New California Bill to Require Annual Registration of Legally Owned Firearms

Senator Anthony J. Portantino, who represents the 25th Senate district, has submitted a bill that would mandate the yearly registration of weapons with the California Department of Justice.

The bill is known as SB 1160.

Portantino has a history of working on gun control legislation; he was instrumental in getting the age of purchase of firearms in California increased to 21 and wrote SB 53, which makes it illegal to keep or store a handgun in a person’s home unless the box or safe is DOJ-approved. Additionally, last year, Portantino collaborated with Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta to pass SB 2, fortifying California’s current concealed-carry gun laws.

According to Portantino, the bill’s original intent was to improve the state’s data collection and provide officials with a clearer picture of the total number of firearms in private hands and their owners.

Portantino promised that the public, gun owners, and dealers would be informed of registration requirements in a reasonable effort if SB 1160 were to become law. The measure states that a firearm’s registration does not prove that the gun is legally owned or that the registrant is a lawful owner. As a result of the proposal, it will be a crime to own a firearm that has not been registered.

An annual fee would be paid into a special fund to administer and enforce the weapon registry, and SB 1160 if approved, would mandate that every firearm in the state be registered with the Department of Justice. Additionally, the measure mandates that the agency create and update a system to register weapons annually and share this data with other law enforcement organizations.

According to studies, approximately 28.3% of Californians have firearms in their homes. Compared to 2022, the Pasadena Police Department’s seizure of 39 weapons in 2023 was 24 lower. Despite being online on February 9, 2022, the department’s ShotSpotter system logged 196 “gunfire” or “probable gunfire” alerts in 2023, up from 109 the previous year.