SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he has signed two bills into law that are intended to tighten controls on gun sales and keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and people who have been confined due to mental health issues.
One bill, AB1964, addresses semi-automatic handguns, which can only be sold in the state if they meet safety standards that include not discharging when dropped and exhibit a warning sign when a bullet is in the gun’s chamber before it is fired.
An increasing number of people have tried to circumvent those standards by converting the handguns into single-shot weapons, which are currently exempt from such standards, then changing them back to semi-automatics when a sale is complete.
The bill by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson ends that exemption.
Before 2009, Dickinson, D-Sacramento, said no more than 1,100 sales were reported in any year of single-shot handguns. The increase in sales started in 2010, when several new handgun safety standards were added to state law. Last year alone, more than 18,000 were purchased in California.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said in a statement that dealers who sold the single-shot weapons to skirt state law were putting profits over the safety of Californians.
Brown also approved AB1591, which speeds up how quickly courts must notify the state Department of Justice when determining that someone can no longer legally own a firearm in California because of a criminal violation or mental health commitment.
The bill by Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, shortens the requirement from two days to one. It was prompted by a state audit that found that many courts took too long or did not submit the required reports at all.
“Especially in light of recent tragedies, any delay in reporting persons who are prohibited by law from owning guns is unacceptable,” Achadjian said in a statement.
Both laws take effect Jan. 1.
The bills are among several introduced by lawmakers in response to recent gun violence, including a deadly rampage in May near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in which Elliot Rodger killed six university students and himself.