Legislative Update: Important Changes to California Laws in 2020

Following the September 13th, 2019 California legislative session, 16 bills from the Assembly and Senate and 2 Assembly Joint Resolutions dealing with your California gun rights were introduced, passed, and signed into law. Most of these changes will go into effect this year, in 2020. This recap should help you remain on the right side of the law and show you what regulations will take effect and how they will apply to you.


Assembly Bill 12 extends the duration of California’s gun violence restraining order law from a minimum of one year up to the maximum of five years.

This law takes effect on September 1, 2020.

Assembly Bill 61 Currently, an immediate family member or law enforcement may request a court hearing concerning the issuance of a gun violence restraining order. As of September 1, 2020, AB61 expands that list to include the following persons:

  • An employer of the subject of the petition;
  • A coworker of the subject of the petition, if they have had substantial and regular interactions with the subject for at least one year and have obtained the approval of the employer; and
  • An employee or teacher of a secondary or post-secondary school that the subject has attended in the last six months, if the employee has obtained approval of a school administrator or staff member with a supervisorial role.

This law takes effect on September 1, 2020.

Assembly Bill 164 holds any person subject to a valid out-of-state restraining order, injunction, or protective order to the same restrictions on buying or possessing firearms in California.

This law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Assembly Bill 339 requires law enforcement agencies to develop and adopt policies and standards regarding the use of gun violence restraining orders and would impose a state-mandated local program by January 1, 2021.

This law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Assembly Bill 521 requires the University of California’s Firearm Violence Research Center to develop multifaceted education and training programs for medical and mental health providers on the prevention of firearm-related injury and death. This includes how to assess individual patients for risk of firearm-related injury and death, plus “best practices” for conversations with patients about firearm ownership, access, storage, and “appropriate” tools for practitioner intervention with patients at risk, including, but not limited to:

  • Education on “safer” storage practices;
  • Gun violence restraining orders; and
  • Mental health interventions.

This law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Assembly Bill 645 requires the packaging of any firearm and any descriptive materials that accompany any firearm sold, transferred, or delivered for sale in California by any licensed manufacturer or licensed dealer to have a label affixed to the package (or on the firearm itself if not in a package). The label must contain a Surgeon General-style warning statement in English and Spanish, addressing the safe and secure handling, the proper storage of the firearms to prevent access by children, as well as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline telephone number.

When the law takes effect, it will require a specified statement regarding suicide prevention be included on the firearm warning label. Furthermore, each licensed firearms dealer must conspicuously display a more expansive warning on posters within the premises regarding suicide prevention.

This law takes effect on June 1, 2020.

Assembly Bill 879 requires precursor firearm parts to be sold/transferred through a licensed precursor parts dealer. Components of a firearm other than a finished firearm, frame, or finished receiver necessary to build or assemble a firearm are defined as a “precursor part.” This will be a similar process to the new laws regarding ammunition purchases, which means background checks and fees on every purchase of a “precursor part.” Examples of these precursor parts are:

  • Barrels; and
  • Ammunition feeding devices and upper receivers.

This law does not go into effect until July 1, 2024.

Assembly Bill 893 prohibits the sale of firearms and ammunition at the Del Mar Fairgrounds property starting January 1, 2021. The Del Mar Fairgrounds is owned by the State of California and managed by a Board of Directors of the 22nd District Agricultural Association.

This law does not go into effect until January 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 1254 prohibits the trophy hunting, trapping, or otherwise taking of a bobcat, except in specified circumstances including depredation permits.

This law does not go into effect until January 1, 2025.

Assembly Bill 1297 removes the existing $100 cap on fees for CCW (“concealed carry weapon”) permits. A local issuing authority can charge an amount to cover the costs of not only processing and issuance of the license, but also enforcement.

This law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Assembly Bill 1493 authorizes the subject of a gun violence restraining petition to file a form with the court voluntarily relinquishing their firearm rights and stating they are not contesting the petition. If the subject files the form, the bill would require the court to issue a gun violence restraining order without a hearing and provide notice of the order to all concerned parties.

This law takes effect on September 1, 2020.

Assembly Bill 1669 raises the Dealer Record of Sales (“DROS”) fees paid by consumers when purchasing firearms and ammunition, and vastly expand the scope of how the money can be utilized by the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”). This bill updates existing laws by applying the same gun show regulations, which already apply to firearm dealers and ammunition vendors, to ensure enough funding is available for firearm regulatory efforts.

This law takes effect on January 1, 2020.


Senate Bill 61 expands California’s “one handgun a month” law to apply to all firearms. Californians will only be allowed to purchase one “firearm” per month. People younger than age 21 won’t be allowed to obtain firearms, with few exceptions for law enforcement officers, military service members, and those who have been honorably discharged from service. This also bans the sale of semi-automatic centerfire rifles to people under the age of 21, and removes a provision of the law allowing people under the age of 21 to buy such guns if they have a hunting license.

This law is to take effect on July 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 120 prohibits a person convicted on or after January 1, 2020 with a misdemeanor of carrying a concealed firearm, carrying a loaded firearm, or openly carrying an unloaded handgun, from possessing a firearm for a period of 10 years. Makes the violation of that prohibition punishable as a misdemeanor.

This law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Senate Bill 172 modifies California’s existing storage laws, which include a combination of local restrictions, in addition to requiring firearms be inaccessible to both minors and prohibited persons, by providing additional storage requirements, including unloaded firearms and significantly enhanced criminal penalties for failure to comply.

This law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Senate Bill 376  prevents individuals from selling large numbers of firearms without a license by capping the number of annual sales allowed at five transactions or fifty firearms. Requires anybody manufacturing fifty or more firearms to be licensed. It also requires a background check for firearms to be auctioned or raffled off.

This law takes effect on January 1, 2020.


The lawmakers passed a couple of non-binding resolutions to encourage the federal government to take stronger actions on gun control, using California as a blueprint for laws for Congress to adopt at a national level. Now it is important to note, resolutions are not laws, but simply a statement of the legislature’s position on an issue.

Assembly Joint Resolution 4 encourages Congress to adopt the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The purpose of the act is to require a background check for every firearm sale and ensure prohibited persons do not obtain a firearm.

Assembly Joint Resolution 5 urges the federal government to pass legislation that would provide universal firearm safety regulation throughout the nation.

Remember, in the eyes of law enforcement, there is no excuse for not knowing California’s new laws.

Click here to download our convenient guide that breaks down all 18 of these important California legislative updates.

For any questions regarding changes and updates to California gun law, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney, or click here to submit your questions online. 

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