BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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

          SB 347 (Jackson) - Firearms:  prohibited persons
          
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |                                                                 |
          |                                                                 |
          |                                                                 |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |                                |                                |
          |Version: April 21, 2015         |Policy Vote: PUB. S. 4 - 2      |
          |                                |                                |
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |                                |                                |
          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
          |                                |                                |
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |                                |                                |
          |Hearing Date: May 4, 2015       |Consultant: Jolie Onodera       |
          |                                |                                |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 

          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. 

          

          Bill  
          Summary:  SB 347 would add specified offenses to the list of  
          misdemeanors that result in a 10-year prohibition on firearms  
          possession.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
                State prisons  :  Potential increase in state costs  
              potentially in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars  
              (General Fund) annually for additional commitments to state  
              prison under the expanded list of crimes subject to the  
              10-year firearms ban resulting in felony convictions. Any  
              cost savings due to a greater number of wobbler offenses  
              prospectively being charged as misdemeanors instead of  
              felonies are estimated to result in local savings, as the  
              applicable wobbler offenses specify jail felonies pursuant  
              to PC  1170(h). To the extent the prohibition is applied  
              retroactively would significantly increase the potential  
              fiscal impact to the state.      
                County jails  :  Potentially major increases and decreases  






          SB 347 (Jackson)                                       Page 1 of  
          ?
          
          
              in non-reimbursable local costs in the millions of dollars  
              (Local) as a result of: 1) new admissions to jail for  
              violations of the 10-year firearms ban under the expanded  
              list of applicable crimes resulting in misdemeanor  
              convictions; and, 2) reductions in jail terms for wobbler  
              offenses that otherwise would have been charged as jail  
              felonies that are instead charged as misdemeanors with  
              shorter jail sentences. To the extent the prohibition is  
              applied retroactively would significantly increase the  
              potential fiscal impact to counties. To the extent local  
              agencies incur a net increase in overall costs, a subvention  
              of funds could be required from the State (General Fund*).
                Department of Justice (DOJ)  :  Potentially significant  
              increase in DOJ administration and enforcement costs of  
              about $200,000 (Special Fund**) for increases to the Armed  
              Prohibited Persons System (APPS) list resulting from the  
              expanded application of the firearms prohibition. 

          *Proposition 30 (2012) provides that legislation enacted after  
          September 30, 2012, that has an overall effect of increasing the  
          costs already borne by a local agency for public safety  
          services, as defined, are not subject to mandate reimbursement,  
          however, apply to local agencies only to the extent the State  
          provides annual funding for the cost increase. Legislation  
          creating a new crime or changing the definition of an existing  
          crime is exempt from this funding provision, however,  
          legislation changing the penalty for a crime is not similarly  
          exempted. It is not clear that expanding the application of the  
          10-year firearms ban to a larger class of individuals would  
          constitute a change in the definition of a crime. To the extent  
          it is determined that the provisions of this bill instead change  
          the penalty for the specified misdemeanor crimes by applying the  
          firearms ban to those misdemeanor convictions, any net increase  
          in costs to local agencies attributable to provisions of this  
          legislation could potentially require annual funding from the  
          State.

          **Dealers' Record of Sale (DROS) Special Account


          Background:  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  







          SB 347 (Jackson)                                       Page 2 of  
          ?
          
          
          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),  
          punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, two,  
          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.)


          Proposed Law:   
          This bill expands the list of misdemeanor offenses subject to  
          the 10-year firearms prohibition in existing law to include the  
          following:
                 Theft, if the property is a firearm (PC  490.2); 
                 Receipt of stolen property, if the property is a firearm  
               (PC  496); 
                 Sale of a firearm without a license (PC  26500);
                 Sale of ammunition to an underage person (PC  30300); 
                 Possession of ammunition by a person prohibited from  
               possessing a firearm (PC  30305);
                 Sale or supplying ammunition to a person prohibited from  
               possessing a firearm (PC  30306); 
                 Bringing ammunition on school grounds (PC  30310); 
                 Carrying a concealed firearm where the person has been  
               convicted of a drug offense or of a crime against a person  
               or property (PC  25400(c)(5)); 
                 Carrying a concealed firearm where the firearm was  
               loaded and not registered to the person in possession (PC   
               25400(c)(6)); 
                 Carrying a loaded firearm in public where the person has  
               been convicted of a drug offense or of a crime against a  
               person or property (PC  25850(c)(5));
                 Carrying a loaded firearm in public where the firearm  
               was not registered to the person in possession. (PC   
               25850(c)(6)); and
                 Prohibited person in possession of a firearm. (PC   
               29805).


          Prior  
          Legislation:  SB 755 (Wolk) 2014 was similar but broader in  
          scope than this measure. This bill was vetoed by the Governor  
          with the following message:
          I am returning Senate Bill 755 without my signature. This bill  
          adds substance-abuse offenses and court orders to undergo mental  
          health outpatient treatment to criteria that result in a 10-year  







          SB 347 (Jackson)                                       Page 3 of  
          ?
          
          
          prohibition on firearms possession. I am not persuaded that it  
          is necessary to bar gun ownership on the basis of crimes that  
          are non-felonies, non-violent and do not involve misuse of a  
          firearm.




