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Let DOJ Know That You Support The FFLGuard Draft Of The FSC/Safe Handling Regulations!

November 19, 2015

Let DOJ know you support the FFLGuard draft of the FSC/Safe Handling Regulations!

In an ordeal two years in the making, the California Department of Justice has finally proposed permanent regulations for the Firearm Safety Certificate and “safe handling” requirements.

Back in 2013, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 683 (Block). This bill was viewed as unnecessary and duplicative of what any responsible firearm owner should know. (See NRA veto request to Governor Brown here.)

The bill replaced the Handgun Safety Certificate requirement with the Firearm Safety Certificate, and expanded the safe handling requirements (which previously applied to only handguns) to all firearms. The law went into effect on January 1, 2015, causing a great deal of trouble for firearm dealers and certified instructors (CIs).

SB 683 required the Department of Justice to adopt formal regulations for the Firearm Safety Certificate (FSC) program and safe handling requirements before January 1, 2015. DOJ dropped the ball. Despite constant reminders, urging, and suggestions from National Rifle Association and California Rifle and Pistol Association representatives DOJ failed to act on the regulations.  In October 2014 DOJ notified firearm dealers and CIs of the pending changes but went no further. The DOJ sent another notice about the FSC program in December of 2014. And it gave firearm dealers and CIs notice of the final FSC requirements just days before the January deadline. The DOJ had yet to propose or adopt the required regulations. January 1, 2015, came and went. Dealers and CIs experienced problems with the new electronic system, leading to frustrating and unnecessary delays in the processing and issuance of FSCs. Many complications still remain.

The DOJ’s failure to implement the required regulations prompted a challenge to the Office of Administrative Law and a lawsuit (Belemjian v. Harris). In the wake of these challenges, the DOJ proposed “emergency” regulations in March 2015 – more than two months after the permanent regulations should have taken effect. DOJ based this delay on the implementation of the new electronic system and numerous “meetings” they had to discuss the FSC system (see a letter from DOJ to Assemblymember James Gallagher trying to explain the delays, here). Interestingly, however, neither the “emergency” regulations nor the proposed permanent regulations have much to do with the electronic system and a number of the regulations do not require or reference the electronic system at all.

Over the course of the year, DOJ did nothing to implement or propose the permanent regulations.

We’ve heard countless complaints concerning the FSC program since its inception, and there remain concerns with the regulations the DOJ seeks to adopt. The proposed permanent regulations saddle California gun owners, retailers, and certified instructors with a number of poorly conceived regulatory requirements. For instance,

(1) All CIs must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) upon application and reapply for a COE each year;

(2) All CIs must have access to a personal computer, printer, internet connection and major credit card (no cash or checks) in order to issue FSCs;

(3) Only Individual CIs must retain completed FSC test answer sheets and make them available upon request by any peace officer, or authorized DOJ personnel, even if they are no longer working for the licensed dealer where the FSC test was taken; and

(4) Only Individual CIs who issued the original FSC may issue a replacement FSC via the Firearms Certification System to the original FSC holder.

FFLGuard submitted written comments to the proposed permanent regulations and re-wrote a number of DOJ’s own regulations following firearm dealer and certified instructor suggestions to make the regulations workable. These comments and draft suggestions are available here.

The period for written comments by the public for the permanent regulations ends on November 24, 2015, at noon. You can address your comments to:

Jeff Amador
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 160487
Sacramento, CA 95816-0487

Email: jeff.amador@doj.ca.gov

A public hearing will be held on November 24, 2015, between 10:00 am -12:00 pm at the Resources Building Auditorium 1416 9th Street Sacramento, California 95814. (The timing of this hearing, two days before Thanksgiving and three before “Black Friday,” either shows that DOJ is unaware of the problems dealers face or does not care.)

It is vital that you too let the DOJ know how you feel about the proposed regulations. If there is something that needs to be addressed or corrected, LET THEM KNOW. You can find DOJ’s proposed permanent FSC and safe handling regulations at: http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/regs under the subject heading: “Notice of proposed adoption of permanent regulations regarding Firearm Safety Certificates (FSC) and Safe Handling Demonstrations.” There you can see also see DOJ’s reasoning and draft copies of the permanent FSC/safe handling forms.

In letting DOJ know how you feel about the regulations, let us know too. CC Joe Silvoso at JSilvoso@michellawyers.com on any comments you make to DOJ.

Let DOJ know who you are, where you live, and your interest in these regulations (as a concerned firearm owner, firearm dealer/employee, or certified instructor). Please remember to be respectful, clear, and concise. If you are looking for a format feel free to use the one below:

To Whom It May Concern,
My name is [name], and I am [a concerned firearm owner, FFL, FFL employee, certified instructor, etc.], located in [city], California. I am writing to [suggest revisions, support FFLGuard draft regulations, etc.] for the proposed permanent Firearm Safety Certificate (“FSC”) and safe handling program.
[Discuss concerns and/or suggestions, if you have any, relating to: COE requirement, electronic requirement, electronic system, credit card issue, etc.].
Thank you for your time and attention.
[name]

This is another example of FFLGuard fighting for the rights of California FFLs, and why participating in our CA-Yearly Service Plan is so important.

Let DOJ know you support the FFLGuard draft of the FSC/Safe Handling Regulations!

In an ordeal two years in the making, the California Department of Justice has finally proposed permanent regulations for the Firearm Safety Certificate and “safe handling” requirements.

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