BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 1717
                                                                  Page  1

          AB 1717 (Hertzberg)
          As Amended June 29, 2000
          Majority vote
          |ASSEMBLY:  |54-20|(May 31, 2000)  |SENATE: |28-6 |(August 18,    |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2000)          |
           Original Committee Reference:   PUB. S.  

           SUMMARY  :  Requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to evaluate  
          ballistic identification systems and report to the Legislature  
          by June 1, 2001.  

           The Senate amendments  :

          1)Delete DOJ's authority to make a formal determination as to  
            the feasibility of ballistic identification systems.

          2)Delete DOJ's authority to prohibit sellers or importers of  
            firearms from conducting business in California without first  
            submitting specified ballistics information.

          3)Require DOJ to report to the Legislature by June 1, 2001.

           AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill:

          1)Required DOJ to evaluate other states' and federal ballistic  
            identification systems (BIS), and make a formal determination  
            by January 1, 2003, as to whether a BIS should be used on a  
            statewide level for law enforcement agencies in California.

          2)Required DOJ to submit a report to the Legislature by January  
            1, 2003.  The evaluation of BIS shall include consideration of  
            the following:  a) whether it was feasible to maintain a  
            handgun database for the entire State of California; b) the  
            degree of compatibility between systems and the potential for  
            information sharing; and, c) whether any potential benefits to  
            law enforcement justify projected costs, and evidentiary  
            issues regarding BIS.

          3)Provided that if the Attorney General (AG) concluded that  
            California should use a BIS and the Legislature appropriated  


                                                                  AB 1717
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            funds for implementation and operation, then #4 and #5 below  

          4)Prohibited any person who was a federally licensed  
            manufacturer from selling or otherwise transferring his or her  
            ownership of a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of  
            being concealed upon the person to a person residing in  
            California unless the manufacturer first provided ballistic  
            information as required by the AG to DOJ.

          5)Prohibited any person or company from importing for sale in  
            California, a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of  
            being concealed upon the person unless that person or company,  
            prior to importation, provided ballistic information as  
            required by the AG to DOJ.

          6)Provided that DOJ may prescribe the format of the ballistic  
            information to be submitted.

          7)Exempted any antique firearm or curio or relic as defined by  
            federal regulations.

          8)Provided that a violation of specified provisions was a  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee analysis:

          1)One-time costs of about $125,000 (one and one-half personnel  
            years) to compile and analyze information and prepare a  
            "formal determination," presumably in a report to the  

          2)One-time equipment costs of about $4 million and annual  
            personnel costs of about $12 million to input and store  
            ballistic information on about 250,000 handguns annually.   
            These costs could be offset by authorizing DOJ to establish an  
            industry fee sufficient to cover DOJ's costs, though DOJ would  
            still face significant start-up costs prior to recouping  
            expenses via fees.

          3)Minor nonreimbursable local incarceration costs for  
            misdemeanor violations.

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, "Technology currently exists  


                                                                  AB 1717
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          and is being further developed that enables law enforcement to  
          trace bullets and cartridges to the guns that fired them.  The  
          Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) and the Federal  
          Bureau of Investigation (FBI) both have such ballistic  
          identification computer systems, which they are currently  
          integrating.  Because every gun makes unique markings on the  
          bullets and cartridges that are fired from it, there is  
          essentially a 'fingerprint' for each gun.  Since the two federal  
          ballistic tracing systems were established, police have linked  
          at least 5,700 guns to two or more crimes when no other evidence  
          existed and all told the systems have produced 8,000 evidence  
          matches in over 16,000 cases. 

          "AB 1717 improves California's ability to utilize this  
          technology.  If the DOJ determines that an adequate ballistic  
          identification system exists for California, manufacturers and  
          importers would be required to submit gun 'fingerprints' to DOJ  
          before any sale in California and before the gun is recovered by  
          the police.  This would enable law enforcement to effectively  
          trace bullets, cartridges, and firearms to the person who  
          purchased a gun as well as the guns recovered from other crime  
          scenes.  Such a database of handgun 'fingerprints' would  
          tremendously increase law enforcement's ability to successfully  
          investigate crimes and successfully prosecute violent offenders.  

          "If the DOJ determines that such an undertaking is not feasible,  
          then the requirements on manufacturers and importers will not  
          take effect."

          Please see the policy committee analysis for a more  
          comprehensive discussion of this bill.

           Analysis Prepared by  :  Bruce Chan / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744 

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