BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:   April 28, 2015
          Counsel:               Sandra Uribe


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                                  Bill Quirk, Chair





          AB  
                        1154 (Gray) - As Amended  April 23, 2015




          SUMMARY:  Exempts from public-record laws the phone numbers and  
          street addresses contained in applications and licenses to carry  
          concealed weapons.  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Exempts from the California Public Records Act the telephone  
            numbers and home addresses, except city and zip code, of  
            licensees and applicants of permits to carry concealed weapons  
            (CCW).

          2)Specifies that this exemption shall not be construed as  
            prohibiting the disclosure of public records relating to the  
            reason that an application for a CCW was granted or denied.

          3)Makes technical, non-substantive changes.

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Authorizes a county sheriff or a city police chief to issue a  
            permit for a CCW to a county or city resident if the person is  
            of good moral character, there is good cause for the issuance,  
            the person meets the residency requirements, and the applicant  
            has completed a firearm safety course.  (Pen. Code,  26150,  
            subd. (a), & 26155, subd. (a).) 








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          2)States that a county sheriff or a chief of a municipal police  
            department may issue a license to carry a concealed handgun in  
            either of the following formats:

             a)   A license to carry a concealed handgun upon his or her  
               person; or,

             b)   A license to carry a loaded and exposed handgun if the  
               population of the county, or the county in which the city  
               is located, is less than 200,000 persons according to the  
               most recent federal decennial census.  (Pen. Code,   
               26150, subd. (b), & 26155, subd. (b).)

          3)Requires applications for CCWs to include name, occupation,  
            residence and business address, the licensee's age, height,  
            weight, color of eyes and hair, and the reason for desiring a  
            CCW, as well as a description of the weapon for which the  
            permit is sought.  (Pen. Code,  26175, subd. (c).)
          4)Requires that the fingerprints of each CCW applicant be taken  
            and submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ).  (Pen. Code,  
             26185.)


          5)Provides criminal penalties for knowingly filing a false  
            application for a concealed weapon license.  (Pen. Code,   
            26180.) 


          6)Provides that a license to carry a concealed handgun is valid  
            for up to two years, three years for judicial officers, or  
            four years in the case of a reserve or auxiliary peace  
            officer.  (Pen. Code,  26220.)

          7)Requires a record of the CCW to be maintained in the office of  
            the issuing authority and with the DOJ.  (Pen. Code,  26225.)  


           8)Requires the licensee notify the licensing authority in  
            writing of any change of address within 10 days.  (Pen. Code,  
             26210.)










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          9)Provides pursuant to the California Public Records Act (PRA)  
            that all records maintained by local and state governmental  
            agencies are open to public inspection unless specifically  
            exempt.  (Gov. Code,  6250 et seq.) 


          10)Defines "public records" to include any writing containing  
            information relating to the conduct of the public's business  
            prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local  
            agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.  (Gov.  
            Code,  6252, subd. (e).)  The records of weapons permit  
            holders maintained by the sheriff are public records.  (62  
            Ops. Cal.Atty.Gen. 402.)


          11)Exempts from disclosure under the PRA information in CCW  
            applications which indicates when or where applicants are  
            vulnerable to attack or concerns applicants' medical or  
            psychological histories or that of family members.  (Gov.  
            Code,  6254, subd. (u)(1).)  


           12)Exempts from disclosure under the PRA the home address and  
            telephone number of prosecutors, public defenders, peace  
            officers, judges, court commissioners, and magistrates that  
            are set forth in applications for licenses or in CCWs.  (Gov.  
            Code,  6254, subds. (u)(2) & (3).)
           
           13)Requires an agency to justify withholding any record by  
            demonstrating that the record in question is exempt under  
            express provisions of the PRA or that on the facts of the  
            particular case, the public interest served by not disclosing  
            the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by  
            disclosure of the record. (Gov. Code,  6255, subd. (a).)

          14)Authorizes any person to institute proceedings for injunctive  
            or declarative relief or writ of mandate in any court of  
            competent jurisdiction to enforce his or her right to inspect  
            or to receive a copy of any public record or class of public  
            records under this chapter. (Gov. Code,  6258.)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown








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          COMMENTS:  

          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "In California,  
            individuals must register their firearms with the California  
            Department of Justice (DOJ). State law prohibits the DOJ from  
            releasing that information to anyone other than law  
            enforcement and court officials.

