Monday, October 10, 2011

Jerry Finally Makes Up His Mind

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) finally made up his mind on a slate of firearms-related bills that required either his signature or his veto. He did it on the last day that he could make a decision.  He signed four bills and vetoed one. As to the impact, the result is mixed for California gun owners.

Let's start with the veto. Brown vetoed SB 427 which would have forbidden mail order shipments of certain ammunition to California. In his veto message, he noted:
This measure would amend a recently enacted law concerning the sale and purchase of handgun ammunition. That law is currently being litigated.

Let's keep our powder dry on amendments until the court case runs its course.
Now to what he signed.

SB 610 amends the California carry application process in such a way as to require sheriffs to make the determination on whether the applicant shows "good cause" before the applicant has gone through the required training process. Thus, the applicant is saved the cost of going through training only to find out he or she is going to be denied for a carry permit. This was a CalGuns backed measure.

AB 144 is the bill that got most of the attention because it would outlaw unloaded open carry. It was introduced by Assemblyman Anthony Portatino (D-Pasadena). There had been a concerted effort by many gun groups to get Gov. Brown to veto this bill as it outlaws the only mode of carry available to most Californians. In that sense it is bad. However, signing this bill may in a counter-intuitive way be to our advantage especially when it comes to moving California forward to becoming a shall-issue state.

In Peruta v. San Diego, U.S. District Court Judge Irma Gonzalez cited the exceptions that would allow the plaintiff, Edward Peruta, to have armed self-defense outside the home. One of those exceptions under California law was unloaded open carry. Because of this, she felt justified in denying Mr. Peruta the ability to obtain a concealed carry permit. With Gov. Brown's signing AB 144, this exception is now removed. The case was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the foreclosing of this option could well have an impact upon the case.

AB 809 now requires the registration of long guns in California starting in 2014. Handguns are currently required to be registered and this bill sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-LA) extends it to all guns. In a signing statement attached to this bill, Gov. Brown noting that the state already requires a background check on all firearm purchases but only retains it with regard to handguns, said, "I see no reason why the state should not also retain information pertaining to the sales of long guns."

Finally, SB 819 sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) expands the use of the fee charged in the dealer record of sale (DROS) process. From the analysis of the bill provided by the legislature:
Provides that the Department of Justice (DOJ) may use dealer record of sale (DROS) funds for costs associated with its firearms-related regulatory and enforcement activities regarding the possession, as well as the sale, purchase, loan, or transfer, of firearms, as specified.
In essence, SB 819 changes the DROS fee into a tax because it will now be used for purposes beyond activities related to just the sale and transfer of a firearm. The fee is already being challenged in Federal court by the CRPA/NRA Legal Project in the case of Harris v. Bauer and this will only help the case.

California gun attorney Clint Montfort had this to say about the bills on the CalGuns forum. He is an associate with Chuck Michel in Michel & Associates.
The DROS bill will necessarily and immediately be challenged in the NRA's Harris v. Bauer case. If anyone doesn't understand the DROS issue or SB 819, I recommend reading the NRA's alert in that case on or reading the complaint in that case.

Everyone knows how AB 144 will be used agaist the other side in the current LTC cases (SAF/CGF & NRA/CRPAF).

SB 427 was vetoed as a result of the NRA's Parker v. CA case from last year that overturned AB 962 and is currently being appealed.

Obviously it certainly would have been nice if AB 809 wasn't signed. But at the end of the day, two of the three bills that were signed aren't the end of the world. They become part of litigation that was already set in motion. So while those cases are litigated, enjoy purchasing all of your ammo over the internet and in stores without leaving a thumbprint. Lets see how litigation plays out regarding long gun registration.

The pro 2A bill on his desk was signed.

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