BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                             Senator Loni Hancock, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:    AB 1999       Hearing Date:    June 14, 2016    
          
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          |Author:    |Achadjian                                            |
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          |Version:   |March 15, 2016                                       |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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          |Consultant:|JRD                                                  |
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              Subject:  Prohibited Armed Persons File:  Initial Review



          HISTORY

          Source:   Author

          Prior Legislation:None known

          Support:  Unknown

          Opposition: None known

          Assembly Floor Vote:                 78 - 0


          PURPOSE

          The purpose of this bill is to require the Department of Justice  
          (DOJ) to both complete an initial review of a match in the Armed  
          Prohibited Persons System (APPS) within seven days of the match  
          being placed in the queue, and periodically reassess whether the  
          department can complete reviews of APPS matches more  
          efficiently.  

          Existing law provides for an automated system for tracking  
          firearms and assault weapon owners who might fall into a  
          prohibited status.  The online database, which is currently  







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          known as the APPS, cross-references all handgun and assault  
          weapon owners across the state against criminal history records  
          to determine persons who have been, or will become, prohibited  
          from possessing a firearm subsequent to the legal acquisition or  
          registration of a firearm or assault weapon.  (Penal Code   
          30000, et seq.)


          Existing law 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  
          ammunition.  (Penal Code  27500 and 30306; Welfare and  
          Institutions Code  8101.)

          Existing law 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.  
           (Penal Code   29800 to 29825, inclusive, 29900, 29905, 30305;  
          Welfare and Institutions Code  8100 and 8103.)

          Existing law establishes the Dealer's Record of Sale (DROS)  
          Account, a special fund, which receives various firearm  
          registration fees, and which may be used by the DOJ for firearms  
          related regulatory activities, including enforcement activities  
          related to possession.   (Penal Code  28225 and 28235.)

          Existing law establishes the Firearms Safety and Enforcement  
          Special Fund (FSESF), a continuously appropriated fund, for use  
          by the DOJ for specified purposes related to weapons and  
          firearms regulation.  Monies in the fund may be used for the  
          following purposes:

                 Implementing and enforcing the provisions of the Firearm  
               Safety Certificate program;
                 Implementing and enforcing various gun law enforcement  
               programs; and,
                 Establishment, maintenance, and upgrading of equipment  
               and services necessary for firearms dealers to comply with  
               the DROS system.  

          (Penal Code 28300.)  

          Existing law requires the DOJ, upon submission of firearm  








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          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. (Penal Code   28200 to 28250.)

          Existing law mandates those dealers notify DOJ that persons in  
          applications actually took possession of their firearms.  (Penal  
          Code  28255.)

          Existing law requires that in connection with any 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 DROS, containing the buyer  
          and seller's personal information, must be provided to the buyer  
          or seller upon request.  (Penal Code   28160, 28210, and  
          28215.)

          Existing law requires DOJ to report, until March 1, 2019, on the  
          following APPS statistics:

                 The degree to which the backlog in APPS has been reduced  
               or eliminated;
                 The number of agents hired for enforcement of APPS;
                 The number of people cleared from APPS;
                 The number of people added to APPS;
                 The number of people in APPS before and after the  
               relevant reporting period, including a breakdown of why  
               each person in APPS is prohibited from possessing a  
               firearm;
                 The number of firearms recovered due to enforcement of  
               APPS;
                 The number of contacts made during the APPS enforcement  
               efforts; and
                 Information regarding task forces or collaboration with  








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               local law enforcement on reducing the APPS backlog. 

          (Penal Code  30015(b) and (c).)

          This bill requires DOJ to complete an initial review of a match  
          in the daily queue of APPS within seven days of the match being  
          placed in the queue.

          This bill requires DOJ to periodically reassess whether the  
          department can complete reviews of APPS matches within the daily  
          queue more efficiently.

          This bill defines "match" as "an entry into the Automated  
          Criminal History System, or into any department automated  
          information system, of the name and other information of an  
          individual who may be prohibited from acquiring, owning, or  
          possessing a firearm, matched with a corresponding record of  
          ownership or possession of a firearm by that individual, as  
          specified."
          
                    RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION

          For the past several years this Committee has scrutinized  
          legislation referred to its jurisdiction for any potential  
          impact on prison overcrowding.  Mindful of the United States  
          Supreme Court ruling and federal court orders relating to the  
          state's ability to provide a constitutional level of health care  
          to its inmate population and the related issue of prison  
          overcrowding, this Committee has applied its "ROCA" policy as a  
          content-neutral, provisional measure necessary to ensure that  
          the Legislature does not erode progress in reducing prison  
          overcrowding.   

          On February 10, 2014, the federal court ordered California to  
          reduce its in-state adult institution population to 137.5% of  
          design capacity by February 28, 2016, as follows:   

                 143% of design bed capacity by June 30, 2014;
                 141.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2015; and,
                 137.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2016. 

          In December of 2015 the administration reported that as "of  
          December 9, 2015, 112,510 inmates were housed in the State's 34  
          adult institutions, which amounts to 136.0% of design bed  








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          capacity, and 5,264 inmates were housed in out-of-state  
          facilities.  The current population is 1,212 inmates below the  
          final court-ordered population benchmark of 137.5% of design bed  
          capacity, and has been under that benchmark since February  
          2015."  (Defendants' December 2015 Status Report in Response to  
          February 10, 2014 Order, 2:90-cv-00520 KJM DAD PC, 3-Judge  
          Court, Coleman v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (fn. omitted).)  One  
          year ago, 115,826 inmates were housed in the State's 34 adult  
          institutions, which amounted to 140.0% of design bed capacity,  
          and 8,864 inmates were housed in out-of-state facilities.   
          (Defendants' December 2014 Status Report in Response to February  
          10, 2014 Order, 2:90-cv-00520 KJM DAD PC, 3-Judge Court, Coleman  
          v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (fn. omitted).)  
           
