BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1695


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          Date of Hearing:  March 15, 2016
          Counsel:               Gabriel Caswell


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                       Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., Chair





          AB  
                     1695 (Bonta) - As Introduced  January 21, 2016




          SUMMARY:  Requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to send a  
          letter to each firearm purchaser during the 10-day waiting  
          period informing the purchaser of laws relating to firearms and  
          creates a misdemeanor to falsely report to law enforcement that  
          a firearm has been lost or stolen, and institutes a 10-year ban  
          on owning a firearm for those convicted of making a false  
          report.  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Requires the Attorney General to send a letter notice to each  
            individual who has applied to purchase a firearm informing him  
            or her of laws relating to firearms, gun trafficking, and safe  
            storage, as provided.  Allows the Department of Justice (DOJ)  
            to use funds in the Firearms Safety and Enforcement Special  
            Fund, which is continuously appropriated, to pay for the cost  
            of administering this provision, thereby making an  
            appropriation.

          2)Creates a misdemeanor to make a false report to law  
            enforcement that a firearm has been lost or stolen, knowing  
            that report to be false. 

             a)   Creates a 10-year ban on owning a firearm following a  
               conviction of this provision.  








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             b)   Possession of a firearm in violation of the 10-year ban  
               is punishable as a misdemeanor.

          3)Defines "firearm" for these purposes of a lost or stolen  
            firearm to include the frame or receiver of the weapon, and to  
            include a rocket, rocket propelled projectile launcher, or  
            similar device containing an explosive or incendiary material.

          4)Specifies that DOJ is authorized to use funds in the Firearms  
            Safety and Enforcement Special Fund to pay for the cost of  
            administering this section.

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Requires that handgun purchasers must take an exam on handgun  
            safety from an instructor and obtain a minimum 75% passing  
            score to receive a certificate. (Pen. Code  31615.)  

          2)Provides that the sale, loan or transfer of firearms in almost  
            all cases must be processed by, or through, a state-licensed  
            dealer or a local law enforcement agency with appropriate  
            transfer forms being used, as specified.  In those cases where  
            dealer or law enforcement processing is not required, as of  
            today a handgun change of title report must still be sent to  
            DOJ and will require that as to all firearms as of January 1,  
            2014.  (Pen. Code  27545.)


          3)Requires photo identification for the purchase of a firearm.   
            Additionally requires that persons purchasing a handgun be 21  
            years of age and those purchasing a long gun be 18 years of  
            age.  (Pen. Code  27510.)

          4)Requires the completion of the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms  
            (ATF) Form 4473 and California Dealer's Record of Sale (DROS)  
            form and pass a background check.  (Pen. Code  29820.)  

          5)Provides on or after January 1, 1998, that persons  
            establishing residency within California who bring with them  
            and store firearms within California after that date to report  
            the same to DOJ.  This reporting requirement will apply to all  








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            firearms as of January 1, 2014.  (Pen. Code  27560.)

          6)Requires the DOJ, upon submission of firearm purchaser  
            information, to examine its records to determine if the  
            purchaser is prohibited from possessing, receiving, owning, or  
            purchasing a firearm. Existing law prohibits the delivery of a  
            firearm within 10 days of the application to purchase, or,  
            after notice by the department, within 10 days of the  
            submission to the department of any corrections to the  
            application to purchase, or within 10 days of the submission  
            to the department of a specified fee. (Pen. Code  28200 to  
            28250.)

          7)Requires that if a dealer cannot legally deliver a firearm,  
            the dealer shall return the firearm to the transferor, seller,  
            or person loaning the firearm. (Pen  Code  28050, subd.  
            (d).)

