BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1135


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          (Without Reference to File)

          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB  
          1135 (Levine and Ting)


          As Amended  May 11, 2016


          Majority vote


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          |ASSEMBLY:  |      | (May 22,      |SENATE: |      |(May 19, 2016)   |
          |           |      |2015)          |        |24-14 |                 |
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                 (vote not relevant)




          Original Committee Reference:  AGRI.


          SUMMARY:  Redefines what constitutes an assault weapon in order  
          to close the bullet button loophole.  Also requires registration  
          of weapons (which were previously not prohibited) which now fall  
          under the new definition.  


          The Senate amendments delete the Assembly version of this bill,  
          and instead:  


          1)Amend the definition of assault weapon to refer to a firearm  
            that has one of several specified features and does not have a  
            "fixed magazine" rather than a firearm with one of those  
            features and the "capacity to accept a detachable magazine." 
          2)Define "fixed magazine" as "an ammunition feeding device  








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            contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a  
            manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly  
            of the firearm action."


          3)Provide that, notwithstanding the new definition of assault  
            weapon contained in this bill, any person who possessed an  
            assault weapon prior to January 1, 2017, is exempt from  
            punishment pursuant to Penal Code Section (PC) 30605, if all  
            of the following are applicable:


             a)   Prior to January 1, 2017, the person was eligible to  
               register that assault weapon pursuant to PC 30900(c);
             b)   The person lawfully possessed that assault weapon on  
               January 1, 2017; and


             c)   The person registers the assault weapon by January 1,  
               2018, a specified.


          4)Provide that any person who, from January 1, 2001, to December  
            31, 2016, inclusive, lawfully possessed an assault weapon that  
            does not have a fixed magazine, as defined in PC 30515,  
            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 before January 1, 2018, with  
            the department pursuant to those procedures that the  
            department may establish.
             a)   Registrations shall be submitted electronically via the  
               Internet utilizing a public-facing application made  
               available by the department.
             b)   The registration shall contain a description of the  
               firearm that identifies it uniquely, including all  
               identification marks, the date the firearm was acquired,  
               the name and address of the individual from whom, or  
               business from which, the firearm was acquired, as well as  
               the registrant's full name, address, telephone number, date  
               of birth, sex, height, weight, eye color, hair color, and  
               California driver's license number or California  
               identification card number.








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             c)   The department may charge a fee of up to $15 per person  
               but not to exceed the reasonable processing costs of the  
               department.  The fee shall be paid by debit or credit card  
               at the time that the electronic registration is submitted  
               to the department.  The fee shall be deposited in the  
               Dealers' Record of Sale Special Account.


             d)   The department shall establish procedures for the  
               purpose of carrying out this subdivision.  These procedures  
               shall be exempt from the Administrative Procedure Act.


          AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY, this bill clarified that all cost,  
          and not just reasonable costs, to the Department of Food and  
          Agriculture (DFA) under the Citrus Pests and Disease Management  
          Program are reimbursable under that program; and made technical  
          amendments to the Certified Farmers' Market statute to 1)  
          include mushrooms and herbs in the list of produce that may not  
          be sold immediately adjacent, but outside the Certified Farmers'  
          Market, and 2) correct the certification requirements for  
          farmers, requiring information on products be submitted to the  
          county agricultural committee in the county where the production  
          land or facility is located.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee:


          1)Registration process:  Estimated costs of $1.7 million in  
            Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-17, $1.5 million in FY 2017-18, and  
            $37,000 (Dealers' Record of Sale (DROS Fund*)/General Fund)  
            annually thereafter, to be fully offset by fees collected from  
            registrants once fully implemented.  Staff notes the DROS Fund  
            is structurally imbalanced, and current revenues are  
            insufficient to cover the costs of this bill.  As a result, a  
            General Fund appropriation may be required to enable  
            completion of the activities within the timelines prescribed.
          2)State prisons:  Potentially significant increase in annual  








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            state incarceration costs (General Fund) to the extent the  
            narrower definition of "assault weapon" results in additional  
            firearms violations.  For every 10 new commitments to state  
            prison (five each for manufacturing and possession),  
            additional annual costs of $290,000, compounding to $1.2  
            million for overlapping sentences assuming the middle term of  
            the triads for violations of both manufacturing and  
            possession.


          3)Firearms sales:  Potential near-term loss of sales tax revenue  
            of $1.6 million (General Fund) per 10% of annual rifle sales  
            in California.  Future year impact could be somewhat mitigated  
            to the extent consumers shift to purchases of alternative  
            firearms.


          4)Local agencies:  Potential future increase in local  
            enforcement and incarceration costs for unlawful possession or  
            sale/manufacture of assault weapons.


          5)Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) enforcement:  Unknown,  
            potential increase in Department of Justice (DOJ) enforcement  
            costs (Special Fund*) to the extent additional persons are  
            placed on the armed prohibited persons list resulting from the  
            provisions of this measure.


