May 2022 Legislation/Litigation Update
Focus for May:
AB-1227, An act to add Section 25402.14 to the Public Resources Code, relating to energy. Part 16 (commencing with Section 36001) to Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to firearms, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.
This bill was introduced, allegedly, to amend the building codes to “save energy” by having more reflective roofs, thereby reducing A/C power consumption during the summer.
It was gutted and replaced with language implementing a tax on firearms, precursor parts and ammunition. In California as long as they keep the bill number the legislature can amend everything else and not have to start the process over.
This bill was amended to impose an excise tax of 10% on handguns and 11% on long guns, precursor parts, and ammunition, to begin July 1, 2023. This tax will be in addition to any other tax or fee imposed by the state, county, or city. It is patterned after the Pittman-Robertson Act federal excise tax which is already in place. The bill states that the Pittman-Robertson Act has been called a good thing by the NRA and National Shooting Sports Foundation because of the positive conservation use of the moneys raised. The money from the excise tax imposed by this bill “shall be deposited in the Gun Violence Prevention, Healing, and Recovery Fund, established pursuant to Section 36005.”
Note that color and emphasis was copied from the actual bill. The wording pasted into AB-1227 is the entirety of “AB-1223, Firearms and ammunition: excise tax”. That bill was introduced in February of 2021 and did not advance past the committee stage.
Senate Bill 906: School safety: mass casualty threats: firearm disclosure
This bill would require the parents or guardians of a pupil to disclose whether any firearms are located at the home of the pupil and to answer questions about the ownership, storage, and accessibility by the pupil of the firearms.
This bill was introduced and read the first time on 2 February, 2022. It has been fast-tracked to the Senate Education and Public Safety committees. Failed in Education committee on first vote, but reconsideration was granted. April 7, from committee with author’s amendments. Read second time and re-referred to committee on Education. The Senate Education Committee voted five to one on April 25 to recommend a “do pass” and re-referred to the Senate Public Safety Committee. At an Appropriations Committee hearing on May 9 this bill was placed in the Suspense file.
Senate Bill 915 Firearms: state property
Since the “no gun shows on state property” bill last session was eventually amended to only apply to Orange County, this is a new one to again try to make the ban statewide. This bill has been fast-tracked to the Senate Education and Public Safety committees. A hearing was held March 8 in the Public Safety Committee, who voted 4 to 1 to forward with a “do pass” recommendation and referred to the Appropriations committee. April 4, heard before the Appropriations committee and placed in suspense file.
Assembly Bill 311 Firearms: Del Mar Fairgrounds
Prohibit guns shows and sale of firearms, ammunition, and firearm precursor parts at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Passed by the Assembly and referred to the Senate. Currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense file.
Assembly Bill 2552 Firearms: gun shows and events
This bill increases signage requirements for gun show organizers, increases paperwork for gun show vendors, and bans the sale of black powder, unfinished receivers, unfinished frames, and conversion kits designed to convert a handgun into a short barreled rifle or assault weapon at gun shows. Vendors also will be prohibited from inciting or encouraging hate crimes. Amended and recommended “do pass” from Public Safety Committee. Referred to Appropriations Committee and currently is in that committee’s Suspense file.
Assembly Bill 1769 Firearms: prohibited places
This bill would prohibit the sale of firearms, firearm precursor parts, and ammunition at the Ventura County Fair and Events Center. Referred to the Public Safety Committee. Moved from the Public Safety Committee with “do pass” and referred to Appropriations Committee. Appropriations Committee had their first hearing and referred the bill to the suspense file.
Senate Bill 1327 Firearms: private rights of action
This bill would create a private right of action for any person against any person who, within this state, manufactures or causes to be manufactured, distributes, transports, or imports into the state, or causes to be distributed or transported or imported into the state, keeps for sale or offers or exposes for sale, or gives or lends any firearm lacking a serial number required by law, assault weapon, .50 BMG rifle, or firearm precursor part, subject to certain exceptions, as specified. This bill was introduced in the Senate February 18, and fast-tracked the same day. Referred to committees on Judiciary, Public Safety, and Appropriations. Moved from Judiciary Committee with “do pass”. Passed on with a “do pass” recommendation by the Public Safety Committee on April 26. Referred to the Appropriations committee and is currently in that committee’s Suspense file.
AB-1594 Firearms: civil suits.
Existing law defines a public nuisance and provides that a public nuisance may be remedied by an indictment or information, a civil action, or abatement. Existing law also regulates the manufacture, sale, and marketing of firearms. This bill would specify that a gun industry member has created or maintained a public nuisance, as defined, if their failure to follow federal, state, or local law caused injury or death or if the gun industry member engaged in unfair business practices. Referred to the Judiciary Committee. Amended and moved from Judiciary Committee with a “do pass” and re-referred to Appropriations Committee, where it currently sits in that committee’s suspense file.
Senate Bill 1386 Firearms: concealed carry licenses
Existing law authorizes the sheriff of a county, or the chief or other head of a municipal police department, if good cause exists for the issuance, and subject to certain other criteria, to issue a license to carry a concealed handgun or to carry a loaded and exposed handgun, as specified.
This bill would instead require the sheriff of a county, or the chief or other head of a municipal police department, if good cause exists for the issuance, and subject to certain other criteria, to issue a license to carry a concealed handgun or to carry a loaded and exposed handgun.
Introduced by Senator Melendez on February 18, and fast-tracked the same day. Referred to the Public Safety Committee and set for hearing April 5, but hearing was cancelled at the request of the author.
Note, to find current and reliable information on any bill before the California legislature you can go to: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/home.xhtml
Jones v Bonta: Today (May 11) a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the California age-based firearm purchase ban is unconstitutional and that “the district court erred in not enjoining an almost total ban on semiautomatic centerfire rifles” for young adults. The opinion states that the District Court erred in applying intermediate scrutiny and not strict scrutiny. Details next month.
Duncan v Bonta: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals En Banc panel has overturned the district court ruling that found the California “Large Capacity Magazine” ban unconstitutional. The lawsuit challenges the ban of possession of large capacity magazines that was approved by California voters in Prop 63. Enforcement of the ban was stayed, pending disposition of a petition for certiorari filed with the Supreme Court.
Renna v Bonta on the California handgun roster is being considered for certiorari by the Supreme Court. Four justices are needed for the court to hear a case.
Bianchi v Frosh has been appealed to the Supreme Court and will also be considered. This suit challenges the Maryland ban on “assault weapons”. This case has also been distributed for review to the justices and will be considered for certiorari.
Doe v Bonta is a new lawsuit filed by the NRA to block the release of gun owner’s personal information to UC Davis and other, unspecified, “research organizations”. Information has already been given to UC Davis.