September 2022 Legislation/Litigation Update
September Focus— U.S. House Resolution 8741, Firearm Industry Fairness Act
The Firearm Industry Fairness Act would tax firearm manufacturers that produce semiautomatic firearms or high-capacity magazines at a rate of 20% on all revenue—not just the revenue from the sales of those specific products.
The bill would use the tax revenue derived from these manufacturers to fund Community Violence Intervention programs to reduce gun violence and help victims. Federal tax rates on firearms have not been updated in over 50 years.
From the bill author, representative Carolyn B. Malony (D, NY-12): “Currently, AR-15s are taxed at the same rate as an ordinary hunting rifle, even though they are far more dangerous and are the weapon of choice for mass shooters.”
Note that as an appropriations bill, the filibuster rules do not apply, and this bill needs only a simple majority to pass the U.S. Senate. Currently in House Ways and Means Committee.
Senate Bill 1384 Firearms: dealer requirements.
This law will require the firearms dealer to carry a policy of general liability insurance, as specified. This law will require a firearms dealer to have an extensive video surveillance system and maintain recordings for a minimum of one year. Takes effect January 1, 2024. PASSED by the Senate 5/14. Passed by the Assembly 8/23. Awaiting the governor’s signature.
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. Passed by the Assembly and ordered to the Senate. Amended and passed in the Senate 6/28. Passed by the assembly 8/23. Effective July 1, 2023. Awaiting the governor’s signature.
Assembly Bill 1227 Firearms and ammunition: excise tax.
This bill, the Gun Violence Prevention, Healing, and Recovery Act, would, commencing July 1, 2023, impose an excise tax in the amount of 10% of the sales price of a handgun and 11% of the sales price of a long gun, rifle, firearm precursor part, and ammunition, as specified. The tax would be collected by the state pursuant to the Fee Collection Procedures Law. The bill would require that the revenues collected be deposited in the Gun Violence Prevention, Healing, and Recovery Fund, which the bill would establish in the State Treasury. Passed in the Assembly. Was not passed by the Senate by the end of the session.
Senate Bill 505, as amended, Civil law: firearms liability and insurance.
This bill would, commencing on January 1, 2024, make a person who owns a firearm strictly civilly liable for each incidence of property damage, bodily injury, or death resulting from the use of their firearm. This bill would provide that strict liability does not apply if the owner of the firearm has reported their firearm to local law enforcement as lost or stolen prior to the damage, injury, or death. The bill would additionally require a person who owns a firearm to obtain and continuously maintain in full force and effect a homeowner’s, renter’s, auto, or gun liability insurance policy specifically covering losses or damages resulting from any negligent or accidental use of that firearm, including, but not limited to, death, injury, or property damage. This bill would require a person to keep written evidence of coverage in the place where a firearm is stored. By creating new requirements for firearm owners, violations of which would be punishable as misdemeanors, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would also require the Insurance Commissioner to develop a standardized form of evidence of liability coverage. Passed in the Senate. Was not passed by the Assembly by the end of the session.
Senate Bill 918 Firearms
This bill has wide-ranging changes for firearms laws in California, including changing and new requirements for CCW holders.
It removes “Good Cause” and “Good Character” requirements for CCW. Under the bill, the applicant would not be a qualified person if they have engaged in a threat of violence, act of violence, or used unlawful physical force against another person or themselves, as specified.
This bill would add the requirement that the applicant be the recorded owner, with the Department of Justice, of the pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
This bill would change the training requirement to be no less than 16 hours in length and would add additional subjects to the course including, among other things, the safe storage and legal transportation of firearms.
This bill would authorize a licensing authority to charge additional processing fees for a license renewal and would permit the licensing authority to collect the first 50% of the fee upon filing of the application. The bill also removes the prohibition on licensing authority requirements for additional fees or liability insurance.
Existing law authorizes a licensing authority to require psychological testing for a new license or a license renewal. Under existing law, an applicant may be required to pay the actual cost of testing, not to exceed $150. This bill would increase the amount that an applicant may be required to pay to $200 and would allow that amount to be increased by the California cost of living, as specified.
Existing law prohibits a person from knowingly possessing a firearm in a sterile area of an airport, passenger vessel terminal, or public transit facility, as defined. This bill would expand that prohibition to include any building, real property, or parking area under the control of an airport or passenger vessel terminal or a public transit facility, as specified.
While carrying a firearm, this bill would prohibit a licensee from, among other things, consuming an alcoholic beverage or controlled substance.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute. Passed in the Assembly, amended in the Senate, and currently at the Senate Committee on Appropriations. August 30, failed on the assembly floor by one vote. August 31, failed again by one vote. The author of this bill has said it will be re-introduced at the earliest opportunity.
Note, to find current, reliable information on any bill before the California legislature you can go to: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/home.xhtml
Campos v Bonta is a suit challenging the DOJ extending the period for completing background check for firearms purchases. The DOJ has been taking more than 10 days to process without appropriate justification. The trial court ruled that the state could only extend the period for specific reasons, as listed in the statute.
Boland v Bonta is a new lawsuit challenging the California “Not-Unsafe” handgun roster. This case is still awaiting scheduling by the court.
Rupp v Bonta, a challenge to the California Assault Weapon Bans, had been pending the Bruen decision. This case has been remanded back to the trial court.
Miller v Bonta, a challenge to the California Assault Weapon Bans, has been pending the Bruen decision. Now that the decision has been received a petition was filed to certify the trial court ruling and dismiss the appeals. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated the ruling and remanded the case back to the trial court. Judge Benitez ordered both sides to file briefs regarding the case in light of the Bruen decision.
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. The certiorari petition was granted, the Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit En Banc judgement, and remanded the case back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen. Judge Benitez ordered both sides to file briefs regarding the case in light of the Bruen decision.
Young v Hawaii challenges the state of Hawaii carry restrictions. The certiorari petition was granted, the Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit judgement, and remanded the case back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen. The Ninth Circuit remanded the case back to the trial court.
Bianchi v Frosh challenges the Maryland ban on “assault weapons”. The certiorari petition was granted, the Supreme Court vacated the Fourth Circuit judgement, and remanded the case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen.
Jones v Bonta: A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the California age-based centerfire semi-automatic rifle 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. Response from Attorney General Bonta’s petition for an extension of time to file a petition for Rehearing and/or Rehearing En Banc was granted 5/18.
Doe v Bonta is a lawsuit filed by the NRA to block the release of gun owner’s personal information to UC Davis and other, unspecified, “research organizations” due to SB 173. Information has already been given to UC Davis and accidentally released to the public. The honorable Larry Alan Burns, the United States District Court Judge hearing the case, has ordered supplemental briefs regarding the effects of NYSRPA v Bruen on the standard to be used in deciding this case.
Renna v Bonta on the California handgun roster has been referred back to the trial court for rehearing. Currently calendared for March of 2023.