          *Dealers' Record of Sale (DROS) Special Account - Staff notes  
          the DROS Account is structurally imbalanced, with an estimated  
          reserve balance of less than $1 million by year-end FY 2016-17.   
          As a result, an appropriation from another fund source,  
          potentially the General Fund, may be required to support the  
          activities required by this bill.


          COMMENTS:  


          1)Author's Statement:  According to the Author, "Military  
            assault weapons have no place on our streets and gun violence  








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            must not be tolerated.  This bill closes a loophole in law  
            that allows military-style assault rifles to be sold legally  
            in California.  We raise our children in communities, not war  
            zones.  The gun manufacturers' development of the bullet  
            button clearly exploits California law and allows dangerous  
            weapons on our streets."
          2)Bullet Button:  California law bans semiautomatic rifles with  
            the capacity to accept a detachable ammunition magazine and  
            which also have any one of six enumerated weapon  
            characteristics (e.g., folding stock, flash suppressor, pistol  
            grip, or other military-style features).  The term 'detachable  
            magazine' is not defined in statute.  In response, firearm  
            manufacturers have developed a new feature to make  
            military-style weapons compliant in California, the bullet  
            button.  


            The bullet button is a "device allows gun owners to pop out  
            their magazines quickly by inserting the tip of a bullet or  
            some other small tool into a button on the side of their  
            weapons.  Since the magazine requires a tool to release it --  
            and cannot be released by hand -- it is not considered  
            'detachable' under California law."   
            (<  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/20/us/lessons-in-politics-and- 
            fine-print-in-assault-weapons-ban-of-90s.html?pagewanted=all&_r 
            =1&  >.)   


            This bill amends the statute defining assault weapons by  
            defining a detachable magazine as "an ammunition feeding  
            device that can be removed readily from the firearm without  
            disassembly of the firearm action, including an ammunition  
            feeding device that can be removed readily with the use of a  
            tool."  The purpose of this change is to clarify that  
            equipping a weapon with a bullet button magazine release does  
            not take that weapon outside of the definition of an assault  
            weapon.


          3)Governor's Veto Message:  In 2013, the Legislature passed SB  
            374 (Steinberg) which attempted to close the bullet button  
            loophole by redefining an assault weapon.  SB 374 required a  








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            fixed magazine, but eliminated the six prohibited features  
            from the definition in current law.  However, SB 374 was  
            vetoed by the Governor.  In his veto message, the Governor  
            said, "The State of California already has some of the  
            strictest gun laws in the country, including bans on  
            military-style assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition  
            magazines.
            "While the author's intent is to strengthen these  
            restrictions, this bill goes much farther by banning any  
            semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine.  This ban  
            covers low-capacity rifles that are commonly used for hunting,  
            firearms training, and marksmanship practice, as well as some  
            historical and collectible firearms.  Moreover, hundreds of  
            thousands of current gun owners would have to register their  
            rifles as assault weapons and would be banned from selling or  
            transferring them in the future."


          4)Second Amendment:  The Second Amendment to the federal  
            Constitution provides, "A well regulated militia being  
            necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the  
            people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."  In  
            District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) 554 United States (U.S.)  
            570, the United States Supreme Court held that the Second  
            Amendment protects an individual's right to possess and carry  
            weapons in case of confrontation.  The Court struck down a law  
            banning possession of handguns in the home.  Subsequently, in  
            McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) 561 U.S. 742, the Court  
            held that Second Amendment rights are applicable to the  
            states.  The majority found the individual right to bear arms,  
            particularly for self-defense was fundamental.  
            However, the Second Amendment does not afford an unlimited  
            right to own a weapon.  As the Court explained in Heller, the  
            right "to keep and carry arms" is limited to weapons "in  
            common use."  (Heller, supra, 554 U.S. at p. 627.)  At least  
            one court has held that Heller does not invalidate the statute  
            prohibiting the possession of assault rifles.  (See People v.  
            James (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 662, 676.)  Moreover, in Heller,  
            the United States Supreme Court did not strike down neutral  
            licensing and registration as a condition of possession and  
            the Court also enumerated examples of presumptively valid  
            government regulation of firearms.








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          5)Registration Provisions:  This bill would not prohibit the  
            possession of any firearm that is currently legally owned.   
            This bill would require that the owner of a firearm that is  
            currently not considered an assault weapon, but which would be  
            deemed such under the new definition, to register the firearm  
            with the DOJ before July 1, 2018.  In this manner, this bill  
            would avoid taking issues because the owner of a weapon which  
            had been legally acquired does not have to relinquish it.
          This bill was substantially amended in the Senate and the  
          Assembly-approved version of this bill was deleted.  This bill,  
          as amended in the Senate, is inconsistent with the Assembly  
          actions and the provisions of this bill, as amended in the  
          Senate, have not been heard in an Assembly policy committee. 


          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Gabriel Caswell/ PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744  FN:  
          0003037