BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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

          SB 566 (Bates) - Firearms
          
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          |Version: April 21, 2015         |Policy Vote: PUB. S. 1 - 4,     |
          |                                |          PUB. S. 6 - 0, PUB.   |
          |                                |          S. 7 - 0              |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: May 11, 2015      |Consultant: Jolie Onodera       |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. 

          

          Bill  
          Summary:  SB 566 would reduce the firearm safety certificate  
          (FSC) fee and the FSC renewal fee for honorably discharged  
          members of the United States Armed Forces, the National Guard,  
          the Air National Guard, or the active reserve components of the  
          United States, as specified. 


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  Annual ongoing loss of Department of Justice (DOJ)  
          revenue to the Firearms Safety and Enforcement Special Fund  
          (FSESF) potentially in the range of $150,000 to $750,000,  
          assuming 30,000 to 150,000 (range of 2 to 10 percent) honorably  
          discharged members receive or renew a FSC.


          Background:  Current law provides that no person shall purchase or receive  
          any firearm, except an antique firearm, without a valid FSC,  







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          except that in the case of a handgun, an unexpired handgun  
          safety certificate (HSC) may be used. Applicants must pass a  
          written test that encompasses the laws and responsibilities  
          applicable to the carrying, handling, sale, transfer, and safe  
          storage of firearms, as well as the risks associated with  
          bringing firearms into the home. The DOJ develops the FSC to be  
          issued by instructors certified by the DOJ, to individuals who  
          have complied with specified requirements. The FSC expires five  
          years after the date of issuance.

          Prior to 2001, all honorably discharged veterans were exempted  
          from obtaining a Basic Firearms Safety Certificate. SB 52  
          (Scott) Chapter 942/2001 repealed the Basic Firearms Safety and  
          Certificate Program and replaced it with the Handgun Safety  
          Licensing Program which narrowed the exemptions for obtaining a  
          HSC, now FSC, to honorably  retired  members of the military.


          Proposed Law:  
            This bill would reduce the FSC fee and FSC renewal fee a  
          certified instructor may charge an honorably discharged member,  
          as defined, from $25 to $15, and would reduce the amount of the  
          fee to be paid to the DOJ from $15 to $10.

          This bill would define "honorably discharged member" as an  
          honorably discharged member of the United States Armed Forces,  
          the National Guard, the Air National Guard, or the active  
          reserve components of the United States, who has received a  
          United States Department of Defense certificate of release or  
          discharge from active duty, DD Form 214, indicating a discharge  
          under honorable conditions. 





          



          Prior  
          Legislation:  SB 683 (Block) Chapter 761/2013 extends the safety  
          certificate requirement for handguns to all firearms and  
          requires the performance of a safe handling demonstration to  








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          receive a long gun.

          SB 1422 (Anderson) 2012 was identical to this measure. This bill  
          was held on the Suspense File of this Committee.


          SB 404 (Anderson) 2011 would have exempted honorably discharged  
          members of the military from HSC requirements. This bill failed  
          passage in the Senate Committee on Public Safety.

          AB 2609 (Anderson) 2010 would have exempted honorably discharged  
          members, instead of honorably retired members from HSC  
          requirements. This bill failed passage in the Assembly Committee  
          on Public Safety. 

          AB 2152 (Neilson) 2010 would have exempted honorably discharged  
          members from HSC requirements. This bill failed passage in the  
          Assembly Committee on Public Safety.

          AB 201 (Samuelian) 2004 would have exempted honorably discharged  
          members from HSC requirements. This bill failed passage in the  
          Assembly Committee on Public Safety.

          AB 2081 (Briggs) 2002 would have exempted honorably discharged  
          members from HSC requirements. This bill failed passage in the  
          Assembly Committee on Public Safety.

          SB 1615 (Johannessen) 2002 would have exempted honorably  
          discharged members from HSC requirements. This bill was  
          introduced but not heard in the Senate Committee on Public  
          Safety.

          SB 52 (Scott) Chapter 942/2001 repealed the Basic Firearms  
          Safety and Certificate Program and replaced it with the more  
          stringent Handgun Safety Licensing Program, which narrowed the  
          exemption for military personnel to include only honorably  
          retired veterans.


          Staff  

          Comments:  The provisions of this bill will result in a loss of  
          revenue to the Firearms Safety and Enforcement Special Fund of  
          $5 per honorably discharged member who receives a new or renewed  








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          FSC. The Department of Veterans Affairs has indicated there are  
          approximately two million veterans living in California. It is  
          estimated that the number of honorably discharged veterans may  
          be in the range of 1.5 million individuals, and the number of  
          veterans exempted under current law as "honorably retired" is  
          expected to be minimal.



          It is unknown how many honorably discharged members in any one  
          year receive or renew a FSC. The DOJ indicates the number of  
          FSCs issued is not tracked as the issuance is handled by  
          dealers. If two percent (30,000 veterans) of honorably  
          discharged members receive a new or renewed FSC per year, lost  
          revenue to the DOJ would be $150,000 (FSESF). If ten percent or  
          150,000 veterans applied for or renewed their FSCs in any one  
          year, lost revenue would equate to $750,000 (FSESF). There could  
          be a minor offset to potential revenue loss to the extent a  
          number of honorably discharged veterans attain a FSC who  
          otherwise would not have obtained a FSC under existing law.  
          However, given the existing fee amount of $25 and the minimal  
          difference in the proposed fee amount, this impact is estimated  
          to be minor.



          The FSESF had a reserve balance of $11.3 million at the end of  
          Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-14. The FYs 2014-15 and 2015-16 reserve  
          balances are projected at nearly $14.8 million and $18.3  
          million, respectively. 


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