BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó






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                                   THIRD READING 


          Bill No:  AB 1673
          Author:   Gipson (D), et al.
          Amended:  5/31/16 in Assembly
          Vote:     21 

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE:  5-2, 6/14/16
           AYES:  Hancock, Glazer, Leno, Liu, Monning
           NOES:  Anderson, Stone

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:  5-2, 6/20/16
           AYES:  Lara, Beall, Hill, McGuire, Mendoza
           NOES:  Bates, Nielsen

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  44-33, 6/1/16 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT:   Firearms:  unfinished frame or receiver


          SOURCE:    Author


          DIGEST:  This bill expands the definition of firearm 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.


          ANALYSIS:  


          Existing law:









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           1) Requires licensed firearms dealers, before they may deliver  
             a firearm to a purchaser, to perform a background check on  
             the purchaser through the federal National Instant Criminal  
             Background Check System ("NICS").  (18 U.S.C §§ 921, et seq.)

           2) Requires licensed importers and licensed manufacturers to  
             identify each firearm imported or manufactured by using the  
             serial number engraved or cast on the receiver or frame of  
             the weapon, in such manner as prescribed by the Attorney  
             General.  (18 U.S.C. § 923(i).) 

           3) Makes it illegal to manufacture, import, sell, ship,  
             deliver, possess, transfer, or receive any firearm that is  
             not as detectable by walk-through metal detection as a  
             security exemplar containing 3.7 oz of steel, or any firearm  
             with major components that do not generate an accurate image  
             before standard airport imaging technology.  (18 U.S.C. §  
             922(p).)  

           4) Requires all sales, loans, and transfers of firearms to be  
             processed through or by a state-licensed firearms dealer or a  
             local law enforcement agency.  (Penal Code § 27545.)

           5) Defines "firearm" as a device, designed to be used as a  
             weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel, a projectile  
             by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion.   
             (Penal Code § 16520.)

           6) Provides that there is a 10-day waiting period when  
             purchasing a firearm through a firearms dealer.  During which  
             time, a background check is conducted.  (Penal Code §§ 26815  
             and 27540.)

           7) Requires a person be at least 18 years of age to purchase a  
             rifle or shotgun.  To purchase a handgun, a person must be at  
             least 21 years of age.  As part of the Dealer Record of Sales  
             (DROS) process, the purchaser must present "clear evidence of  
             identity and age" which is defined as a valid, non-expired  
             California Driver's License or Identification Card issued by  
             the Department of Motor Vehicles.  (Penal Code §§ 27510 and  
             16400.) 

           8) Requires purchasers to present a handgun safety certificate  
             prior to the submission of DROS information for a handgun or  







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             provide the dealer with proof of exemption pursuant to  
             California Penal Code Section 31700.  Beginning on January 1,  
             2015, this requirement was extended to all firearms.  (Penal  
             Code § 26840.)

           9) Requires that firearms dealers obtain certain identifying  
             information from firearms purchasers and forward that  
             information, via electronic transfer to the Department of  
             Justice (DOJ) to perform a background check on the  
             purchaser to determine whether he or she is prohibited from  
             possessing a firearm.  (Penal Code §§ 28160-28220.)

           10)Requires firearms to be centrally registered at the time of  
             transfer or sale by way of transfer forms centrally compiled  
             by DOJ.  The DOJ is required to keep a registry from data  
             sent to DOJ indicating who owns what firearm by make, model,  
             and serial number and the date thereof.  (Penal Code §  
             11106(a) and (c).) 

           11)Requires that, upon receipt of the purchaser's information,  
             DOJ shall examine its records, as well as those records that  
             it is authorized to request from the State Department of  
             Mental Health pursuant to Section 8104 of the Welfare and  
             Institutions Code, in order to determine if the purchaser is  
             prohibited from purchasing a firearm because of a prior  
             felony conviction or because they had previously purchased a  
             handgun within the last 30 days, or because they had received  
             inpatient treatment for a mental health disorder, as  
             specified.  (Penal Code § 28220.) 

           12)Allows the DOJ to require the dealer to charge each firearm  
             purchaser a fee not to exceed $14, except that the fee may be  
             increased at a rate not to exceed any increase in the  
             California Consumer Price Index as compiled and reported by  
             the Department of Industrial Relations.  This fee, known as  
             the DROS fee, shall be no more than is necessary to fund  
             specific codified costs.  (Penal Code § 28225.)

