California Bill Would Require All Gun Sales To Be Videoed

California is not a gun-friendly state, and it may get even less friendly if a new bill introduced in the state legislature passes. It would require that all gun sales conducted in stores in the state be recorded on video, and would ban sales by licensed dealers who sell out of their homes.

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and known as AB2459 , would also force all dealers to carry liability insurance.

The new bill, which would place a fairly heavy burden on any gun shop is very similar to one passed in San Francisco last November that forced the city's last remaining gun shop to close. The city law requires gun shops to turn regularly turn over footage of gun sales transactions to police.

The state law instead would require shop owners to store the footage, for several years, and turn it over whenever police should ask for it.

And the bill doesn't just call for one camera over the gun counter—it also would require an extensive surveillance system be installed. From the bill:

"The video surveillance system shall visually record and archive footage of all of the following:

(1) Every sale or transfer of a firearm or ammunition, in a manner that makes the facial features of the purchaser or transferee clearly visible in the recorded footage.

(2) All places where firearms or ammunition are stored, displayed, carried, handled, sold, or transferred, including, but not limited to, counters, safes, vaults, cabinets, shelves, cases, and entryways.

(3) The immediate exterior surroundings of the licensee’s business.

(4) All parking areas owned or leased by the licensee.

“When recording, the video surveillance system shall store color images of the monitored area at a frequency sufficient to produce retrievable and identifiable images and video recordings that are capable of delineating on playback the activity and physical features of persons or areas where firearms and ammunition are stored, displayed, carried, handled, sold, or transferred.”

The bill then says those images must be stored and maintained on the business premises for five years, and continues: “If, within five years of the transfer, a firearm or ammunition acquired in the transaction is the subject of a law enforcement investigation or firearms disposition request, the footage of the transfer shall be preserved for an additional five years.”

That means a gun shop would have to store some video recordings of gun sales for a decade.

And if the surveillance system should break down, it has to be replaced in 15 calendar days and provide an annual certification to the Department of Justice that ensures it’s working.

This story from ABC quotes Stuart Hill, a gun owner in the state who said he's supported the current, strict California gun laws, but feels differently about being recorded on video.

"I do understand gun laws. They are needed. But, I'm not sure about the videotaping of every single purchase," Hill said in the story. "It makes me a little uneasy because I don't always want everyone to know my business."

McCarty says the law is designed to work against people making straw purchases, or buying firearms for individuals who cannot legally own one.

"The reality is, too many people who go into shops...buy guns for people who shouldn't be able to buy guns," McCarty said in the story.

But many feel that the firearms purchasing process in California is strict enough.

"Forcing a person to feel like they are being recorded or what they're doing is under a microscope, who's already a law-abiding citizen, I don't think it's the right way to go," said Chris Lapinski, owner of Last Stand Readiness and Tactical, in the story.