Gov. Jerry Brown signs a pair of gun bills

Gov. Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown, shown in Los Angeles on July 11, signed two gun-related bills into law Friday.

(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown signed two gun-related measures into law Friday, including one bill to make single-shot pistols subject to the state’s handgun safety requirements.

Most guns sold in California must comply with the state’s safe handgun requirements -- including having certain safety devices or meeting specified firing tests -- but the law had exempted handguns that hold a single bullet.

Gun control groups say semiautomatic handguns, which are subject to safety requirements, can temporarily be configured as single-shot pistols and then changed back. They advocated for Assemblyman Roger Dickinson’s (D-Sacramento) measure to close the exemption for single-shot handguns.

“Gun dealers in California have been skirting the law and selling handguns without child safety features, putting profits over the safety of Californians,” said Nick and Amanda Wilcox, legislation and policy chairs of the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “We applaud Gov. Brown and the California Legislature for taking action to make new handguns sold in the state safer.”


The California Assn. of Federal Firearms Licensees opposed the measure. In a letter to Brown last week, the group’s president, Brandon Combs, said the “clear intent” of the bill, AB 1964, is to “eliminate even more firearms in common use for lawful purposes from the non-peace officer (i.e., ‘regular person’) marketplace.”

Also on Friday, Brown signed a measure to speed up communication between the courts and the state Department of Justice when a person is deemed to be prohibited from possessing a gun.

The bill, by Assemblyman K.H. “Katcho” Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo), requires courts to report to the state Justice Department within one business day when a person becomes barred from having a firearm, either due to certain felony or misdemeanor convictions or for mental health reasons. 

The measure was prompted by a 2013 state auditor report that found that the Department of Justice was not receiving prompt notification from the courts when a person became barred from possessing a gun. 


The bill, AB 1591, also requires courts to notify the department within one business day when a person is no longer subject to that prohibition.

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.

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