A Breakdown of New Gun Laws

Aaron Read and Randy Perry

Legislative Advocates
Aaron Read & Associates, LLC


On June 30, the Legislature sent a series of firearm-related bills to the Governor’s desk. Much of the package was a reaction to the recent massacre in Orlando. The Legislature used the “gut and amend” process, in which the current language of an existing bill is completely removed and the author then amends in new language. Within a day or two, a series of hearings were held on the fresh legislation. The urgency in moving the bills to the Governor’s desk for signature all within three days was partly related to the ballot measure that has been qualified for November by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, relating to the sales of ammunition in California. June 30 was the deadline for the Lieutenant Governor to withdraw his initiative, should he decide to not move forward due to the flurry of firearms bills passed by the Legislature. The Legislature was hopeful that its push would keep the initiative off the ballot; however, Newsom didn’t blink and committed to continuing
his effort.

PORAC met several times with the Senate leader’s office regarding concerns about draft language we had received. PORAC was successful in getting amendments to the bills relating to ammunition sales (SB 1235) and magazine capacity (SB 1446), including language exempting both active and retired law enforcement officers.

Eleven bills were sent to the Governor. He signed six, making them law. “My goal in signing all these bills is to enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner, while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” the Governor said in an official statement. Here are the signed bills and the impact they will have on gun owners throughout California.

AB 1135 by Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-Marin County)

Firearms: assault weapons: This bill redefines “assault weapon” to include a firearm with a detachable magazine that can be removed readily with the use of a tool. The bill requires owners of these newly defined “assault weapons” to register their firearms online with the DOJ prior to January 1, 2017. There will be a fee of no more than $15 to register each firearm.

AB 1511 by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles)

Firearms: lending: This bill specifies that the infrequent loan of a firearm may only be made to family members. “Family” is defined as spouses/registered domestic partners, parents, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, whether related by blood, adoption or a step-relation. Under current law, an “infrequent loan” for handguns is defined as “less than six transactions per calendar year.” An infrequent loan for firearms other than handguns is defined as “occasional and without regularity.”

AB 1695 by Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Alameda)

Firearms: false reports of stolen firearms: This bill expands the existing misdemeanor of making a false report to law enforcement to include reports that a firearm has been lost or stolen. It institutes a 10-year ban on owning a firearm for those convicted of making a false report.

SB 880 by Senator Isadore Hall III (D-Compton)

Firearms: assault weapons: This bill has the same language as AB 1135.

SB 1235 by Senator Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles)

Ammunition: This bill creates a new regulatory framework for the purchase and sale of ammunition in California, mandating that all ammunition must be purchased through an “ammunition vendor” and requiring that all persons purchasing ammunition from an ammunition vendor be cleared through the Department of Justice Automated Firearm System (AFS). It states that all active and retired peace officers are not subject to the ammunition purchase requirements.

SB 1446 by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley)

Firearms: magazine capacity: This bill prohibits the possession of large-capacity magazines (more than 10 rounds), making it an infraction, commencing July 1, 2017, for any person to possess a large-capacity magazine. The infraction will be punishable by a fine of $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second and $500 for the third or subsequent. The law requires a person who legally possesses a large-capacity magazine to dispose of that magazine prior to July 1, 2017, by removing it from the state, selling it to a licensed firearms dealer, destroying it or surrendering it to a law enforcement agency for destruction. This bill exempts all active and retired peace officers.


Governor Brown flummoxed some supporters and critics alike when he also vetoed the following bills. They will not be made into law this year:

  • AB 1176 by Assembly Member Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) — Theft: firearms
  • AB 1673 by Assembly Member Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) — Firearms: unfinished frame or receiver
  • AB 1674 by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) — Firearms: transfers
  • AB 2607 by Assembly Member Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) — Firearm restraining orders
  • SB 894 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) — Firearms: lost or stolen: reports