BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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

          AB 1695 (Bonta) - Firearms:  false reports of stolen firearms
          
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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 1695 would make it a misdemeanor to falsely report  
          that a firearm has been lost or stolen, as specified, and would  
          add this new misdemeanor to the list of offenses for which a  
          conviction results in a 10-year prohibition from possession of a  
          firearm.  


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
            New misdemeanor  :  Potential non-reimbursable local costs for  
            enforcement and incarceration offset to a degree by fine  
            revenue for convictions for falsely reporting to a local law  
            enforcement agency that a firearm has been lost or stolen.
            APPS enforcement administration  :  Potential increase in DOJ  
            administration and enforcement costs (Special Fund*) for  
            increases to the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) list  
            resulting from the expanded application of the 10-year  
            firearms prohibition. The workload impact would be dependent  
            on the number of persons convicted of the new misdemeanor  
            established by this measure. 
            Violations of the 10-year firearms ban  :  Potential increase in  







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            state (General Fund) and local (Local Funds) incarceration  
            costs for violations of the 10-year firearms ban, which is an  
            alternate felony-misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in  
            state prison for 16 months, two years, or three years, or in  
            county jail for up to one year. CDCR data indicates only 20  
            commitments per year for violations of the 10-year firearms  
            prohibition. While the impact of this measure on the state  
            prison population is likely minor, even two commitments to  
            state prison in any one year would cost $58,000 based on the  
            estimated contract bed cost of $29,000 per inmate.

          *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  
          additional costs resulting from this bill in conjunction with  
          the numerous other legislative measures requiring funding from  
          the DROS Account, should they be enacted. 


          Background:  Under existing law, licensed firearms manufacturers and  
          dealers are required to report the loss or theft of firearms  
          within 48 hours to specified law enforcement agencies, however,  
          there is not a similar requirement on firearm owners whose  
          firearms are lost or stolen. 
          The failure to report firearms as lost or stolen, as well as the  
          false reporting of firearms as lost or stolen, creates barriers  
          to accurately tracking these firearms. Concerns exist that a  
          straw purchaser, who legally buys a firearm with the intent to  
          illegally sell it to another individual, could falsely report  
          that firearm as lost or stolen in order to disassociate himself  
          or herself with any future crimes committed with that firearm.  
          This bill seeks to address that issue by making it a misdemeanor  
          to file such a false report.


          Existing law prohibits persons who have been convicted of  
          specified crimes from owning or possessing firearms. Under both  
          federal and state law, for example, any individual convicted of  
          a felony offense is prohibited for life from firearms ownership.  
          Existing state law also imposes a 10-year firearms prohibition  
          on any person convicted of numerous misdemeanor offenses  
          involving violence or the threat of violence. A violation of  
          this provision is an alternate felony-misdemeanor (wobbler),  








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          punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, two  
          years, or three years, or in a county jail for up to one year, a  
          fine not exceeding $1,000, or both. (Penal Code (PC)  29805.)

          This bill would add the new misdemeanor of falsely reporting a  
          lost or stolen firearm to the list of offenses subject to the  
          10-year prohibition on firearms possession.


          Proposed  
          Law:  This bill would make it a misdemeanor to report to a local  
          law enforcement agency that a firearm has been lost or stolen,  
          knowing the report to be false. Additionally, this bill would  
          add falsely reporting that a firearm has been lost or stolen to  
          the list of offenses for which a conviction results in a 10-year  
          prohibition from possession of a firearm, as specified.


          Staff  
          Comments:  By creating a new misdemeanor for reporting to a local law  
          enforcement agency that a firearm has been lost or stolen,  
          knowing the report to be false, this bill could result in  
          non-reimbursable local enforcement and incarceration costs,  
          offset to a degree by fine revenue.

          By expanding the list of misdemeanors subject to the 10-year  
          firearms prohibition to include falsely reporting a lost/stolen  
          firearm, this bill could result in future increases in  
          commitments to county jail and state prison for violations of  
          the 10-year firearms ban, which is an alternate  
          felony-misdemeanor, subject to imprisonment in a state prison  
          for 16 months, two years, or three years, or in a county jail  
          for up to one year, a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both the  
          fine and imprisonment.
          
          Data from the CDCR indicates only 20 individuals per year have  
          been committed to state prison on average over a three-year  
          period (2012-2014) for a violation of the 10-year prohibition on  
          firearms possession for existing crimes subject to the ban. As a  
          result, it is likely the impact of this measure on the state  
          prison population will be minor. Local jails could additionally  
          incur increases in local costs under the provisions of this  
          measure for new commitments to county jail for misdemeanor  
          violations of the 10-year firearms ban.








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          Expanding the list of misdemeanors subject to the 10-year  
          firearms prohibition will potentially result in additional  
          persons added to the APPS list, resulting in additional  
          administration and enforcement costs to the DOJ.  The workload  
          impact would be dependent on the number of persons convicted of  
          the new misdemeanor established by this measure, which is  
          unknown at this time.


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