BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 1673 (Gipson) - Firearms:  unfinished frame or receiver
          
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          |Version: May 31, 2016           |Policy Vote: PUB. S. 5 - 2      |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
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          |Hearing Date: June 20, 2016     |Consultant: Jolie Onodera       |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. 

          Bill  
          Summary:  AB 1673 would expand the definition of "firearm" under  
          specified provisions of law to include a frame or receiver  
          blank, casting, or machined body, that is designed and clearly  
          identifiable as a component of a functional weapon, from which  
          is expelled through a barrel, a projectile by the force of an  
          explosion or other form of combustion.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
            Department of Justice (DOJ)  :  Estimated one-time costs of  
            $250,000 in FY 2016-17, $270,000 in FY 2017-18, and $42,000 in  
            FY 2018-19 (Special Fund*/General Fund) to complete the  
            necessary enhancements to various automation systems. Costs  
            include staff overtime and external consultants for software  
            development, testing, and implementation to enable the  
            registration of additional firearms, as redefined. 
            Firearms violations  :  Potential state and local incarceration  
            costs (General Fund/Local Funds) to the extent the expanded  
            definition of firearm results in the enforcement of felony and  
            misdemeanor violations related to the registration, purchase,  







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            possession, and/or transfer of firearms, as redefined.  
            APPS enforcement/administration  :  Potential increase in costs  
            to the DOJ for administration and enforcement of the Armed  
            Prohibited Persons List (Special Fund*) resulting from the  
            revised definition of a firearm.
            Potential litigation  :  Unknown, potentially significant future  
            costs for litigation (General Fund) to the extent the revised  
            definition of "firearm" is challenged as unconstitutionally  
            vague. 

          *Dealers' Record of Sale (DROS) 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. Current  
          revenues to the DROS Account may be insufficient to cover the  
          costs of this bill in conjunction with the numerous other  
          legislative measures requiring funding from the DROS Account,  
          should they be enacted. As a result, an appropriation from an  
          alternate fund source, potentially the General Fund, may be  
          required to support the costs of this measure.


          Background:  Existing law generally regulates the transfer and possession  
          of firearms. Existing law defines the term "firearm" for various  
          regulatory purposes, including, among others and subject to  
          exceptions, the requirement that firearms be transferred by or  
          through a licensed firearms dealer, the requirement of a 10-day  
          waiting period prior to delivery of a firearm by a dealer, the  
          requirement that firearm purchasers be subject to a background  
          check, and the prohibition on certain classes of persons, such  
          as felons, from possessing firearms. Existing law provides, for  
          specified provisions, that a violation of such specified  
          provisions involving a firearm, is a crime. 


          Proposed Law:  
           This bill would expand the definition of "firearm" as used in  
          the following provisions of law to include a frame or receiver  
          blank, casting, or machined body, that is designed and clearly  
          identifiable as a component of a functional weapon, from which  
          is expelled through a barrel, a projectile by the force of an  
          explosion or other form of combustion:
          (1) Penal Code § 16550.
          (2) Penal Code § 16730.
          (3) Penal Code § 16960.








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          (4) Penal Code § 16990.
          (5) Penal Code § 17070.
          (6) Penal Code § 17310.
          (7) Penal Code §§ 26500 to 26588, inclusive.
          (8) Penal Code §§ 26600 to 27140, inclusive.
          (9) Penal Code §§ 27400 to 28000, inclusive.
          (10) Penal Code § 28100.
          (11) Penal Code §§ 28400 to 28415, inclusive.
          (12) Penal Code §§ 29010 to 29150, inclusive.
          (13) Penal Code §§ 29610 to 29750, inclusive.
          (14) Penal Code §§ 29800 to 29905, inclusive.
          (15) Penal Code §§ 30150 to 30165, inclusive.
          (16) Penal Code § 31615.
          (17) Penal Code §§ 31705 to 31830, inclusive.
          (18) Penal Code §§ 34355 to 34370, inclusive.
          (19) Welfare and Institutions Code §§ 8100, 8101, and 8103.


          Related  
          Legislation:  SB 1407 (de León) 2016 would require a person to  
          apply to and obtain from the DOJ a unique serial number or other  
          mark of identification prior to manufacturing or assembling a  
          firearm, subject to specified exceptions. This bill would  
          require any person who, as of July 1, 2018, owns a firearm that  
          does not bear a serial number, as specified, to apply to the DOJ  
          for a unique serial number or other mark of identification by  
          January 1, 2019. SB 1407 is pending hearing in the Assembly  
          Committee on Appropriations.
          AB 857 (Cooper) 2016 is identical to SB 1407 (de León).  AB 857  
          is pending on the Assembly Floor.

          Prior Legislation:  SB 808 (de León) was substantially similar  
          to SB 1407 (de León) and AB 857 (Cooper) noted above. SB 808 was  
          vetoed by the Governor with the following message:


          I am returning Senate Bill 808 without my signature. SB 808  
          would require individuals who build guns at home to first obtain  
          a serial number and register the weapon with the Department of  
          Justice. I appreciate the author's concerns about gun violence,  
          but I can't see how adding a serial number to a homemade gun  
          would significantly advance public safety.










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          Staff  
          Comments:  By revising the definition of "firearm," this bill  
          would require the DOJ to make enhancements to various automation  
          systems to enable the registration of firearms, as redefined.  
          Estimated one-time costs of $250,000 in FY 2016-17, $270,000 in  
          FY 2017-18, and $42,000 in FY 2018-19 (DROS Account*/General  
          Fund) are estimated to complete the necessary enhancements to  
          various automation systems. These costs include staff overtime  
          and external consultants for software development, testing, and  
          implementation.

          Staff notes the act of legislating invites litigation.  
          Generally, this Committee treats the potential for litigation as  
          an indirect cost of any bill and does not consider it as part of  
          the fiscal analysis.  However, as noted in the Senate Public  
          Safety Committee analysis (pp. 7-8, June 14, 2016) of this  
          measure:



            "While this legislation is less vague than the previous  
            version that defined a firearm as a 'weapon, or the  
            unfinished frame or receiver of a weapon that can be  
            readily converted to the functional condition of a  
            finished frame or receiver,' this legislation is still  
            arguably vague." 



            It is established that in order for a criminal statute  
            to satisfy the dictates of due process, two  
            requirements must be met. First, the provision must be  
            definite enough to provide a standard of conduct for  
            those whose activities are proscribed. Because we  
            assume that individuals are free to choose between  
            lawful and unlawful conduct, "we insist that laws give  
            the person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable  
            opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he [or  
            she] may act accordingly. Vague laws trap the innocent  
            by not providing fair warning. Second, the statute must  
            provide definite guidelines for the police in order to  
            prevent arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement."  








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            (People v. Heitzman, 9 Cal.4th 189, 199-200 (Cal. 1994)  
            [citations omitted].)



          Consequently, to the extent this measure contains language that  
          could be challenged as unconstitutionally vague, this bill could  
          result in potentially significant costs associated with  
          litigation, both to the courts and the Attorney General.




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