          While significant gains have been made in reducing the prison  
          population, the state must stabilize these advances and  
          demonstrate to the federal court that California has in place  
          the "durable solution" to prison overcrowding "consistently  
          demanded" by the court.  (Opinion Re: Order Granting in Part and  
          Denying in Part Defendants' Request For Extension of December  
          31, 2013 Deadline, NO. 2:90-cv-0520 LKK DAD (PC), 3-Judge Court,  
          Coleman v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (2-10-14).  The Committee's  
          consideration of bills that may impact the prison population  
          therefore will be informed by the following questions:

              Whether a proposal erodes a measure which has contributed  
               to reducing the prison population;
              Whether a proposal addresses a major area of public safety  
               or criminal activity for which there is no other  
               reasonable, appropriate remedy;
              Whether a proposal addresses a crime which is directly  
               dangerous to the physical safety of others for which there  
               is no other reasonably appropriate sanction; 
              Whether a proposal corrects a constitutional problem or  
               legislative drafting error; and
              Whether a proposal proposes penalties which are  
               proportionate, and cannot be achieved through any other  
               reasonably appropriate remedy.


          COMMENTS

          1.  Need for This Legislation









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          According to the author:

               In 2013, the State Auditor (State Audit Report 2013-103)  
               uncovered that the Department of Justice had a backlog of  
               more than 1,200 matches in their daily queue which contains  
               the daily events from courts and mental health facilities  
               that may trigger a prohibition for an individual to own a  
               firearm.

               As part of their findings, the State Auditor's office  
               recommended that the Department establish a goal of no more  
               than 400 to 600 cases in the daily queue.  However, since  
               the initial audit, the Justice's daily queue has grown to  
               over 3,600 cases. The Department of Justice has cited new  
               reporting laws and the need to redirect staff to another  
               Bureau of Firearms priority, which has a statutory  
               deadline, as the reason for this backlog. 

               The State Auditor has recommended a statutory deadline of  
               seven days on the initial processing of matches in the APPS  
               database to encourage the Department to avoid redirecting  
               APPS unit staff (SAR 2015-504).  The longer it takes to  
               review an individual's records, the longer a potentially  
               armed prohibited person keeps their firearms, which  
               increase the risk to public safety.

               AB 1999 fulfills the recommendations of the State Auditor  
               in requiring the Department of Justice to review an initial  
               match in the Armed Prohibited Persons daily queue within 7  
               days and periodically reassess whether the Department can  
               complete those reviews more efficiently.

          2.  Armed Prohibited Persons List 

          On March 13, 2013, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee  
          approved a request for an audit of the California Department of  
          Justice's Armed Prohibited Persons Program.  (http://legaudit.  
          assembly.  
          ca.gov/sites/legaudit.assembly.ca.gov/files/March%2013%20Vote%20T 
          ally.pdf.)  The focus of the audit was on "the reporting and  
          identification of persons with mental illness who are prohibited  
          from owning or possessing a firearm."  (Armed Persons with  
          Mental Illness, California State Auditor (2013) Report  
          2013-103.)    This audit revealed:








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               Justice has faced obstacles throughout the three-year  
               period we reviewed-2010 through 2012-in meeting its  
               workload demands for both the daily and the historical  
               review queues of prohibited persons in the APPS database.  
               During this time, Justice focused staff efforts on  
               addressing a rise in background checks that state law  
               requires when someone attempts to purchase a firearm, which  
               resulted in the APPS unit experiencing a daily backlog that  
               at times exceeded its internal goal of having no more than  
               1,200 matches pending for initial review at any one time.  
               Although, on average, the APPS unit reviewed its daily APPS  
               database workload within a time frame of five days, a few  
               potential armed prohibited person cases waited more than  
               three years before the APPS unit made a final determination  
               about the person's prohibited status. Further, the APPS  
               unit has also experienced delays in processing a historical  
               backlog of firearms owners-nearly 380,000 as of July  
               2013-who remain to be reviewed from more than six years ago  
               when it implemented the APPS database.   
               (http://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/ 2013-103.pdf.)

          On July 9, 2015, the State Auditor issued a follow-up report  
          that found: 

               . . . [I]n our previous report we noted that Justice had  
               backlogs in its two processing queues: a daily queue and a  
               historical queue. During late 2012 and early 2013, Justice  
               had a backlog of more than 1,200 matches pending initial  
               review in its daily queue-the queue that contains the daily  
               events from courts and mental health facilities that  
               indicate a match and may trigger a prohibition for an  
               individual to own a firearm. Because a backlog in this  
               queue means that Justice is not reviewing these daily  
               events promptly, we recommended that Justice establish a  
               goal of no more than 400 to 600 cases in the daily queue.  
               However, during this follow-up audit, we found that  
               Justice's daily queue during the first quarter of 2015 was  
               over 3,600 cases; this is six times higher than its revised  
               goal of no more than 600 cases. Just as it did during the  
               previous audit, Justice continues to cite its need to  
               redirect staff to another Bureau of Firearms (bureau)  
               priority, which has a statutory deadline, as the reason for  
               this backlog. We believe that, if Justice had a statutory  








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               deadline on the initial processing of the matches in the  
               APPS database, it would encourage Justice to avoid  
               redirecting APPS unit staff. The chief of the bureau  
               believes that seven days would be a reasonable time frame  
               to complete an initial review of matches.  
               (http://www.auditor.ca.gov/reports/2015-504/summary.html.) 


          The report recommended that the legislature require DOJ to  
          complete an initial review of cases in the daily queue within  
          seven days. (Id.)  This legislation would simply implement this  
          recommendation. 

          

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