          "When it comes to concealed carry permits, an individual must  
            apply for the permit with his/her County Sheriff or local  
            police department. While individuals must comply with all  
            firearm laws when apply for the permit, including a background  
            check and the 10 day waiting period, their application  
            information, including home address and phone number, is  
            public record unless they are a judge, peace officer, district  
            attorney, public defender, or other protected public official.

          "This discrepancy creates significant privacy concerns for law  
            abiding concealed carry permit holders who are put at risk of  
            being targeted by criminals for home invasion and gun theft.  
            Crime victims who may choose to own a firearm for the purpose  
            of safety and protection also risk having their private  
            information obtained or disseminated making it easier for an  
            offender to locate them to inflict further harm.

          "AB 1154 would protect the homes addresses and phone numbers of  
            permit holders without restricting access to law enforcement,  
            courts, district attorneys, and public defenders. The bill  
            would extend the same protections that public officials  
            receive to all concealed carry permit holders.

          "This issue is especially pertinent given a recent case in New  
            York where a newspaper published the names and addresses of  
            44,000 gun permit holders in the form of an interactive online  
            map. The public availability of this information caused  
            significant safety and privacy concerns. California's  
            concealed carry permit holders are currently exposed to the  
            same risk.

          "AB 1154 strikes a balance between government transparency and  
            personal privacy. It ensures the issuance of concealed carry  








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            permits can be monitored by citizens and stakeholders without  
            providing a one-stop-shop for offenders to collect sensitive  
            location and contact data."

          2)Background:  It is a crime for a person to carry a firearm  
            concealed on his person or in his vehicle without a permit.   
            (Pen. Code,  25400.)  County sheriffs and city police chiefs  
            are the only officials authorized to issue a permit to carry a  
            concealed weapon.  (Pen. Code,  26150, 26155, 26170 &  
            26215.)  This decision involves the exercise of official  
            discretion involving a determination of whether the person is  
            of good moral character and there is good cause for the  
            issuance of the license.  (Pen. Code,  26150, 26155 &  
            26170.)  The county sheriff and police chiefs have "extremely  
            broad discretion concerning the issuance of concealed weapons  
            licenses."  (Gifford v. City of Los Angeles (2001) 88  
            Cal.App.4th 801, 805.)  The issuing official is required to  
            maintain a record of these applications and licenses (Pen.  
            Code,  26225), and records regarding these official actions  
            are considered public records like other decisions to grant or  
            deny a governmental permit.  
          
          3)CBS, Inc. v. Block (1986) 42 Cal.3d 646:  In 1983, CBS made a  
            PRA request seeking information regarding CCW permits issued  
            in Los Angeles County for purposes of investigating potential  
            abuses by the Sheriff's Department.  The sheriff refuse to  
            release any information and litigation ensued.  (Id. at p.  
            649.)  The California Supreme reviewed the case to decide  
            whether the press and the public should be prohibited from  
            obtaining the information contained in CCA applications.   
            (Ibid.)  

          The Court recognized there were competing societal concerns,  
            namely transparency and the right to privacy of the  
            individuals whose information was on file.  (Id. at p. 651.)   
            The Court rejected the arguments that release of this  
            information would allow criminals to plan crimes against  
            licensees, finding it "conjectural at best."  (Id. at p. 652.)  
             "A mere assertion of possible endangerment does not 'clearly  
            outweigh' the public interest in access to these records.   
            (Ibid.)  The Court noted that the law permits deletion of any  
            information indicating times and places where an individual  








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            would be vulnerable to attack.  (Ibid.)

          The Court also rejected the argument that release of the  
            information would violate an individual's right to privacy  
            protected by the California Constitution.  "While some holders  
            of concealed weapon licenses may prefer anonymity, it is  
            doubtful that such preferences outweigh the 'fundamental and  
            necessary' right of the public to examine the bases upon which  
            such licenses are issued.  It is a privilege to carry a  
            concealed weapon."  (Id. at p. 654.)  Making this information  
            public serves the purpose of allowing "the public to ensure  
            that public officials are acting properly in issuing licenses  
            for legitimate reasons." (Ibid.) 

