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2001 New and Amended California Firearms Legislation

Effective January 1, 2002, the California Penal Code (PC) will include new as well as revised weapons code sections.  This bulletin provides a brief summary of these changes in law.  For more detailed language, you may contact the California State Capitol Legislative Bill Room at (916) 445-2323 to obtain copies of these bills (order by statute year and chapter number) or you may access the full text of these bills via the Internet at the Legislative Counsel's Bill Information website.

SB 9 (Stats. 2001, ch. 126) (Soto)

  • Effective January 1, 2002, raises the age of persons who are considered “children” for purposes of criminal storage of a firearm from a person under 16 years of age to a person under 18 years of age. Provides that a person who is guilty of criminal storage of a firearm shall be guilty of an additional misdemeanor and subject to a $5,000 fine if the child took the firearm to a school or specified school-sponsored activity (PC §§ 12035, 12036).
  • Effective January 1, 2002, makes changes to two of the warnings required to be posted by firearms dealers pursuant to Penal Code sections 12071(b)(7)(A) and 12071(b)(7)(B). The revised warnings, which must be in block letters of not less than one (1) inch, are as follows:

    YOU KEEP A LOADED FIREARM WITHIN ANY PREMISES UNDER YOUR CUSTODY OR CONTROL, AND A PERSON UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE OBTAINS IT AND USES IT, RESULTING IN INJURY OR DEATH, OR CARRIES IT TO A PUBLIC PLACE, YOU MAY BE GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR OR A FELONY UNLESS YOU STORED THE FIREARM IN A LOCKED CONTAINER OR LOCKED THE FIREARM WITH A LOCKING DEVICE, TO KEEP IT FROM TEMPORARILY FUNCTIONING.

    IF YOU KEEP A PISTOL, REVOLVER, OR OTHER FIREARM CAPABLE OF BEING CONCEALED UPON THE PERSON, WITHIN ANY PREMISES UNDER YOUR CUSTODY OR CONTROL, AND A PERSON UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE GAINS ACCESS TO THE FIREARM, AND CARRIES IT OFF-PREMISES, YOU MAY BE GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR, UNLESS YOU STORED THE FIREARM IN A LOCKED CONTAINER, OR LOCKED THE FIREARM WITH A LOCKING DEVICE, TO KEEP IT FROM TEMPORARILY FUNCTIONING.

  • Commencing January 1, 2002, revises PC section 12071(b)(7)(C) to require firearms dealers to post the following new sign in block letters of not less than one (1) inch:

    IF YOU KEEP ANY FIREARM WITHIN ANY PREMISES UNDER YOUR CUSTODY OR CONTROL, AND A PERSON UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE GAINS ACCESS TO THE FIREARM, AND CARRIES IT OFF-PREMISES TO A SCHOOL OR SCHOOL-SPONSORED EVENT, YOU MAY BE GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR, INCLUDING A FINE OF UP TO FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($5,000), UNLESS YOU STORED THE FIREARM IN A LOCKED CONTAINER, OR LOCKED THE FIREARM WITH A LOCKING DEVICE.

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SB 52 (Stats. 2001, ch. 942) (Scott)

  • Commencing January 1, 2002, adds a $5 safety and enforcement fee to the existing $14 Dealers Record of Sale fee and $1 firearm safety fee, for a total consumer DOJ fee of $20 per firearm transaction. Multiple handgun transactions to a single individual are subject to a $20 fee for the first handgun and a $16 fee for each additional handgun. Firearms dealers must post this new fee along with the other required governmental fees (PC § 12076.5).
  • Effective January 1, 2003, replaces the Basic Firearm Safety Certificate (BFSC) Program with the Handgun Safety Certificate (HSC) Program. To obtain an HSC, an applicant must be at least 18 years of age and pass a written test administered by a DOJ-certified instructor. The DOJ is required to produce HSC instructional materials in English and in Spanish. Once an HSC is issued by a DOJ-certified instructor, it is valid for five years. Test applicants will be subject to a DOJ fee of $15 and a instructor service fee of up to $10, for a total HSC fee not to exceed $25. Prior to January 1, 2003, the maximum BFSC fee is $20 (PC §§12800-12808).
  • Effective January 1, 2003, provides that no firearms dealer may deliver a handgun unless the recipient has a valid HSC or is exempt (pursuant to PC section 12807) from the HSC requirement. The firearms dealer is required to retain a photocopy of the handgun recipient’s HSC as proof of compliance. Any firearms dealer who fails to comply may by removed from the Centralized List of Firearms Dealers and punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in state prison, or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000). With specified exceptions, any loan of a handgun requires that the recipient has a valid HSC. Failure to comply is a misdemeanor (PC §§ 12072(c)(5)(B)).
  • Effective January 1, 2003, provides that no firearms dealer may deliver a handgun without first requiring the recipient of that handgun to correctly and properly perform a safe handling demonstration with that handgun. The firearms dealer is required to retain an affidavit signed by himself/herself and the handgun recipient as proof of compliance. Failure to comply may result in removal of the firearms dealer from the Centralized List of Firearms Dealers. Persons who are exempt from the HSC requirement are also exempt from the safety handling demonstration requirements (PC § 12071(b)(8)).
  • Effective January 1, 2003, requires each person taking delivery of a firearm from a firearms dealer to provide his/her right thumbprint on the Dealers Record of Sale form (PC § 12077).
  • Effective January 1, 2003, requires each firearms dealer delivering a handgun to obtain proof of residency from the handgun recipient. Satisfactory proof of residency may include a utility bill from within the three months prior to the delivery, a residential lease, a property deed, military permanent duty station orders indicating assignment within this state, or other evidence of residency as permitted by the DOJ. The firearms dealer is required to retain the residency documentation as proof of compliance. Failure to comply may result in removal of the firearms dealer from the Centralized List of Firearms Dealers (PC § 12071(b)(8)(C)).
  • Effective January 1, 2003, requires all firearms dealers to report all Dealers Record of Sale transactions electronically via computer. Telephone reporting will no longer be an option. The DOJ will provide necessary equipment to firearms dealers for electronic reporting. The firearm recipient’s identification number, name, and date of birth will be obtained by running the recipient’s identification card or driver’s license through a magnetic strip reader. Exceptions will be made for military identification cards (PC § 12077).

