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AB-1869 Theft: firearms.(2015-2016)

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CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1869


Introduced by Assembly Members Melendez and Gray
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Travis Allen, Baker, Brown, Chávez, Dodd, Beth Gaines, Gallagher, Jones, Lackey, Linder, Mayes, Olsen, Patterson, Waldron, and Wilk)
(Coauthors: Senators Anderson, Bates, Block, Huff, Nielsen, and Stone)

February 10, 2016


An act to amend Sections 490.2 and 496 of the Penal Code, relating to theft, and calling an election, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1869, as introduced, Melendez. Theft: firearms.
(1) The existing Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, enacted as an initiative statute by Proposition 47, as approved by the electors at the November 4, 2014, statewide general election, makes the theft of property that does not exceed $950 in value petty theft, and makes that crime punishable as a misdemeanor, with certain exceptions.
The California Constitution authorizes the Legislature to amend an initiative statute by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors.
This bill would amend that initiative statute by making the theft of a firearm grand theft in all cases and punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years.
(2) Under existing law, a person who buys or receives property that has been stolen, knowing the property to be stolen, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding property from the owner, knowing the property to be stolen, is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony, except that if the value of the property does not exceed $950. Proposition 47 makes the offense punishable as a misdemeanor if the defendant has not previously been convicted of one or more specified serious or violent felonies or of an offense requiring registration as a sex offender.
This bill would amend that initiative statute by making the buying or receiving of a stolen firearm, with knowledge that the property was stolen, or the concealing, selling, withholding, or aiding in concealing, selling, or withholding of a firearm, with knowledge that the property was stolen, a misdemeanor or a felony.
(3) This bill would call a special election to be consolidated with the November 8, 2016, statewide general election. This bill would require the Secretary of State to submit the provisions of the bill that amend the initiative statute to the electors for their approval at the November 8, 2016, consolidated election.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an act calling an election.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) In submitting this act to the electors, the Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The theft of firearms and receipt of stolen firearms pose dangers to public safety that are different in kind from other types of theft or the receipt of other types of stolen property.
(2) Many handguns have a value of less than $950. The threat to public safety in regard to stolen firearms goes above and beyond the monetary value of the firearm.
(3) Given the significant and particular threat to public safety in regard to stolen firearms, it is appropriate to restore the penalties that existed prior to the passage of the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014 in regard to stolen firearms.
(b) It is not the intent of the Legislature in submitting this act to the electors to undermine the voters’ decision to decrease penalties for low-level theft and receiving stolen property, only to give the voters the opportunity to decide whether firearm thefts and the receipt of stolen firearms should be subject to penalties that existed prior to the passage of the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.

SEC. 2.

 Section 490.2 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

490.2.
 (a) Notwithstanding Section 487 or any other provision of law defining grand theft, except as provided in subdivision (c), obtaining any property by theft where the value of the money, labor, real property, or personal property taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) shall be considered is petty theft and shall be punished as a misdemeanor, except that such the person may instead be punished pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 if that person has one or more prior convictions for an offense specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 667 or for an offense requiring registration pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 290.
(b) This section shall does not be applicable apply to any a theft that may be charged as an infraction pursuant to any other provision of law.
(c) If the property taken is a firearm, the theft is grand theft in all cases, as specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 487, and is punishable pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 489.

SEC. 3.

 Section 496 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

496.
 (a) (1)  Every person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170. However, except as provided in subdivision (e), if the value of the property does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), the offense shall be is a misdemeanor, punishable only by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, if such the person has no prior convictions for an offense specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 667 or for an offense requiring registration pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 290.

A

(2) A principal in the actual theft of the property may be convicted pursuant to this section. However, no a person may not be convicted both pursuant to this section and of the theft of the same property.
(b) (1)  Every swap meet vendor, as defined in Section 21661 of the Business and Professions Code, and every person whose principal business is dealing in, or collecting, merchandise or personal property, and every agent, employee, or representative of that person, who buys or receives any property of a value in excess of nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) that has been stolen or obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, under circumstances that should cause the person, agent, employee, or representative to make reasonable inquiry to ascertain that the person from whom the property was bought or received had the legal right to sell or deliver it, without making a reasonable inquiry, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

Every

(2) Every swap meet vendor, as defined in Section 21661 of the Business and Professions Code, and every person whose principal business is dealing in, or collecting, merchandise or personal property, and every agent, employee, or representative of that person, who buys or receives any property of a value of nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or less that has been stolen or obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, under circumstances that should cause the person, agent, employee, or representative to make reasonable inquiry to ascertain that the person from whom the property was bought or received had the legal right to sell or deliver it, without making a reasonable inquiry, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) Any A person who has been injured by a violation of subdivision (a) or (b) may bring an action for three times the amount of actual damages, if any, sustained by the plaintiff, costs of suit, and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(d) Notwithstanding Section 664, any an attempt to commit any act prohibited by this section, except an offense specified in the accusatory pleading as a misdemeanor, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
(e) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a person who buys or receives a firearm that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding a firearm from the owner, knowing the property to be so stolen or obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

SEC. 4.

 (a) Sections 2 and 3 of this act amend the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, Proposition 47, an initiative statute, and shall become effective only when submitted to and approved by the voters at a statewide election.
(b) A special election is hereby called, to be held throughout the state on November 8, 2016, for approval by the voters of Sections 2 and 3 of this act. The special election shall be consolidated with the statewide general election to be held on that date. The consolidated election shall be held and conducted in all respects as if there were only one election, and only one form of ballot shall be used.
(c) Notwithstanding the requirements of Sections 9040, 9043, 9044, 9061, 9082, and 9094 of the Elections Code, or any other law, the Secretary of State shall submit Sections 2 and 3 of this act to the voters for their approval at the November 8, 2016, statewide general election.

SEC. 5.

 This act calls an election within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into immediate effect.