SB 1160 v 1.0 (Portantino) – Opposition Letter

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March 18, 2024 –

Dear Senator Portantino:

I am writing to express Gun Owners of California’s opposition to your SB 1160, which mandates the annual registration of firearms. In addition to the required yearly registration, the bill would also require the CA Department of Justice to establish fees necessary to maintaining “a system for the annual registration of firearms.”

It is my understanding that SB 1160 was specifically designed to “give the state better data and help us understand how many firearms are in private hands and who owns them.”   This is concerning, however, given that the Constitution’s Bill of Rights – the first 10 Amendments – reminds the government that those rights belong to the “people,” not the government.

This proposal is completely unwarranted because it will do nothing to curb the criminal misuse of firearms.  What it will do, however, is financially penalize responsible, lawful gun owners for simply owning a firearm. While you may claim that an expanded registration will “increase accountability and responsible gun ownership”, there is zero evidence this is true. Gouging the law abiding annually may add more dollars to the DOJ but it will not encourage bad guys with guns to start obeying the law.

Also of note, according to a U.S. Department of Justice Report on the “Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes” only 1.3% obtained the gun from a retail source. Given this fact, forcing annual registration and fees on responsible California gun owners is a veiled attempt to blame the problem of gun violence on the wrong people.  Further, the personal impact this would have on low-income individuals is discriminatory and creates a situation where those with money can afford to pay the annual fee while those of less means will be financially challenged.  SB 1160 does, however, provide us with the opportunity to test the constitutionality of California’s registration laws.

What’s more, we firmly believe that scourge of criminal misuse of firearms can be solidly addressed without penalizing the lawful for the misdeeds of the unlawful – it will never have its anticipated resolution.


Sam Paredes

Sam Paredes, Executive Director