Each new year law-abiding gun owners in California need to be on the lookout for the latest assault on the Second Amendment. You may have seen discussion about bills that could affect your gun and self-defense rights. Here is a preview of some bills and issues that have been filed and raised (so far) that are noteworthy.
The California Legislature has been busy, and a number of new firearm regulations recently went into effect. Others were signed into law and will be effective in future years. Here are the 2020 legal updates that all California firearm owners should be aware of.
Legislation Passed in California
- SB 376 – Before this law went into effect, a person did not need a dealer’s license to conduct “infrequent” transfers of firearms. Under the prior law, “infrequent” was defined as less than six handgun transactions per calendar year, and for all other firearms, an indefinite number of transactions that were “occasional and without regularity.” The new law, which is now effective, expands the definition of “infrequent” to include less than six total transactions per calendar year regardless of the type of firearm, limiting each transaction to no more than 50 total firearms within those transactions.
- SB 172 – This new law, which is now effective, authorizes the temporary transfer of a firearm to a person 18 years of age or older without a firearm dealer’s participation under certain circumstances such as preventing the use of the firearm in an attempted suicide. Additionally, this law broadening the application of criminal storage crimes from “handguns” to “any firearm,” and prohibits a person convicted of a criminal storage offense from owning or possessing a firearm for a period of 10 years.
- AB 1297 – Prior law permitted law enforcement agencies who issue CCW licenses to charge no more than a $100 one-time registration fee for a new license. The new law removes the $100 cap. Licensing authorities are now able to charge a fee in an amount equal to the reasonable costs of processing the application, issuing the license, and enforcing the license, which is subject to a specific fee schedule that depends on the status of the application. This fee may be increased at a rate not to exceed any increase in the California Consumer Price Index as compiled and reported by the Department of Industrial Relations.
- AB 645 – Prior law required the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to develop a written objective test for the issuance of a firearm safety certificate, which is required for the purchase or receipt of a firearm. This new law, effective now, requires the written test to also cover the topic of suicide prevention. Likewise, a suicide prevention warning label is now required on all firearm sales from dealers, including packaging and any descriptive materials, as well as requiring each licensed firearms dealer to post a suicide prevention warning statement on their premises.
- AB 61 – Prior law authorized an immediate family member or law enforcement officer to petition a court for a gun violence restraining order (“GVRO”), which allows the court to remove guns from those with a “substantial likelihood” to use them dangerously. AB 61, now effective, expands the prior law by authorizing, under certain circumstances, an employer, a coworker, or an employee or teacher of a secondary or postsecondary school to petition a court for a GVRO. Also, prior law allowed a court to issue a GVRO against a person for one year. This new law expands the time frame that the GVRO is operative, which can now be extended up to five years.
- SB 61 – Prior law prohibited a licensed firearm dealer from selling a firearm to a person under 21 years of age but permitted the sale of a firearm, other than a handgun, to a person 18 years of age or older who had a valid hunting license, was a law enforcement officer, or was an honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces. The new law, now effective, prohibits the sale of all semiautomatic centerfire rifles to any person under the age of 21, except for a law enforcement officer or an active-duty member of the Armed Forces. Also, beginning July 1, 2021, this law will prohibit a person from making more than one application within any 30-day period to purchase a semiautomatic centerfire rifle. Previously, the 30-day rule applied only to handguns.
- AB 893 – As of January 1, 2021, the law now prohibits the sale of firearms and ammunition at the Del Mar Fairgrounds property in San Diego, California.
- AB 2847 – This new law will go into effect July 1, 2022, and will require firearms to be manufactured with one micro stamp on the inside of the firearm that will imprint a marking on each cartridge case subsequently fired (prior law required two micro stamps per firearm). It also will require the removal of three non-compliant handguns from the state roster of sellable handguns for every new compliant model added to the list.
- AB 879 – This new law will go into effect on July 1, 2024, with the remaining provision scheduled to become effective on July 1, 2025. Commencing July 1, 2024, it will be required that all sales of firearm precursor parts (parts typically used to build a functional firearm) be conducted by or processed through a licensed firearm precursor part vendor. Commencing July 1, 2025, the DOJ will be required to electronically approve the purchase or transfer of all firearm precursor parts through a licensed firearm precursor part vendor. Additionally, the sale or transfer of firearm precursor parts to prohibited persons or to persons under 21 years of age will be outright banned.
California Legislature 2021 Schedule
The California Legislature convened on January 11, 2021. A spring recess is scheduled from March 25, 2021, through April 4, 2021, and a summer recess will occur from July 16, 2021, through August 15, 2021. October 10, 2021, is listed as the final day for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature on or before September 10, 2021.
Federal Proposals on the Horizon
Last session, the 116th U.S. Congress proposed assault weapons bans, red flag orders, mandatory reporting of NICS denials to law enforcement, and countless other anti-2A legislation. All of these individual proposals were awful, but none were worse than the omnibus HR 5717 (Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020), which would have incorporated the worst provisions of each of these proposals. If you want a preview of what anti-gun bills filed during the 117th Congress could look like, pay attention to HR 5717. The 117th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2021, and their term ends on January 3, 2023. To learn about how federal law is made, check out The Legislative Process by the United States House of Representatives, and stay tuned. We are keeping a close watch for bills and resolutions that would affect Second Amendment rights.
For more information about 2021 legislation that could impact your rights as a law-abiding gun owner, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
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