State law prohibits people from buying a handgun from a dealer if it has not been deemed safe by the state Justice Department. Peace officers are exempt from that law and are not restricted in how they resell the firearms.
AB169 by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, is in response to a federal indictment last year charging two Sacramento County sheriff's deputies with selling such weapons for profit. The bill limits the resale of unsafe weapons to other law enforcement officials or members of the military.
"The exemptions unfortunately allow pretty much a free trade of unsafe handguns between exempt parties and nonexempt parties, making current restrictions under the law essentially meaningless," Dickinson said.
The legislation also prohibits the resale of unsafe guns that have been modified to hold only one round of ammunition. Supporters of the bill said the modification can be reversed easily.
The Assembly passed the bill on a mostly party-line vote of 41-26. Republicans were joined in opposition by two Democrats, Assemblymen Rudy Salas of Bakersfield and Steve Fox of Palmdale.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said the bill continues a double standard about who can own certain handguns.
"If something is a threat and a true danger, then I don't want our law enforcement to own it any more than I want individual citizens (to own it)," Donnelly said. "There shouldn't be two sets of rules."
Dickinson carried a similar bill last year, which was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.