          8)Requires that in connection with any private party sale, loan  
            or transfer of a firearm, a licensed dealer must provide the  
            DOJ with specified personal information about the seller and  
            purchaser as well as the name and address of the dealer.  This  
            personal information of buyer and seller required to be  
            provided includes the name; address; phone number; date of  
            birth; place of birth; occupation; eye color; hair color;  
            height; weight; race; sex; citizenship status; and a driver's  
            license number, California identification card number or  
            military identification number.  A copy of the Dealers Record  
            of Sale (DROS), containing the buyer and seller's personal  
            information, must be provided to the buyer or seller upon  
            request.  (Pen. Code  28160, 28210, and 28215.)

          9)Provides that various categories of persons are prohibited  
            from owning or possessing a firearm, including persons  
            convicted of certain violent offenses, and persons who have  
            been adjudicated as having a mental disorder, among others.  
            (Pen. Code  29800 to 29825, inclusive, 29900, 29905, 30305  
            and Welf. & Inst. Code  8100 and 8103.)

          10)Prohibits persons who know or have reasonable cause to  
            believe that the recipient is prohibited from having firearms  
            and ammunition to supply or provide the same with firearms or  








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            ammunition. (Pen, Code  27500 and 30306, and Welf. & Inst.  
            Code  8101.) 

          11)Provides that it shall be unlawful for the following people  
            to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or  
            possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition;  
            or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped  
            or transported in interstate or foreign commerce:  [18 USC  
            Section 922(g).] 
           
              a)   Who has been convicted in any court of, a crime  
               punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;  

              b)   Who is a fugitive from justice;  

              c)   Who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled  
               substance, as defined;  

              d)   Who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who  
               has been committed to a mental institution;  

              e)   Who, being "an alien" -  

                i)     is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or  

                ii)    except as specified, has been admitted to the United  
                 States under a non-immigrant visa, as defined;   

              f)   Who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under  
               dishonorable conditions;  

              g)   Who, having been a citizen of the United States, has  
               renounced his citizenship;  

              h)   Who is subject to a court order that -  

                i)     was issued after a hearing of which such person  
                 received actual notice, and at which such person had an  
                 opportunity to participate;  

                ii)    restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or  
                 threatening an intimate partner of such person or child  








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                 of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other  
                 conduct that would place an intimate partner in  
                 reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child;  
                 and  

                   (1)       includes a finding that such person represents  
                    a credible threat to the physical safety of such  
                    intimate partner or child; or  

                   (2)       by its terms explicitly prohibits the use,  
                    attempted use, or threatened use of physical force  
                    against such intimate partner or child that would  
                    reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or  

              i)   Who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor  
               crime of domestic violence  

           12)Provides that certain people are prohibited from owning or  
            possessing a firearm.  This includes (Pen. Code  29800;  
            23515; 29805.):  

              a)   Anyone convicted of a felony;  

              b)   Anyone addicted to a narcotic drug;  

              c)   Any juvenile convicted of a violent crime with a gun and  
               tried in adult court;  

              d)   Any person convicted of a federal crime that would be a  
               felony in California and sentenced to more than 30 days in  
               prison, or a fine of more than $1,000;  

              e)   Anyone convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, e.g.,  
               assault with a firearm; inflicting corporal injury on a  
               spouse or significant other; brandishing a firearm in the  
               presence of a police officer; and   

              f)   Provides that a violation of these provisions is a  
               felony.   

           13)Specifies a ten year ban for anyone convicted of numerous  
            misdemeanors involving violence or threats of violence.  (Pen.  








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            Code  29805.)  
           
           14)Provides that a violation of these provisions of the ten year  
            firearm ban may be sentenced to a year in the county jail or  
            up to 3 years in state prison, as specified.  (Pen. Code   
            29805.)   

           15)Provides that persons who are bound by a temporary  
            restraining order or injunction or a protective order issued  
            under the Family Code or the Welfare and Institutions Code,  
            may be prohibited from firearms ownership for the duration of  
            that court order.  (Pen. Code  29825.)
          
          16)Specifies that the Attorney General maintains an online  
            database known as the Armed Prohibited Persons File ("APPS").   
            The purpose of APPS 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.  The information contained in APPS is only be  
            available to specified entities through the California Law  
            Enforcement Telecommunications System, for the purpose of  
            determining if persons are armed and prohibited from  
            possessing firearms.  (Pen. Code  30000.)
          
