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California Legislation for 2013

I have hesitated to write a page like this in the past, because I don't really want the legislators to see what I have to say about the mitigation of their bills. This is what we on Calguns call "doing their work for them", and it's not a very good idea. Now that these bills are on the Governor's desk to be signed or not, there is no harm in my disclosing what I have noticed about them. *Please note that none of these bills have been signed as of this writing, and any "THEY DUN PASSED IT!!!!111" exclaimations on the internet are premature, immature, and serve only to portray us all as idiots. It's "passed" when the Governor hasn't vetoed the bill at the end of his signature window and not a minute before

Should any of these bills be signed, that's not "the end of it" either. The National Rifle Association, Calguns Foundation, and numerous other organizations have expressed intention to file injunctions against many of these laws if they are passed. Injunctions have prevented numerous bills from getting enforced over the years, and it is likely that many of the worst bills from this will be susceptible to this as well.

Authoritative Sources:

This is the summary of currently active bills:

Active Bills

Signed? Text Bill Summary Status Impact
SIGNED Text AB48 Ban on the sale of rebuild kits 9/11/13: Governor Criminalizes buying or receiving a large-cap mag (omitted by earlier laws). Criminalizes the trade in "rebuild kits".
Does NOT mandate disposal of large cap magazines BECAUSE its Senate counterpart bill did NOT pass.
VETOED Text AB169 Stop single-shot exemption transfers of handguns 9/10/13: Governor This would have stopped off-roster handguns, as well as AR and AK pistol transfers.
SIGNED Text AB231 Ban loaded, unlocked firearms anywhere children might reach them. 9/10/13: Governor Require that all guns be locked up whenever a child is around unsupervised, whether the child touches them or not.
Anyone with unlocked, loaded guns in a house must refuse to allow children inside unless they're pretty much leashed to their parents.
SIGNED Text AB711 Prohibit the use of lead ammunition for hunting. 9/10/13: Governor Hunters must buy expensive non-lead ammo for hunting. Doesn't seem to affect target shooting.
VETOED Text SB299 Would have required stolen guns to be reported within 48hrs. 9/10/13: Governor Brings up substantial problems with being on vacation, etc. "Should Reasonably Have Known" means "Reasonable" to the DA in question.
VETOED Text SB374 Ban all drop-mag or bullet-button semi-auto centerfire rifles 09/13/13: Governor Would have required assault weapon registration for any "off-list" guns you own, including bullet button OR featureless AR-15's, AK's, etc. Also would have required registration for any rifle with internal magazines over 10rds. The key was redefining "detachable magazine", as they do in 30515(d)(1).
VETOED Text SB567 Broaden the "Shotgun" definition 09/12/13: Governor Seems to have been targeted at the Taurus Circuit Judge revolving rifles, although it may have impacted others as well.
SIGNED Text SB683 Firearms card required for long gun purchases 9/12/13: Governor Replaces the Handgun Safety Card program with a Firearms Safety Card program, requiring a card for ownership of long guns as well.
VETOED Text SB755 Prohibited Persons Expansion 9/12/13: Governor Would have greatly increased the number of offenses for which you can lose your gun rights, including a complex webwork of DUI's. Also would have added an infraction offense for possession of ammunition while thusly prohibited.

My Analysis

This year is a particularly nasty uphill climb, given the Newtown shooting and the Aurora shooting. It touched off a lot of anti-gun legislative efforts across the nation, including here in California. Most of this legislation was hastily and carelessly written, and as a result, there's a lot of unintended consequences with these bills if passed. Hopefully Governor Brown will decide he shouldn't sign them.

AB48: Magazine Ban

This will run afoul of plenty of legal tradition, by requiring that we surrender lawfully owned property without any compensation whatsoever. This is likely to be the easiest one to get an injunction against.

However, if fully successful, it creates a new crime of possession of a large capacity magazine. "commencing July 1, 2014, any person in this state who possesses any large-capacity magazine, regardless of the date the magazine was acquired, is guilty". It also criminalizes the transfer, sale, etc of rebuild kits. I do not see anywhere in this law which rules that a rebuild kit is considered a magazine. Therefore, in the absence of learning otherwise, my personal course of action will be to disassemble any large capacity magazines I possess prior to July 1st 2014 and continue to hold onto them as rebuild kits, and not sell or otherwise transfer them. I can still use them out of state.

AB231: Children and Guns

Presently, if a child can get ahold of any of your guns and then commits a crime with it, you are guilty of a crime if you had reason to believe the child would be there. This means that children breaking into your house to steal your guns is not an issue, and if your friend comes over with his kid, as long as the kid stays away from your gun and doesn't break the law, you're fine.

Under this proposed law, you are guilty of a crime whenever you have reason to believe a child will be around your home outside of its parent or guardian's immediate supervision, the child is there outside of that supervision, and there's an unlocked and loaded gun the child could have gotten to anywhere in your house. I suggest that anyone without children of their own, from this time forward, refuse to allow children into their house due to this law. Otherwise, since "loaded" is a component of the crime, leave your chamber empty, with no magazine inserted (or an empty one).

SB374: Assault Weapon Ban

This law is a very inclusive assault weapon ban which will likely require the registration of all AR's, AK's, HK's, PS90's, FS2000's, Kriss Super V rifles, etc etc in California. They're effectively redefining detachable magazine to include fixed-magazine weapons, and ruling that any kind of detachable-magazine semi-auto centerfire weapon is an assault weapon. This will also ban all of the Ruger Mini-14's, Springfield M1A's, Kel-Tec SU-16's, etc. It will likely ban the SKS rifle as well. It will also require that you register any fixed-magazine pistols which have "evil features" attached, such as 1911's with threaded barrels and fixed magazines.

Now, the bad news for the politicians is that under this particular law, a registered assault weapon is a registered assault weapon, and is not required to keep the California compliance equipment installed on it. Also, assault weapons are exempt from the ban on 50 BMG rifles, sooo... why yes, I do indeed have a lot of AR-15's. And there'll be a lot of 50 BMG uppers coming into California if we have to register our AR's.

The personal impact on me will be that my PS90 rifle will get a lot more convenient to use, CA compliance hardware will be put into a handy little box, and I'll have a truly huge number of "evil guns" with collapsible stocks, detachable magazines, flash hiders, pistol grips, and the whole 9 yards. I predict a 'feeding frenzy' on AR and AK rifles as the December deadline draws near.

While registration will effectively convert your collection from a California-compliant "semi-neutered" gun, the bad news is that any new shooters, including your own children, will never be able to own anything even as capable as your CA-compliant off-list rifles. For that reason alone, this bill must be vigorously protested.

It would be interesting to find out what would happen if this bill passed, an assault weapon registration window was opened, we registered our guns, and then the law were overturned. If that happens, it's likely that existing shooters will keep their registered assault weapons in their "full evil glory", while new shooters are able to continue buying off-list rifles and keeping them CA-compliant.

-- SeanNewton - 13 Sep 2013

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Topic revision: r7 - 11 Oct 2013 - SeanNewton
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