           13)Allows the DOJ to charge a fee sufficient to reimburse it  
             for each a number of enumerated items, but not to exceed  
             fourteen dollars ($14), except that the fee may be increased  
             at a rate not to exceed any increase in the California  
             Consumer Price Index as compiled and reported by the  
             Department of Industrial Relations.  (Penal Code §28230.)







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           14)Requires the Attorney General to establish and maintain an  
             online database to be known as the Prohibited Armed Persons  
             File.  The purpose of the file is to cross-reference persons  
             who have ownership or possession of a firearm on or after  
             January 1, 1991, as indicated by a record in the Consolidated  
             Firearms Information System, and who, subsequent to the date  
             of that ownership or possession of a firearm, fall within a  
             class of persons who are prohibited from owning or possessing  
             a firearm.  (Penal Code § 30000.) 

          This bill expands the definition of "firearm" 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.
          
          Background 

          This bill makes "the frame or receiver of the weapon or 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" a firearm  
          in California.  Items that fall under this new definition of  
          firearms would be treated like other firearms in California.   
          Specifically, to purchase one, a person would have to go through  
          a dealer, have a background check and would be subject to a  
          10-day wait.   Additionally, a prohibited person would not be  
          allowed to possess them.  

          NOTE:  See Senate Public Safety Committee analysis for  
          additional comments.



          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes

          According to the Senate Appropriations analysis the fiscal  
          impact includes: 

           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  







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            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,  
            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 - Senate Appropriations  
           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.

          SUPPORT:    (Verified  6/21/16)
          American Academy of Pediatrics
          California Chapters of the Brady Campaign
          California Civil Liberties Advocacy
          City of Carson
          City of Santa Monica
          Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence


          OPPOSITION:   (Verified6/21/16)


          California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees







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          California Rifle and Pistol Association
          California Sportsmen's Lobby
          Crossroads of the West Gun Shows
          Firearms Policy Coalition
          Gun Owners of California
          National Rifle Association
          National Shooting Sports Foundation
          Outdoor Sportsmen's Coalition of California
          Safari Club International
          Several individuals


          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:     According to the California Chapters  
          of the Brady Campaign:

               A priority policy objective for the California Brady  
               Campaign is to ensure that every firearm owner has  
               passed a background check and that all firearm  
               transfers include a thorough background check, 10-day  
               waiting period, and a record of the transaction that  
               includes the serial number of the firearm.  There have  
               been numerous studies indicating that these  
               requirements are good strategies for reducing gun  
               violence and clearly, they further our core goal of  
               keeping weapons out of dangerous hands.  Although  
               existing California law requires background checks and  
               the retention of transfer records, people have found  
               that they can avoid these requirements and other  
               California gun laws by creating and marketing  
               partially complete or "80 percent" lower receivers or  
               frames.  According to media reports and law  
               enforcement, there is a growing number of firearms  
               assembled from partially complete receivers and fames  
               and these firearms are increasingly used in crime.  AB  
               1673 will address this problem.

               The lower receiver is that part of a long gun that  
               contains the trigger, firing pin, and ammunition  
               feeding mechanisms.  Lower receivers are treated the  
               same as a long gun and are currently legally  
               available, provided that the purchaser passes a  
               background check, the lower receiver has a serial  
               number, and a record of the purchase is created.   
               Similarly, a frame for a pistol is treated as a  







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               handgun and has a serial number.  However, partially  
               complete or "80 percent" lower receivers and frames  
               are not considered to be firearms, but with a few  
               simple modifications, they can become fully  
               functional.  A person with a drill press can easily  
               drill the necessary holes to complete the receiver or  
               frame and advances in 3D printing technology are  
               increasing the availability of unfinished lower  
               receivers and frames.  Firearms assembled from these  
               partially complete lower receivers and frames are  
               untraceable for law enforcement.  

               AB 1673 will deal with this problem by expanding the  
               definition of "firearm" 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.  The Brady Campaign supports this  
               change and believes that weapons assembled from  
               unfinished lower receivers and frames should be  
               subject to the full extent of the law.  Determining at  
               what point a piece of metal or other material should  
               be considered a firearm is difficult to establish, but  
               the expanded definition is a good approach.  

