Gun control has become a hot topic, and I think it’s important that Californians are aware of the many of gun control bills that have been proposed this year.
From my perspective, the tragedies such as those that took place in Aurora, Colorado and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut are just heartbreaking. As horrific as they were, those two tragedies have nothing to do with the right of law-abiding citizens to exercise our constitutional rights.
California already has some of the most restrictive gun policies in the nation. Additionally, most of us recognize that new efforts to limit ammunition purposes or impose new taxes, fees, insurance requirements or other regulatory hoops for gun owners would only really impact law-abiding gun owners. Criminals obviously don’t care what the law says. They will continue to break the law while legitimate gun owners will be compelled to navigate a gauntlet of punitive bureaucratic roadblocks and tracked by government agencies in order to exercise our rights. As they wind their way through the legislative process, you can count on me to be an ardent and passionate opponent of these bills at every turn - and they are numerous.
Assembly Bill 48 (Skinner) would make it illegal to sell tools to modify firearm magazines punishable by up to 6 months in jail. It would also further restrict and track ammunition sales.
Assembly Bill 169 (Dickinson) would strip the ability of law enforcement and other legal owners to sell or transfer guns classified as “unsafe handguns.”
Assembly Bill 500 (Ammiano) would make it illegal for a legal gun owner living with someone prohibited from owning firearms to have an unlocked gun in the house. The bill also increases regulatory requirements for buying and selling firearms.
Assembly Bill 740 (Alejo) would expand the list of crimes that prohibit gun possession to include interfering with emergency personnel on a public safety frequency, selling or transferring a firearm without the services of a licensed dealer, possessing ammunition when prohibited from possessing firearms, or bringing ammunition on school grounds.
Assembly Bill 760 (Dickenson) would place a five-cent tax on every bullet, shell or round sold in California.
Senate Bill 47 (Yee) would redefine banned assault weapon criteria from “high capacity” to “not having a fixed magazine” and update registration requirements to include newly classified weapons.
Senate Bill 53 (De León) would severely limit the ability of gun owners to purchase ammunition by requiring 1) that all ammunition sales be face to face; 2) ammunition must be kept in a secure area that cannot be accessed without the vendor’s help; 3) no purchaser would be allowed to buy ammunition without a permit; and 4) all purchases would be reported to the California Department of Justice. A violation would constitute a misdemeanor.
Senate Bill 108 (Yee) would make it illegal to own a weapon if it was not in use or being properly stored in a safe or approved gun locking mechanism.
Senate Bill 293 (DeSaulnier) would require that handguns have an owner-authorized safety mechanism, such as biometric readers or other technologies. It would also make it a misdemeanor to tamper with these devices.
Senate Bill 299 (DeSaulnier) would require victims of gun theft to report the crime within 48 hours or face escalating fees and/or prison time (for multiple offenses).
Senate Bill 363 (Wright) would make it illegal to have an unlocked gun at home if you are living with an individual prohibited from possessing a firearm. Violation of this law would result in a $1000 fine or a year in jail.
Senate Bill 374 (Steinberg, Hancock, Yee) would redefine and expand the definition of “assault weapon” and include newly classified weapons in existing reporting requirements. The bill would also create a new reporting requirement and a $19 fee per gun reported.
Senate Bill 396 (Hancock) would redefine legal magazines as those only long enough to hold 10 rounds and make it illegal to be in possession of anything exceeding this capacity.
Senate Bill 755 (Wolk) would prohibit individuals convicted of various felonies from possessing a firearm for ten years following a conviction. Among others, applicable offenses include transferring a firearm without completing the transaction through a licensed firearms dealer, convictions for narcotics or dangerous drugs, or failing to register a firearm.
Although this represents a list of the most offensive gun-related bills, it may not be conclusive. New language may yet be amended into unrelated bills during the course of the legislative session. Nevertheless, you can be assured that I will be diligent in defending our Second Amendment rights. The high ratings I have been given by Gun Owners of California, National Rifle Association and my selection as California Rifle and Pistol Association’s Legislator of the Year for 2013 are simply a reflection of my commitment to our most fundamental rights.
If you are interested, you can access additional bill information including the bill status, text, analyses and vote records from my Senate homepage at nielsen.cssrc.us.