Brown signs majority of bills in gun control package

Six gun control bills were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, while the remaining five that comprised a package of eleven total gun control bills were vetoed.

Browns action on the bills was announced on Friday morning. In a signing statement, Brown stated that he signed AB 1135, AB 1511, AB 1695, SB 880, SB 1235, and SB 1446 in order to “enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner, while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

Among the new laws are a requirement for background checks for ammunition, a ban on the possession of a “large-capacity magazine” (over 10 rounds), and an amended definition of the term “assault weapons,” which effectively bans the sale of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines that are equipped with bullet buttons.

Those vetoed by Brown included bills which would have made the theft of a firearm a felony, limited purchases of long-guns to one per month, expanded the list of people able to petition for gun violence restraining orders, made it an infraction to fail to report a lost or stolen firearm, and expanded the definition of firearm to include unfinished frames or receivers.

Brown chose to veto one of those bills  AB 1176 (making the theft of firearms a felony) because of their potential redundancy with the “Safety for All Act of 2016,” already on the November ballot and being championed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome.

“This bill proposes to add an initiative that is nearly identical to one which will already appear on the November 2016 ballot,” Brown said in his veto message. “While I appreciate the author’s intent in striving to enhance public safety, I feel that the objective is better attained by having the measure appear before the voters only once.”

In his veto message for AB 1673 (expanding the definition of a firearm to include unfinished frames or receivers), Brown said that the wording of the bill was too vague and could have far reaching and unintended consequences.

“By defining certain metal components as a firearm because they could ultimately be made into a homemade weapon, this bill could trigger potential application of myriad and serious criminal penalties,” Brown wrote.

All of Brown’s veto messages are available online at www.gov.ca.gov.

What the laws mean

AB 1511: Lending Firearms – Currently, the loan of a firearm must be conducted through a licensed firearms dealer. However, “persons who are personally known to each other” are exempted if the loan is “infrequent” and does not exceed 30 days in duration. With this new law, the loan exemptions have been limited to spouses or registered domestic partners, parents, children, siblings, or grandchildren, The requriements that the loan be infrequent and not exceed 30 days in duration remain in place.

SB 880, AB 1135: Redefining Assault Weapons – Curently, an “assault weapon” is defined as a semiautomatic centerfire rifle or semi-automatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has one of a certain number of specified attributes.  That definition, as a result of this law, will be revised to include semi-automatic centerfire rifles and semi-automatic pistols that do not have fixed magazines, and have one of the specified features currently in place. The new law defines “fixed magazine” as an ammunition feeding defice contained in or permanently attached to a firearm so that it can’t be removed without disassembling the firearm action. Owners of firearms which now fall under the “assault weapon” classification and were purchased prior to Jan. 1, 2017 will have to register their firearm as such with the Department of Justice before Jan. 1, 2018. Under existing law, it is a felony to possess an assault weapon, if the gun is not registered.

AB 1695: False reports of stolen firearms – This law will make it a misdemeanor to make a false report to certain individuals or a peace officer that a firearm has been lost or stolen, if an individual knows it to be false. Also, the law will prohibit an individual who is convicted of making a false report of a lost or stolen firearm from owning a firearm for 10 years. It would also be a misdemeanor if such an individual was found to own a firearm during that timespan.

SB 1235: Creating a new framework for regulating ammunition sales – Requires background checks to purchase ammunition, and defines ammunition as “one or more loaded cartridges consisting of a primer case, propellant, and with one or more projectiles.” The bill would amend certain provisions in the “Safety for All Act” if voters enact it in November.

SB 1446: Possession of large capacity magazines – While current law makes the sale, gift, and loan of large-capacity magazines (10-plus rounds) illegal, possession of such magazines was not. This law will change that, making possession of a large-capacity magazine an infraction. The punishment for an infraction will amount to a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $500 for any subsequent offenses. People who legally possess a large capacity magazine prior to July 1, 2o17 will be required to dispose of it by either removing it from the state, selling it a licensed firearms dealer, destroying it, or surrendering it to law enforcement for destruction.

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net