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September 14, 2023

California Goes Full California on Gun Control As Legislative Deadline Looms

By Larry Keane

The deadline for the California state legislature to pass bills out of chamber is next week. Antigun state legislators are ramming through even more gun control legislation for legislative action with that deadline looming.

California already can rightfully argue they are the strictest gun control state in the country. Gov. Gavin Newsom is even pushing for a Constitutional amendment to do away with Second Amendment rights. That’s not stopping them from rushing to implement even more gun control in the waning days of the session.

It will be a whiplash final week for bill movement. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening in Sacramento.

Senate Bill 241 passed out of the Assembly and is headed to the Senate. The bill requires California firearm retailers and their employees to undergo annual training courses which are implemented by the California Department of Justice (CalDOJ). The training requirements include “how to recognize and identify straw purchasers and fraudulent activity;” “how to recognize and identify indicators that an individual intends to use a firearm for self-harm;” “how to prevent theft or burglary of firearms and ammunition;” and “how to teach consumers rules of firearm safety, including, but not limited to, the safe handling and storage of firearms.”

The firearm industry rejects the bill’s mandates and penalties but agrees these are important aspects to owning and operating a firearm retail location. It’s why NSSF has provided training, education and resources to industry members and promotes the Real Solutions. Safer Communities®. initiative. Rather than forcing expensive and time-consuming requirements on retailers, NSSF provides access and materials from the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy campaign to reduce illegal “straw purchases,” Operation Secure Store® retailer security program and Project ChildSafe® safe firearm storage initiative. Each of these programs, as well as others, have had a real, meaningful impact on making communities safer without imposing costly mandates and red tape on small businesses.

Assembly Bill 1406 passed both the Assembly and Senate and is heading to Gov. Newsom for signature. AB 1406 would expand the existing 10-day waiting period on the sale or transfer of a firearm to include a possible 30-day state waiting period. The existing 10-day waiting period is already being challenged in court as unnecessary and that violates law-abiding Californians’ Second Amendment rights. After all, rights delayed are rights denied. A successful National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification already reveals whether the buyer is prohibited from owning a firearm or not, and a federal background check window exists for the minute percentage of NICS checks that come back in delay rather than approved or denied.

Senate Bill 368 is another bill that would impact firearm retailers and also make it more difficult to help reduce the tragedy of firearm deaths by suicide. SB 368 is heading to Gov. Newsom for signature after passing out of both the Assembly and the Senate. The bill adds additional requirements and red tape for firearm retailers to navigate should a person experiencing temporary mental health challenges decide to give their firearm to the dealer for storage. Similar laws in New York and Massachusetts end up discouraging individuals from pursuing this option and often the firearm dealer is left in a difficult place to navigate penalties and possible violations due to the firearm transfer mandates.

Assembly Bill 1089 passed both the Assembly and Senate and is heading to Gov. Newsom’s desk for possible signature. AB 1089 prohibits anyone, including a gunsmith or hobbyist, from manufacturing a home-built firearm and requires those individuals to register as a state-licensed firearm manufacturer. Building firearms at home has been common since before the founding of the country.

One of the most egregious pieces of legislation to see significant movement in Sacramento is Assembly Bill 28. AB 28 already passed both chambers and is already on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for possible signature. AB 28 has made a wave of national news already and would impose an 11 percent excise tax on firearm retailers and manufacturers for all sales of guns or ammunition. The Associated Press reported, “California’s proposed tax would not apply to people who buy the guns. Instead, the state would make the businesses that sell guns and ammunition pay the tax. However, most of the time businesses will raise prices to cover the cost of the tax.”

Senate Bill 2 creates a new arbitrary system and criteria for firearm permits making it immensely harder for citizens to obtain carry permits. This is Gov. Newsom’s response to the Bruen decision. Since he didn’t like the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, he took the same tactic and sought legislation to make it nearly impossible to legally carry a firearm in California – even if an individual has a permit. The bill would make nearly every public place in California a “sensitive place” and deny law-abiding citizens from carrying a firearm.

While there are still only a handful of days remaining, the firearm industry is also watching to see if legislators move a California state Merchant Category Code (MCC) bill (AB 1587) to track individuals who make firearm purchases using a credit card, as well as a microstamping bill (SB 452) which would require the state to study the unworkable and flawed technology on new firearms in the state.

NSSF will be closely monitoring the situation in Sacramento.

You may also be interested in:

Gun Control Howls, Gnashes Teeth When California’s Rifle Ban Struck

NSSF Praises Court’s Preliminary Injunction on California’s Unsafe Handgun Act

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