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Republican lawmakers call for audit of gun registration fund

April 08, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • Josh Capfer, 19, shoots his shotgun as his friend, Taylor Pearson, 21, looks on at a public shooting range in Redding.
Josh Capfer, 19, shoots his shotgun as his friend, Taylor Pearson, 21, looks… (Dai Sugano / MCT )

With the state about to tap a surplus from gun registration fees to increase enforcement efforts, a group of 31 Republican lawmakers called Monday for an audit of the account to determine whether gun owners are being overcharged.

The legislators said the Dealers' Record of Sale Special Account should be looked at by the state auditor to determine whether the fee is set at a rate that only covers the state's cost to conduct the required background check of the gun purchaser.

The fee was increased from $14 to $19 in 2004. Since then, the reserve in the fund has risen to a projected $12.7 million next year. Fuller said there is little information to justify fee increases.

“Misappropriation of and the potentially illegal transfer of funds is made easier in an environment with little oversight,” said Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield).

The state Senate has approved legislation that would allocate some of the surplus to eliminate a backlog of cases in which the state should be confiscating guns from those not eligible to hold them because of criminal convictions or significant mental illness.

The bill is pending in the Assembly.

Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) said the audit is needed to make sure money is not spent on purposes other than those used to justify the fee.

“Californians demand transparency in their government and must be assured that every dollar collected is used for stated purposes,” he said. 


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