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SB 294 (Stats. 2001, ch. 138) (Scott)

  • Increases the annual DOJ Centralized List fee for firearms dealers from $85 to $115 commencing January 1, 2002. These monies will be used to increase the frequency of firearms dealer inspections from once every five years to approximately once every two years (PC § 12071).

SB 626 (Stats. 2001, ch. 937) (Perata)

  • Effective January 1, 2002, clarifies that large-capacity magazines may be manufactured for authorized purposes. Also clarifies that properly permitted persons may acquire large-capacity magazines for specified purposes, including export, resale to government agencies, and as props for movie, television, or video productions (PC § 12020).
  • Effective January 1, 2002, excludes from the definition of “large-capacity magazine,” tubular magazines contained in lever-action firearms. This change removes prohibitions against manufacturing, importing, selling, giving, lending, etc., many “old-west” style lever-action rifles (PC § 12020).
  • Effective January 1, 2002, allows specified law enforcement officers with the authorization of their employing agencies to retain and personally possess assault weapons that they have possessed or owned prior to January 1, 2002, provided they register those firearms as assault weapons with the DOJ on or before April 1, 2002. Also allows specified law enforcement officers with the authorization of their employing agencies to acquire assault weapons, providing they register them as assault weapons with the DOJ within 90 days of the date of acquisition. To sell assault weapons to law enforcement officers, the seller must possess a DOJ permit that specifically authorizes such sales. Firearms dealers interested in obtaining such permits will be required to submit a standard DOJ Assault Weapon Permit application and pay the $288 application fee. Because the dangerous weapons permit application process can take several months, firearms dealers may also seek a Temporary Assault Weapon Permit in order to attain a provisional sales authorization via submission of a written request for a temporary permit with their standard Assault Weapon Permit application package. Approved Temporary Assault Weapon Permits will be issued approximately two weeks after the completed application is received by the DOJ. For details regarding the application process and to obtain an application, contact the Bureau of Firearms Licensing and Permit Unit at (916) 227-3694 (PC § 12280).

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SB 950 (Stats. 2001, ch. 944) (Brulte)

  • Requires the DOJ to develop and implement the “Armed Prohibited Persons File,” to identify persons who have assault weapons or other firearms on or after January 1, 1991, as indicated by the DOJ Automated Firearms System, and who fall within a class that is prohibited from possessing firearms. The information in this database will be accessible solely by specified law enforcement agencies (PC §§ 12010-12012).
  • Effective January 1, 2002, requires any firearms dealer notified by the DOJ that a person may not own or possess a firearm to provide him/her with a DOJ prohibition notice and transfer form. The notice shall state that the person is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, and that he/she may obtain from the DOJ the reason for prohibition. The notice shall include a form to facilitate the transfer of any firearms that the prohibited person owns or possesses. The DOJ will provide the required notices and forms to firearms dealers (PC § 12021).
  • Effective January 1, 2002, requires any court imposing a sentence that renders a defendant ineligible to own or possess a firearm to provide that defendant with a DOJ notice informing him/her of such prohibition. The notice shall include a form to facilitate the transfer of any firearms that the defendant owns or possesses. The DOJ will provide the required notices and forms to the courts (PC § 12071).

AB 106 (stats. 1999, ch. 246) (Scott/Aroner)(1999 bill - Included due to Provisions Operative 1/1/2002)

  • Commencing January 1, 2002, requires all firearms sold, transferred, or manufactured in California to include a firearm safety device approved by the Attorney General. Specified transactions (including antique firearms, law enforcement firearms, and transactions involving a prior purchase of an approved safety device or qualifying gun safe) are exempt from this requirement. The DOJ has certified laboratories to test firearms safety devices for compliance with DOJ standards. The DOJ maintains a roster that lists all of the tested safety devices that comply with DOJ standards for sale in this state. Interested parties may request a copy of the roster from the DOJ or access it on the DOJ website at http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/fsdcertlist (PC § 12088.1).

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