firearms dealer. The bill would  
            additionally provide for the transfer of ammunition to a  
            licensed firearms dealer by any person who is prohibited from  
            owning or possessing ammunition.
            "AB 950 is essentially similar to AB 539 (2013) by Dr. Richard  
            Pan and, in fact, Senator Pan is principle coauthor of this  
            bill.  Like AB 539, this bill presents a reasonable  
            alternative for temporarily removing firearms, particularly in  
            volatile situations.  We believe that it would enhance public  








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            safety as people may be more likely to surrender their  
            firearms and ammunition if they believe that there is a  
            reasonable chance that they can get them back upon the  
            termination of the prohibition. "

          4)Related Legislation:  AB 225 (Melendez), makes it felony  
            perjury punishable by two, three, or four years to make a  
            false statement on a petition for the issuance of a gun  
            violence restraining order.  AB 225 failed passage in the  
            Assembly Committee on Public Safety and has been granted  
            reconsideration.

          5)Prior Legislation:  AB 539 (Pan), Chapter 739, Statutes of  
            2013, created a process whereby persons subject to a domestic  
            violence restraining order could transfer their firearms to a  
            federally licensed firearms dealer for the duration of the  
            restraining order.  






          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:

          Support
          
          California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun  
          Violence 
          California Rifle and Pistol Association 
          Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence 

          Opposition
          
          None

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












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