          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "AB 1695, the  
            Stop Illegal Gun Sales Act (the Act), seeks to reduce the flow  
            of firearms onto the black market. The Act targets straw  
            purchases, instances in which a person who can pass a  
            background check legally buys a gun and then resells it to  
            someone who was prohibited from purchasing a firearm.  
            Additionally, the Act would make knowingly falsely reporting a  
            gun as lost or stolen a misdemeanor, a tactic of straw  
            purchasers seeking to distance themselves from the gun.

            "In 2007, the Los Angeles City Attorney's office notified  








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            firearm purchasers of their rights and responsibilities during  
            California's mandatory waiting period. This notification was  
            attempted to deter straw purchasers from illegally  
            transferring firearms, either through failing to complete the  
            transaction or declining to resell the firearm.

            "According to a 2010 RAND study, the notification  
            significantly increased the number of firearms reported lost  
            and stolen-more than doubling the reporting. However, it is  
            not clear whether the increased reporting was from increased  
            compliance with the law or straw purchasers covering their  
            tracks. This is remedied by the second provision of the Act,  
            making the knowingly false reporting of a firearm as lost or  
            stolen a misdemeanor, to ensure only true reports are made.  
            Additionally, the RAND study found there was an increase in  
            approved firearms transactions not being completed, suggesting  
            a deterrent effect, though those results require further  
            research."

          2)Targeting Straw Purchasers and Lost or Stolen Firearms:  This  
            legislation is similar in intent to a prior bill run by the  
            same author.  AB 1020 (Bonta) from the 2013-2014 Legislative  
            Session intended to replicate statewide a program established  
            by the L.A. City Attorney's Office, in conjunction with local,  
            state and federal officials, to inform gun owners of rights  
            and responsibilities.  This bill focuses the letters on  
            informing purchasers of issues related to firearms, gun  
            trafficking, and safe storage.  The author cites a 2010 RAND  
            study which concluded the following:  

               "Between May 2007 and September 2008, 2,120 guns were  
               purchased in two target neighborhoods of the City of Los  
               Angeles. Starting in August 2007, gun buyers initiating  
               transactions on odd-numbered days received a letter signed  
               by prominent law enforcement officials, indicating that law  
               enforcement had a record of their gun purchase and that the  
               gun buyer should properly record future transfers of the  
               gun. The letters arrived during buyers' 10-day waiting  
               periods, before they could legally return to the store to  
               collect their new gun. Subsequent gun records were  
               extracted to assess the letter's effect on legal secondary  
               sales, reports of stolen guns, and recovery of the gun in a  








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               crime. An intent-to-treat analysis was also conducted as a  
               sensitivity check to remedy a lapse in the letter program  
               between May and August 2007. The letter appears to have no  
               effect on the legal transfer rate or on the short-term rate  
               of guns subsequently turning up in a crime. However, we  
               found that the rate at which guns are reported stolen for  
               those who received the letter is more than twice the rate  
               for those who did not receive the letter. Those receiving  
               the letter reported their gun stolen at a rate of 18 guns  
               per 1,000 gun-years and those not receiving the letter  
               reported their gun stolen at a rate of 7 guns per 1,000  
               gun-years. Of those receiving the letter, 1.9% reported  
               their gun stolen during the study period compared to 1.0%  
               for those who did not receive the letter. The percentage of  
               guns reported stolen in these neighborhoods is high,  
               indicating a high rate of true gun theft, a regular  
               practice of using stolen-gun reports to separate the gun  
               buyer from future misuse of the gun, or some blend of both.  
               Simple, targeted gun law awareness campaigns can modify new  
               gun buyers' behaviors. Additional follow-up or  
               modifications to this initiative might be needed to impact  
               the rate at which guns enter the illegal gun market and  
               ultimately are recovered in crimes." (emphasis added)