          4)Need for Transparency: Over the years, some elected sheriffs  
            have been accused of unequally applying CCW regulations by  
            dispensing permits to campaign contributors without regard to  
            the statutory requirements.  For example, former Los Angeles  
            Sheriff Lee Baca was accused favoring those who have given  
            gifts or campaign contributions when dispensing CCW permits  
            because "[m]ore than one out of every 10 permits issued to  
            civilians went to people on Baca's gift list.  
            (<  http://www.laweekly.com/news/sheriff-lee-baca-and-the-gun-gif 
            t-connection-2612907  >.) Similarly in 2008, former Orange  
            County Sheriff Michael Carona was accused of the same type of  
            favoritism to his campaign contributors.   
            (<  http://articles.latimes.com/2008/nov/08/local/me-carona8  >.)

          As recently amended, this bill conforms the release of  
            information regarding who obtains CCW permits to the same  
            detail as campaign contribution reports, which releases the  
            name of the contributor, and the contributor's city and zip  
            code.  (See  
            <  http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?i 
            d=1333789&session=2013&view=received  >.)  While this amendment  
            does appear to afford some transparency as to campaign  
            contributors, will it be sufficient to investigate favoritism  
            towards family members, friends, or business associates?   
            Moreover, is name, city, and zip code sufficient information  
            to provide public oversight of officials who wrongly deny CCW  
            permits?  Would the disclosure of an individual's street name,  
            but not street number, allow for more investigation while  








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            still protecting an individual's privacy?

          5)Argument in Support:  According to the National Rifle  
            Association, a co-sponsor of this bill, "The provisions of  
            Assembly Bill 1154 would provide that the CPRA not be  
            construed to require the disclosure of private information of  
            civilian licensed CCW holders.  In recent years, a New York  
            paper published the names of licensed CCW holders.  Such  
            actions place lawful concealed carry holders at risk to  
            criminals who may target their home to steal firearms.  An  
            individual exercising his or her Second Amendment rights  
            should not be put at risk of being a victim of gun theft by  
            the public exposure of their private information, and  
            enactment of this concealed handgun license holders protection  
            legislation would prevent such abuse.  The privacy of carry  
            permit holders in 43 states is now protected by laws similar  
            to AB 1154."

          6)Arguments in Opposition:

             a)   The California Newspaper Publishers Association writes,  
               "The legislature has long recognized the strong public  
               interest in the accessibility of information about CCW  
               applicants and licensees because of the public's role in  
               overseeing officials who have the authority to issue these  
               permits.  AB 1154 would prevent the public from knowing  
               whether officials are issuing permits justly and  
               impartially or abusing the exercise of their statutorily  
               delegated discretion.

             "In CBS v. Block, 42 Cal.3d 646 (1986), the state Supreme  
               Court was tasked with determining whether a sheriff's  
               refusal of a broadcaster's request to inspect and copy  
               concealed weapons applications submitted to and licenses  
               issued by a county sheriff violation the public's right to  
               access information pursuant to the California Public  
               Records Act. The Court ruled that the information was  
               disclosable.  The Court reasoned, 'Implicit in the  
               democratic process is the notion that government should be  
               accountable for its actions.  In order to verify  
               accountability, individuals must have access to government  
               files.  Such access permits checks against the arbitrary  








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               exercise of official power and secrecy in the political  
               process.'  Id at p. 651.

             "In reaching its decision in Block the Court summarily  
               dismissed as 'conjectural at best,' the assertion by the  
               sheriff that releasing this information would allow  
               would-be attackers to more carefully plan their crime  
               against licensees and would deter those who need a license  
               from making an application.  Id. at p. 652.

