A bill introduced on March 15 re-categorizes the crime of failing to file firearms transfer papers, making a failure to file punishable at any point during one’s lifetime.
Current law requires that all firearm transfers be reported to the California Department of Justice via a mail-in form announcing that the gun has changed hands. The Firearms Policy Coalition reports that the form costs $19, and the new bill, Senate Bill 1037, categorizes the failure to file as a “continuing offense.” The punishment for this offense can range from a misdemeanor to a felony.
The text of SB 1037 reads:
Existing law requires reports of ownership be filed within certain grace periods for firearms brought or imported into the state by a personal firearms importer or licensed collector. Existing law makes a violation of these provisions a misdemeanor. Existing law provides that failure to submit these reports within the grace period is not a continuing offense.
This bill would provide that those violations committed on or after January 1, 2017, would be a continuing offense. The bill would make a violation of those provisions, in the case of a handgun, punishable by a misdemeanor or a felony.
The Firearms Policy Coalition observes:
[California] gun owners are subject to a dizzying array of law at every level of government, and SB 1037 sets a history-making precedent that gun owners should be haunted for life for an act that involved perhaps nothing more than ignorance or forgetfulness.
It argues that SB 1037 elevates “victimless” firearms crime to the level of violent crimes as far as the statute of limitations for punishment is concerned.
Read more here.