          3)City of Los Angeles Letter:  As previously mentioned, this  
            bill seeks to implement statewide a policy that has been in  
            place in the City of Los Angeles for a number of years.  The  
            author has provided a copy of the letter which is distributed  
            in the City of Los Angeles when a person purchases a firearm.   
            The letter reads as follows:  

              John A. Doe
              1234 Main Street
              Los Angeles, CA 90000

              Dear Mr. Doe:

              As you are aware, gun violence is a serious problem both  
            within the City of Los Angeles
               and our country. Nationwide, thousands of our fellow  
               Americans, including children, are killed or seriously  
               injured each year by firearms. It is therefore the hope and  








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               intent of the City and the Attorney General to pursue  
               measures that help reduce those deaths and injuries.

               To that end, City prosecutors, in conjunction with the  
               California Attorney General and Los Angeles Police  
               Department, are engaged in a program to remind gun  
               purchasers of their legal responsibilities as gun owners.

               Records show that you have recently purchased a firearm. It  
               is important that everyone does their part to handle and  
               store firearms in a safe manner, including keeping them out  
               of the hands of children, criminals, and others who may not  
               be authorized to own or possess such a firearm.

               In the event you decide to sell or give your gun to another  
               person, both parties must first complete a "Dealer Record  
               of Sale" (DROS) form at any federally-licensed gun dealer.  
               Please remember that, with very few exceptions, it is a  
               crime to transfer a firearm to any person without first  
               completing the DROS form. Additionally, it is a crime to  
               knowingly sell, give or allow possession of a firearm to a  
               person with a known mental disorder. Furthermore, should a  
               child obtain access to your firearm and injure him/herself  
               or another person, you could be subject to criminal  
               prosecution. City prosecutors are also authorized to bring  
               an eviction action against the tenants residing at a  
               property at which certain unlawful conduct takes place,  
               including the illegal possession, use, sale, furnishing or  
               giving away of a firearm.

               You should also be aware that in the event the police  
               recover a firearm that has been involved in a crime, City  
               prosecutors can prosecute its previous owner for a  
               misdemeanor, if that owner failed to complete the "Dealer  
               Record of Sale" form.

               Please help make Los Angeles a safer community by  
               preventing your gun from falling into the wrong hands.  
               Thank you for your compliance with these very important  
               obligations and responsibilities.

              Any inquiries may be directed to City prosecutor Anne  








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            Tremblay at (213) 978-4090.

          4)Handgun Safety Certificate:  This bill requires the DOJ to  
            provide a letter to firearm purchasers providing them with  
            information related to firearms, gun trafficking, and safe  
            storage.   All handgun purchasers in the State of California  
            must take an exam on handgun safety from an instructor and  
            obtain a minimum 75% passing score to receive a certificate  
            (Penal Code Section 31615.)  Effective January 1, 2003, the  
            Basic Firearms Safety Certificate Program was replaced with  
            the Handgun Safety Certificate Program. These new statutes  
            affect the general public in two principal ways. First, unless  
            exempt, individuals must possess a Handgun Safety Certificate  
            (HSC) prior to purchasing or acquiring a handgun. Second,  
            unless exempt, individuals must perform a safe handling  
            demonstration prior to taking delivery of a handgun from a  
            licensed dealer.  HSCs are acquired by taking and passing a  
            written test on handgun safety, generally at participating  
            firearms dealerships and private firearms training facilities.  
            A written guide is available to help individuals prepare for  
            the Handgun Safety Certificate Test for purchase at firearms  
            dealerships at $.50 each. There is also a Handgun Safety  
            Certificate Video available for purchase at firearms  
            dealerships or from DOJ Certified Instructors at $5.00 each.   
            The handgun safety demonstration protocols and DOJ Certified  
            Instructor standards have been established and implemented by  
            DOJ.
          