             "An example of the importance of this information as a check  
               on potential abuse by officials can be found in the case of  
               former Orange County Sheriff, Brad Gates.  In the late  
               1980's Gates was accused of improperly issuing concealed  
               weapons permits to his cronies and political supporters.   
               The sheriff's own records showed he issued 101 permits to  
               members of the Balboa Bay Club, the Lincoln Club, and  
               various other supporters all of whom were contributors to  
               his political campaigns.  Gates, however, also denied  
               permits to those he considered unfriendly even though the  
               stated reasons for the permits by the unfriendly applicants  
               were the same as those given by his campaign contributors.

             Gates ultimately lost a civil rights suit filed against him  
               by two private investigators who challenged Gates denial of  
               their concealed weapon application seven times. ?

             "By exempting from public access the very same information  
               that revealed the widespread abuse of authority that  
               occurred in Orange County, AB 1154 would not only embolden  
               corruption bit it would also serve to protect dishonest  
               officials from public scrutiny by eliminating one of the  
               only tools to ferret out misconduct."

             b)   According to the Calguns Foundation, "In CBS, Inc. v.  
               Block, 42 Cal.3d 646 (1986), the California Supreme Court  
               held that '[t]he interest of society in ensuring  
               accountability is particularly strong where the discretion  
               invested in a government official is unfettered, and only a  
               select few are granted the special privilege.  Moreover the  
               degree of subjectivity involved in exercising the  
               discretion cries out for public scrutiny.'  Id. at 655.  We  








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               couldn't agree more.

             "As you are no doubt aware, two important federal civil  
               rights lawsuits challenging the application of discretion  
               by the sheriffs of San Diego County and Yolo County,  
               respectively, have been consolidated and scheduled for a  
               June 15 en banc re-hearing by the Ninth Circuit Court of  
               Appeals. (See Peruta v. Cnty. of San Diego, 9th Cir. No.  
               10-56971; Richards v. Prieto, 9th. Cir. No. 11-16255.)  It  
               should be noted that CGF is a party to the Richards  
               matter?.

             "Until such time that law-abiding people can exercise their  
               fundamental, individual right to carry ('bear') loaded,  
               operable firearms in public for self-defense, the  
               subjective and unconstitutional application or discretion  
               under Cal. Penal Code section 26150, et. seq., by nearly  
               every county sheriff and chief of a municipal police  
               department in California cries out for exactly the kind of  
               scrutiny that AB 1154 would shield against.

             "While the privacy of gun owners is of paramount importance  
               to CGF and our supporters, AB 1154 does not accomplish that  
               laudable goal in any meaningful way and would simply harm  
               our ability to investigate violations of the Fourteenth  
               Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and frustrate our  
               ability to conduct important research into sheriffs' and  
               police chiefs' applications of discretion through  
               comparisons of application and license data to state and  
               federal data on race, income, and other factors based on  
               the applicants' and licensees' place of residence."

          7)Related Legislation:  

             a)   AB 1134 (Stone) authorizes the sheriff of a county in  
               which a city is located to enter into an agreement with the  
               chief or other head of the municipal police agency in that  
               city for the chief or head of that municipal police agency  
               to process all applications for licenses to carry a  
               concealed handgun upon the person, renewal of those  
               licenses, and amendments to those licenses.  AB 1134 is  
               pending referral in the Senate Rules Committee.








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             b)   SB 707 (Wolk) allows a person holding a valid CCW, and a  
               retired peace officer authorized to carry a concealed or  
               loaded firearm, to carry the firearm in an area that is  
               within 1,000 feet of, but not on the grounds of, a public  
               or private school providing instruction in kindergarten to  
               grade 12, and deletes the exemption that allows these  
               people to possess a firearm on the campus of a university  
               or college.  SB 707 is pending hearing in the Senate  
               Appropriations Committee.

          8)Prior Legislation:  AB 134 (Logue), of the 2013-2014  
            Legislative Session, was substantially similar to this bill.   
            AB 134 was held in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:
          
          Support

          California Rifle and Piston Association (Co-Sponsor)
          National Rifle Association (Co-Sponsor)
          California Police Chiefs
          California State Sheriffs' Association
          Crime Victims United of California

          One Private Individual

          Opposition

          Calguns Foundation
          California Broadcasters Association
          California Newspaper Publishers Association
          Firearms Policy Coalition 

          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              Sandy Uribe / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744














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