Senator McGuire presents vital legislation making firearm theft a felony

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire today shepherded legislation on the Senate Floor to put a measure on the November ballot that will make theft of a firearm a felony regardless of the value of the gun. This legislation became necessary when Prop 47 made it only a misdemeanor when handguns, shotguns, rifles and AR-15 types of weapons, which are easy to find for sale under $950 at most retail gun stores, are stolen.   

When Prop 47 was approved by voters in 2014, it reduced certain stolen property and drug possession felonies to misdemeanors when the amount involved is less than $950, including firearms.   

“This was an unintended consequence of Proposition 47 and today’s bipartisan action will allow voters the choice to help make our communities safer,” Senator McGuire said.

Prior to the enactment of Proposition 47, theft of a firearm, regardless of its value, was punished as grand theft with a sentence of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison. There is no indication that in passing Proposition 47, the voters intended to reduce the severity of punishment for gun theft.

Introduced by Assemblymembers Melendez, Cooper and Gray, AB 1176 clarifies that if the property stolen is a firearm, or the stolen property that is bought or received is a firearm, the crime is punishable as it was prior to the enactment of Proposition 47, regardless of the firearm’s value.

Approval today in the Senate means the proposal will be submitted for voter approval in the November 8, 2016 statewide general election.

Senator McGuire also supported the nation’s strongest gun-violence prevention measures approved today by the state legislature, a historic package of bills that have been sent to Governor Brown’s desk.

AB 1176 is supported by the California Police Chief’s Association, California Peace Officers’ Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association, and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.