          5)Numbers of Gun Sales in California:  The number of gun sales  
            in California is relatively high.  From 2007-2016 the numbers  
            have been increasing.  In 2007 there were 370,628 Dealer's  
            Records of Sale reported in the state of California.  In 2011  
            there were 601,243 Dealer's Records of Sale reported to the  
            DOJ.  It has been widely reported in the media that following  
            the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14,  
            2012 that gun sales have increased significantly following  
            proposed legislative efforts throughout the United States to  
            impose stricter regulations on gun sales.  In the month  
            following the San Bernardino showing in California gun dealers  
            sold about 134,000 guns.  History has shown that following  
            recent mass shootings there have been severe spikes in gun  
            sales.  California has seen between 800,000 and 960,000 gun  








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            sales during each of the prior four years, state and federal  
            data show. By comparison, a decade ago, between 2002 and 2005,  
            the state never saw more than 345,000 gun sales in a single  
            year.  

          6)Firearms Prohibitions for Misdemeanor Offenses:  Current state  
            and federal laws prohibit persons who have been convicted of  
            specific crimes from owning or possessing firearms.  For  
            example, anyone convicted of any felony offense is prohibited  
            for life from firearms ownership under both federal and state  
            law.  (18 U.S.C.  922(g); Pen. Code  29800.)  California  
            goes further and imposes a 10-year firearms prohibition on  
            persons convicted of numerous misdemeanor offenses that  
            involve either violence or the threat of violence.  (Pen. Code  
             29805.)  Additionally, anyone who has been found to be a  
            danger to themselves or others due to mental illness is  
            subject to a five-year prohibition (Welf. & Inst. Code   
            8100, 8103(f)), and people under domestic violence restraining  
            orders are subject to a prohibition for the duration of that  
            court order.  (Pen. Code  29825.)

            This bill would specify that any person convicted of the  
            misdemeanor offense of falsely reporting a firearm as lost or  
            stolen to law enforcement is subject to a 10-year ban from  
            owning a firearm.  This offense arguably involves the misuse  
                                               of a firearm so it is consistent with other bans on ownership  
            of a firearm.   


          7)Argument in Support:  According to the California Chapters of  
            the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, "It is well known  
            that a significant source (if not the primary source) of crime  
            guns is through the intervention of straw purchasers. A straw  
            purchase occurs when someone who does not have a criminal  
            record, and can therefore pass a background check, purchases a  
            firearm and then transfers it without a background check to  
            someone who is otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm.  
            This practice violates existing law but it is often difficult  
            to detect and prevent. AB 1695 seeks to address this issue. 
            
            "AB 1695 would require the Attorney General to send a notice  
            to each individual who has applied to purchase a firearm  








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            informing him or her of laws relating to firearms, gun  
            trafficking, and safe storage. Additionally, the bill would  
            make it a misdemeanor to report to a local law enforcement  
            agency that a firearm has been lost or stolen, knowing that  
            report to be false.

            "In 2007, Greg Ridgeway conducted a study to determine whether  
            sending a notification to gun buyers during the ten day  
            waiting period could affect behavior. The notification or  
            letter informed them that law enforcement had a record of  
            their gun purchase and that the gun buyer should properly  
            record any future transfers of the gun. Those receiving the  
            letter reported their guns lost or stolen with almost twice  
            the frequency of those who did not receive the letter, and at  
            least initially, those receiving the letter were less likely  
            to return to pick up their gun.

            "Ridgeway concluded that straw purchasers were much more  
            likely to report their firearms lost or stolen as a defense  
            when guns recovered in a crime were traced to them. It follows  
            therefore, that the act of knowingly filing a false report  
            should have criminal consequences in order to discourage the  
            behavior. 



            "Preventing the flow of illegal guns is very important to  
            public safety. AB 1695 would not only inform gun purchasers of  
            transfer laws, but would help deter straw buyers. The bill  
            furthers the Brady Campaign's goal of keeping weapons out of  
            dangerous hands. 





            "Additionally, an important strategy for reducing gun violence  
            is to educate gun owners about child access prevention laws  
            and safe storage requirements. The Brady Campaign supports the  
            concept of informing all prospective gun owners of important  
            firearms laws and injury prevention strategies. The notice to  
            prospective gun buyers advances these education goals. 








