Mendoza Bill to Reduce Risk of Gun Violence Headed to Governor Brown

August 25, 2016

Sacramento – The State Senate today gave final legislative approval to SB 1332, authored by Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). The bill will ensure that when a gun owner leaves his or her property, they may loan their firearm to an individual, as long as it is stored in a safe and secure manner. It also allows joint registration of firearms by spouses and domestic partners. The bill now goes to Governor Brown for his consideration.

“Gun violence continues to be a serious problem in communities across the state and nation. It is important we do everything necessary to close gun loopholes and strengthen gun laws,” said Senator Tony Mendoza. “SB 1332 does both.”

“SB 1332 keeps guns out of the wrong hands by establishing a safe-keeping program for when a gun owner leaves his or her property for a period of time.” said Senator Tony Mendoza.

“Establishing a joint registration process will certify that married couples can legally own, loan, and use a registered firearm,” added Senator Mendoza.  “This practice already occurs in California in certain cases, so SB 1332 will bring consistency to the law.”

 According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), about 1.4 million firearms were stolen during household burglaries and other property crimes between 2005 and 2010. A 2010 audit conducted by the San Jose Police Department reported that around 300 of its firearms could not be accounted for, some of which may have been stolen from officers’ homes. Graham Barlowe, Agent of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Sacramento Office, stated that “In this day and age of technology, most of the electronics don’t really have any value at all… the firearms do. Even an old firearm is still valuable” (NBC Bay Area, 2015). Although reports vary, stolen guns may account for roughly 15% of guns used in crimes, thus it is essential that a safekeeping program is available to store a firearm properly when a gun owner leaves their property.

In 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there were a total of 33,599 firearm deaths in the United States, 10,945 of which were homicides. In California specifically, there were 2,942 firearm deaths and 1,813 homicides. In 2015, there were approximately 278 unintentional shootings by children aged 17 and under in the United States, resulting in 88 deaths.

“Unfortunately, many firearms are stolen every year during household burglaries because they are not safely and securely stored. These firearms are  involved in thousands of shootings,” said Senator Tony Mendoza.

“My hope is that SB 1332 is one small step to help prevent firearm thefts and tragedies,” added Mendoza.

Current law generally requires that all gun sales, loans and transfers must be processed through a state-licensed firearms dealer or local law enforcement agency, with certain exceptions. Before a prospective owner or recipient of a loaned firearm can take possession, they must go through a California Department of Justice (DOJ) background check, obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate by passing a written exam, and register the weapon in the Centralized Registry kept by DOJ. In addition, the prospective firearm owner or recipient of a loaned firearm must wait for a period of ten days, what is sometimes referred to as a “cooling-off” period, before taking possession of the weapon.

The process ensures that the prospective firearm owner and firearm loan recipient are not prohibited from possessing a weapon due to a felony or misdemeanor conviction or found by a court to be mentally ill, among other reasons. A list of all the prohibitions on firearm ownership may be found here.

SB 1332 will strengthen the exceptions requiring the use of a state-licensed dealer and the undergoing of a background check when taking possession of a firearm between private parties who are personally known to each other, such as a family member or a friend, if the loan does not exceed 30 days.

SB 1332 would:

  • Allow an exception to the requirement of using a state-licensed firearms dealer to permit a gun owner to lend a firearm to an individual while the individual remains at the lender’s home or property, if certain conditions are met.
  • Allow an exception for safekeeping or storage purposes when a firearm is maintained locked or inoperable, for a period not to exceed 30 days.
  • Require the DOJ to modify its registration form so that both spouses and domestic partners may register as the owners of a firearm. Joint spousal firearm registration exists in Hawaii, Maryland and New York.

Senator Tony Mendoza, a Los Angeles native and former elementary school teacher in East Los Angeles, represents the 32nd Senate District encompassing portions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. For more information about Senator Mendoza visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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