          Staff  
          Comments:  By expanding the list of misdemeanors subject to the 10-year  
          firearms prohibition, this bill could result in future increases  
          in commitments to state prison for violations of the firearms  
          ban resulting in felony convictions. Data from the DOJ indicates  
          over 3,000 misdemeanor convictions per year on average over the  
          last three years (2012-2014) for the enumerated crimes in this  
          bill. Staff notes the offense of "receipt of stolen property,"  
          which constitutes 93 percent of total convictions, cannot be  
          broken out specifically to stolen property of a firearm,  
          however. 
          
          Data from the CDCR indicates that only 20 individuals per year  
          have been committed to state prison on average over the past  
          three years (2012-2014) for a violation of the 10-year  
          prohibition on firearms possession for existing crimes subject  
          to the ban. While it is unknown how many additional individuals  
          will be committed to state prison under this provision of law,  
          future costs could potentially be significant given the size of  
          the applicable population, especially if the application is  
          determined to be retroactive. For every 10 new commitments to  
          state prison, costs would be $340,000 per year, assuming the  
          in-state contract bed cost of $34,000 per year. To the extent  
          the number of individuals impacted is greater or fewer, costs  
          would be affected accordingly.

          Local jails will potentially incur significant increases and  
          decreases in local costs under the provisions of this measure.  
          New commitments to county jail for misdemeanor violations of the  
          10-year firearms ban under the expanded list of applicable  
          crimes will result in increased costs of an unknown, but  
          potentially significant amount.

          Staff notes that most of the enumerated offenses specified in  
          this measure are alternate felony/misdemeanors, with felony  
          convictions subject to punishment pursuant to PC  1170(h).  
          Unless the defendant has been formerly convicted of a serious or  







          SB 347 (Jackson)                                       Page 4 of  
          ?
          
          
          violent felony, or a felony requiring sex offender registration,  
          the felony sentence will be served in county jail. Data from the  
          DOJ indicates over 7,000 felony convictions per year on average  
          attributable to the offenses specified in this measure. To the  
          extent some percentage of felony convictions resulting in county  
          jail sentences are instead charged as misdemeanors, local jails  
          would realize cost savings due to shorter jail sentences. While  
          the net impact to local agencies cannot be known with certainty  
          and would vary by county, it is estimated the amount of  
          potential savings to county jails could be substantial given the  
          number of felony convictions annually.

          Under 2011 Realignment Legislation, the state provided funding  
          to the counties to place offenders in county jail for specified  
          felonies that previously would have required a state prison  
          sentence. Pursuant to Proposition 30 (2012), legislation enacted  
          after September 30, 2012, that has an overall effect of  
          increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for  
          programs or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment  
          Legislation apply to local agencies only to the extent that the  
          state provides annual funding for the cost increase. Proposition  
          30 specifies that legislation defining a new crime or changing  
          the definition of an existing crime is not subject to this  
          provision, however, legislation changing the penalty for a crime  
          is not similarly exempted. It is not clear that expanding the  
          application of the 10-year firearms ban to a larger class of  
          individuals would constitute a change in the definition of a  
          crime. To the extent it is determined that the provisions of  
          this bill instead change the penalty for the specified  
          misdemeanor crimes by applying the 10-year firearms ban to those  
          misdemeanor convictions, any net increase in costs to local  
          agencies could potentially require annual funding from the State  
          (General Fund).
          
          Staff notes that it is unclear whether the firearms prohibition  
          would apply retroactively to those persons convicted of  
          applicable misdemeanors prior to the effective date of this bill  
          should it be enacted. As a result, the estimated fiscal impacts  
          to the state and counties could vary widely.
          
          Similarly, to the extent the firearms prohibition is applied  
          retroactively to prior misdemeanor convictions could result in a  
          significant increase in DOJ administration and enforcement costs  
          (Special Fund*) to input and address new listings on APPS.








          SB 347 (Jackson)                                       Page 5 of  
          ?
          
          
          The Three-Judge Court has ordered the State to reduce its prison  
          population to 137.5 percent of the prison system's design  
          capacity by February 28, 2016. Pursuant to its February 10, 2014  
          order, the Court has ordered the CDCR to implement several  
          population reduction measures, prohibited an increase in the  
          population of inmates housed in out-of-state facilities, and  
          indicated the Court will maintain jurisdiction over the State  
          for as long as necessary to ensure that the State's compliance  
          with the 137.5 percent final benchmark is durable, and that such  
          durability is firmly established. Any future increases to the  
          State's prison population challenge the ability of the State to  
          reach and maintain such a "durable solution," and could require  
          the State to pursue one of several options, including  
          contracting-out for additional bed space or releasing current  
          inmates early onto parole.


                                      -- END --