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            "Accordingly, The California Brady Campaign Chapters stand in  
            strong support of AB 1695 and urge your AYE vote."

          8)Argument in Opposition:  According to the Firearms Policy  
            Coalition, "AB 1695 seeks to continuously appropriate firearm  
            purchaser's involuntary contributions to the Firearms Safety  
            and Enforcement Special fund for the purposes of sending a  
            mailed notice to firearms purchasers reminding them of a tiny  
            fraction of the thousands of statutes and regulations that  
            govern the acquisition, possession, transport, storage, carry,  
            loan, use, and transfer of firearms.  Strangely, firearm  
            purchasers would only receive this mailing after paying their  
            fees, passing a test on firearm law and safety, and receiving  
            their certification (which remains valid for 5 years).  
            
            "The senseless redundancy of AB 1695 is many-fold.  Many laws  
            cited in the notice content are, in fact, the same laws that  
            the purchaser is complying with by conducting a lawful firearm  
            transfer to a licensed dealer.  Those same laws are required  
            to be posted in plain view at the point of sale.  

            "And how many times must a purchaser pay for the same notice  
            with the same content to be mailed to them?

            "With the Department of Justice processing nearly one million  
            firearm transactions in California on an annual basis, AB 1695  
            represents the needless waste of forests of paper, pallets of  
            printer toner, and tons of disposed DOJ junk mail every year.   


            "AB 1695 also creates a new misdemeanor crime for falsifying a  
            report of a lost or stolen firearm, then makes that crime one  
            which subjects the violator to a 10-year total prohibition on  
            firearm possession."
            
          9)Related Legislation:  SB 1006 (Wolk) would enact the  
            California Firearm Violence Research Act. The bill would  
            declare the intent of the Legislature that the Regents of the  
            University of California establish the California Firearm  








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            Violence Research Center to research firearm-related violence.  
            The bill would declare legislative intent regarding the  
            principles by which the university would administer the center  
            and award research funds, as prescribed. The bill would  
            require the university to report, on or before December 31,  
            2017, and every 5 years thereafter, specified information  
            regarding the activities of the center and information  
            pertaining to research grants. The bill would require the  
            center to provide copies of its research publications to the  
            Legislature. The bill would specify that its provisions would  
            apply to the university only to the extent that the Regents,  
            by resolution, make any of the provisions of the bill  
            applicable to the university.   SB 1006 is set for hearing in  
            Senate Education Committee on March 16, 2016.  

          10)Prior Legislation:  

             a)   AB 1020 (Bonta), of the 2013-2014 legislative session,  
               required the Attorney General (AG) to send a letter during  
               the 10-day waiting period to each individual who has  
               applied to purchase a firearm informing him or her of  
               firearms laws relating to gun trafficking and safe storage.  
                AB 1020 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  
                

             b)   SB 819 (Leno), Chapter 743, Statutes of 2011, provided  
               that the Department of Justice may use dealer record of  
               sale funds for costs associated with its firearms-related  
               regulatory and enforcement activities regarding the  
               possession as well as the sale, purchase, loan, or transfer  
               of firearms, as specified.

             c)   AB 302 (Beall), Chapter 344, Statutes of 2010, requires  
               that by July 1, 2012, specified mental health facilities  
               shall report to the Department of Justice exclusively by  
               electronic means when a person is admitted to that facility  
               either because that person was found to be a danger to  
               themselves or others, or was certified for intensive  
               treatment for a mental disorder, as specified.

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:









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          Support
          
          American Academy of Pediatrics 
          California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun  
          Violence 
          Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence 

          Opposition

          California Sportsman's Lobby 
          California Right to Carry
          Firearms Policy Coalition
          National Shooting Sports Foundation 
          Outdoor Sportsmen's Coalition of California 
          Safari Club International 
          
          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              Gabriel Caswell / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744