               The shooter in the 2013 Santa Monica shooting, in  
               which six people were killed, was prohibited from  
               purchasing firearms.  Instead, he machined himself an  
               AR-15-type semiautomatic rifle from an aluminum  
               partial lower receiver.  This is an example of why it  
               is essential that guns assembled from partial lower  
               receivers and frames be regulated.  AB 1673 will help  
               keep weapons out of the hands of those considered at  
               risk of violence, such as criminals, children, and  
               persons with severe mental illness.


          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:     According to the Firearms Policy  
          Coalition:

               We specialize in firearms policy and have no idea what  
               the new definition means 








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               Put simply, AB 1673 would change the definition of a  
               firearm to include things that are not firearms. 

               In the interest of clarity, and because the best  
               comedy requires no punch line, we offer here the  
               entire substance of AB 1673 (amending § 16520(b) of  
               the Penal Code): 
          
               "weapon, or 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."

               Clearly identifiable to whom? 
               
               This baffling new definition will result in untold  
               thousands of arrests and incarcerations as "firearm"  
               becomes defined by a strange mish-mash of words,  
               disconnected from any known understanding or reality of  
               what has been understood as working definitions of  
               "firearm" for centuries. Maybe roadside analysis between  
               peace officers and motorists would be able to hash out the  
               "I'll know it when I see it" approach to writing criminal  
               law. 

               Have a piece of metal or plastic-GO TO JAIL 
               It is difficult to imagine the enforcement of hundreds of  
               firearms laws and criminal enhancements that will be  
               impacted by AB1673. A sample of the hundreds of new crimes  
               this bill creates includes; 
                Possession of a "blank" in a "gun free zone" 
                Unloaded open carry of a "casting"
                Unlawful concealed carry of a "machined body" 
                Unlawful transfer of a "?receiver blank, casting, or  
               machined body, that is designed and clearly identifiable as  
               a component of a functional weapon?" 
                Brandishing a "receiver blank" 
                Failure to wait 10 days to "cool off" after acquiring a  
          "machined body" 

               Persons could end up in the Un-Armed Prohibited Person  
          System? 







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               Should the non-firearm firearm owner ever be found or  
               thought to be prohibited from firearm possession, the  
               person would be placed into the DOJ's failed Armed  
               Prohibited Persons System so DOJ agents or local law  
               enforcement could confiscate the non-firearm firearm. 

               Implementation Nightmare 

               The DOJ will have to update every regulation, every form,  
               every database and every storefront interface to accept the  
               new definition of firearms-- which is challenging given  
               that the new definition targets things that are clearly not  
               firearms at all. 

               In order to comply with AB 1673, non-firearm firearms would  
               need to be taken to and transferred through a licensed  
               (real) firearms dealer. These "clearly identifiable" pieces  
               of plastic, wood, aluminum, iron, or steel would then need  
               to be entered into the DOJ Dealer's Record of Sale Entry  
               System (DROS DES) in order to provide the DOJ with the  
               information required to register the non-firearm with the  
               state. 

               The law is sacred and it affects real people in real  
               communities. The Legislature is entrusted with passing laws  
               that the governed can comply with and the executive can  
               enforce. With that in mind, AB 1673 is simply not ready for  
               serious consideration. 

          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  44-33, 6/1/16
          AYES:  Alejo, Atkins, Baker, Bloom, Bonta, Brown, Burke,  
            Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Cooper, Dababneh, Daly,  
            Dodd, Eggman, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson,  
            Gomez, Gonzalez, Gordon, Roger Hernández, Holden,  
            Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Lopez, Low, McCarty, Mullin, Nazarian,  
            O'Donnell, Quirk, Ridley-Thomas, Santiago, Mark Stone,  
            Thurmond, Ting, Weber, Williams, Wood, Rendon
          NOES:  Achadjian, Travis Allen, Arambula, Bigelow, Brough,  
            Chang, Chávez, Cooley, Dahle, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gallagher,  
            Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Jones, Kim, Lackey, Linder,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, Medina, Melendez, Obernolte,  
            Olsen, Patterson, Salas, Steinorth, Wagner, Waldron, Wilk
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Bonilla, Irwin, Rodriguez







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          Prepared by:Jessica  Devencenzi / PUB. S. / 
          6/22/16 18:01:49


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