California has had a long history of gun laws, including many acts of legislation in the last five years. The new gun laws in California cover a wide range of topics related to guns. Whether you own a gun or you are involved in sales, you need to keep up to date on the ever-changing legal landscape in CA. Your freedom may depend on it.
Get familiar with California gun laws in 2021 and what you can (and can’t) do with your gun.
SB 172 – Sale and Storage of Firearms
SB 172 modifies firearms sales and storage practices. Previous laws mandated that all firearm loans be conducted by a licensed dealer. However, this bill would authorize the temporary transfer of a firearm without a firearms dealer’s participation to a person who is 18 years of age or older for safekeeping to prevent it from being used to attempt suicide.
The law makes it illegal to store an unloaded firearm around children. A person can go to jail for up to 10 years for violating this new rule.
Elderly care and community care facilities can have firearms on their premises. But SB 272 requires central storage of these weapons in a locked safe. The manager of the facility can face criminal charges if they do not adhere to this new requirement.
AB 339 – Restraining Orders
AB 339 was passed in October 2019. It took effect on January 1, 2021.
Previous laws gave law enforcement officers the ability to issue a temporary restraining order. This kept a person from having a gun if they posed a threat to themselves or others.
AB 339 requires law enforcement agencies to develop written policies for gun violence restraining orders. These policies must consider responses to domestic violence and suicidal thoughts.
AB 61 – Gun Violence Restraining Orders
AB 61 also modifies the laws related to gun violence restraining orders. It expands the people who can require an order. Employers, coworkers, and school workers can file for one if an individual poses a threat.
They can apply for several different orders. A judge can grant an ex parte order if they believe a person poses an immediate threat.
They can also apply for a renewed order if a previous order is due to expire. The ex parte or renewed order lasts for one year.
AB 645 – Safety Messaging
AB 645 was signed into law in October 2019. It took effect on June 1, 2020, which many gun owners and dealers are unaware of.
Prior to AB 645, every firearm dealer had to post a message about firearms safety in their dealership. That message now must include a statement about suicide prevention.
The new statement reads as follows: “If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).” The dealer can add this statement to the bottom of their previous message.
AB 645 also modifies the written test for firearm safety certificates. The test now includes a section on suicide prevention.
SB 61 – Buying Multiple Guns
SB 61 was previously signed into law by the governor in October 2019. It comes into effect on July 1, 2021, so it’s important to know.
Previous firearm laws in California prohibited people from making multiple applications to purchase a handgun within thirty days. SB 61 adds semiautomatic rifles to that prohibition. A person cannot apply for multiple rifles within thirty days, and a dealer cannot deliver a second gun to them.
SB 61 also amends laws for selling guns to people under the age of 21. No dealer can sell a semiautomatic centerfire rifle to someone younger than 21.
AB 893 – Del Mar Gun Show
AB 893 took effect on January 1, 2021. Dealers and private individuals can no longer sell guns at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County.
The Del Mar Fairgrounds Board has previously voted to ban recreational gun shows at the fairgrounds. Gun shows can take place on the grounds if done for education and safety training.
AB 2847 – Microstamping
AB 2847 was passed on September 29, 2020. It takes effect in July 2022, but gun owners and dealers should start to act according to the law. This will make the transition process easier.
Previous California gun laws established a definition for “an unsafe handgun.” One factor involved a microstamp.
A microstamp is a digital engraving on the tip of a gun’s firing pin. When the gun is fired, the pin strikes the bullet and transfers the etchings onto it. This makes it easier to trace bullets back to a specific gun.
AB 2847 requires manufacturers to imprint a microstamp inside the gun. When the Department of Justice buys a new gun with a stamp, they must remove three guns without a stamp. It is also against the law to sell a gun without one.
AB 879 – Precursor Parts
AB 879 was passed in October 2019. It has several provisions, each of which commences at a different time.
Previous California firearm laws regulated ammunition and gun parts. A dealer could sell ammunition to someone with an entry in the Automated Firearms System. Dealers had to carry vendor licenses if they wanted to sell more than 500 rounds within thirty days.
Starting on July 1, 2024, the sale of firearm precursor parts must go through a licensed vendor. Anyone who is a licensed firearm or ammunition vendor automatically becomes a licensed precursor part vendor.
Precursor parts include unfinished receivers and unfinished handgun frames. Some people use these parts to make illegal and unlicensed weapons called “ghost guns.”
Starting on July 1, 2025, the Department of Justice must approve the purchase of precursor parts through vendors. A buyer must have an entry in the Automated Firearms System. The Department will check for this entry and block a sale if one is not there.
On the same day, vendors must supply the Department with a list of sales. The Department must keep those records. They can charge a transaction fee for a sale, which goes toward the Department’s efforts to regulate handguns.
It is a misdemeanor to sell or give possession of a precursor part to someone under 21. It is also a misdemeanor to bring a part into the state without permission.
AB 876 was proposed in February of this year. It modifies microstamping laws, making them more restrictive.
It requires all handguns that law enforcement officers use to have stamps. These guns must also be registered into the Automated Firearms System.
The proposed SB 715 can impact several different provisions related to firearms. It allows a minor older than 16 with a hunting license to have a firearm for a short period of time. It also defines what a valid hunting license is.
AB 1223 would impose an excise tax of 25 dollars on every firearm sold in the state. This money would go toward the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program.
AB 311 modifies sales at gun shows. It prevents vendors from displaying or possessing firearm precursor parts. Prosecutors can charge vendors with misdemeanors, which can amount to a 2,000 dollar fine.
SB 320 controls how people subject to a protective order own and carry firearms. Courts that are considering a protective order must consider whether the restrained person has a weapon. They must make a written record documenting if they do and how they will give it up.
What to Do Now
Keep in mind that California state crimes are separate from federal crimes. Congress is proposing new legislation that can come into effect. Follow the state and national news so you don’t run into trouble unwittingly.
Every gun owner should adopt common sense storage techniques. They should have a gun safe that only they know the combination for. They should keep children away from the safe.
If you want to shoot with your child, educate them on firearm safety. Tell them why they shouldn’t play with a gun. Never keep your eyes off of them while they are holding a gun.
If you are subject to a protective order, you should relinquish your firearm immediately. Find an attorney and work out the best way to do so.
Buy weapons one at a time. Make sure you have storage space to contain your weapons and ammunition.
Dealers should be careful when selling guns and ammunition. They should check to see if a person can own a firearm. If they are ever uncertain, they should refuse sales.
If you are arrested for a firearms offense, do not panic. Invoke your right to remain silent, and then contact an attorney.
Get Help With New Gun Laws in California
New gun laws in California tackle a wide range of topics. Owners must store their guns away from children, even if they are unloaded. More people can file for protective orders.
You cannot sell a precursor part unless you have a license. Proposed legislation imposes taxes on all sales.
Be careful when handling guns around children and selling firearms. Buy your weapons one at a time to avoid violating new laws.
Turn to an attorney with experience in firearms law. David Silldorf Law is San Diego’s leading criminal defense firm on firearms. Contact us today.