BREAKING: Calif. SB 678 “Smart Gun” Bill Stalls in Appropriations Committee

Thanks to the efforts of thousands of dedicated gun owners who Took Action at FPC’s and your Firearms Policy Coalition Direct Advocacy Division, California Senate Bill 678 stalled in the Senate Committee on Appropriations earlier this afternoon. SB 678 was referred to the Committee’s “suspense file” due to the bill’s fiscal implications and committee rules.

If passed, SB 678 would mandate a new user-authorized “smart gun” exploratory committee headed by anti-gun California Attorney General Kamala Harris and her Department of Justice. It would also mandate that DOJ report back to the Legislature after it identified, among other things, “market conditions and the barriers to the market for user-authorized firearms in the state.”

In FPC’s letter of opposition filed on May 6, President Brandon Combs argued among other things that, “While SB 678 provides three express mandates….it fails to identify a single funding source. Accordingly, it must be assumed that the mandates in SB 678 would be paid for out of the State’s General Fund….In accordance with Senate Committee on Appropriations Rule 9 (“SUSPENSE FILE”), the Committee should refer SB 678 to the Suspense File.”

The California Department of Finance, which represents the Governor’s fiscal policy interests during the legislative process, agreed with FPC in its letter of opposition, stating that “[SB 678] would have unknown, likely significant costs to conduct research and analysis on the user-authorized firearm industry….Finance is opposed to this bill because it would result in significant General Fund costs not included in the Administration’s current fiscal plan.”

Firearms Policy Coalition believes that SB 678 is one step towards the Legislature creating a new handgun ban through a future amendment to the laws underpinning DOJ’s Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale, as it did with the addition of a “microstamping” requirement in 2008’s AB 1471 (Feuer).

“Today’s action to refer California Senate Bill 678 to the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ suspense file is good for California and good for law-abiding gun owners,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “However, SB 678 can still be passed out of the committee at a later date, so we urge all gun owners to stay on guard and be ready to respond to future actions on this bill.”

You can read the California Department of Finance opposition to SB 678 here.