Portantino Introduces Bill Requiring Annual Registration of Firearms

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Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) introduced SB 1160 today, a measure that would require gun owners to annually register their firearms with the California Department of Justice.

“SB 1160 will give the state better data and help us understand how many firearms are in private hands and who owns them,” stated Senator Portantino. “Currently, we only have rough estimates on how many firearms are in California. This important step toward registration will also increase accountability and responsible gun ownership as we collectively endeavor to increase public safety.”

SB 1160 would require every firearm in the state to be annually registered with the Department of Justice. An annual fee would be deposited into a special fund for the purpose of carrying out the administration and enforcement of the firearm registry. The bill would require the department to establish and maintain a system for the annual registration of firearms and make the registration information available to other law enforcement agencies. SB 1160 also requires that reasonable efforts be made to notify firearms dealers, owners, and the public about registration requirements.  

Under SB 1160, registration will not be deemed as evidence that the firearm is lawfully permitted or that the registrant is the lawful owner of the firearm. The measure will prohibit the possession of an unregistered firearm, a violation that would be punishable as an infraction.

“This statue, which requires gun owners to register each firearm annually, is an important tool to remind all citizens of the civic responsibility that comes with owning a firearm. Indeed, the historic roots for this statue trace back to colonial America and serve as a reminder that with ownership comes responsibility,” stated Attorney Brian Hennigan and Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levenson, who both suggested the bill idea to the Senator.

Senator Portantino has long been a champion of common-sense gun reform policies. During his time in the Assembly, he successfully authorized local governments to prohibit the open carry of handguns and rifles in certain areas and as Senator, he raised the firearm purchase age in California to twenty-one. The Senator has authored legislation related to firearms storage and gun purchase safeguards, as well as a legislation that reduces the number of firearms an unlicensed individual is annually able to sell and the frequency with which they are able to sell. Most recently, he authored legislation aimed at preventing tragic school shootings and a major gun reform measure that offers a new tool to combat the rise in gun violence and save lives – a private right of action. Last year, he partnered with Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta to enact SB 2, which implements significant improvements to strengthen California’s existing concealed-carry weapon (CCW) laws.

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