California Enacts Unique Video and Audio Surveillance Requirements for Firearms Dealers

The latest in California’s comprehensive approach to laws aimed at gun violence prevention is Senate Bill 1384, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 30, 2022.

This particular measure seeks to prevent unlawful firearms sales and reduce gun violence as well as aid law enforcement investigations by creating digital surveillance requirements for firearms dealers.

California law prohibits anyone who is not a licensed firearms dealer from selling, leasing, or transferring any firearm in the state. Senate Bill 1384 created requirements for licensed firearms dealers to maintain a digital video surveillance system which must also include audio surveillance for any systems located indoors.

All digital surveillance systems put in place to comply with SB 1384 must record all interior views of entrances and exits to the premises, all areas where firearms are displayed, and all points of sale. Surveillance must be sufficient to identify all parties involved in any firearm transactions and shall continuously record for 24 hours a day. The new law also requires all recordings to be maintained for a minimum of one year and limits who has access to the recordings and images. 

Licensed dealers will also be required to display a sign notifying the public of the existence of the digital surveillance systems as well as annually report to the California Department of Justice that the systems are in working order.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), there were roughly 2,000 licensed firearms dealers in California as of February 2022. While many of their premises may already be under some form of surveillance, all licensed firearms dealers in California have until January 1, 2024 to be in full compliance with the new requirements.

Senate Bill 1384 outlines specific standards and parameters that digital video and audio surveillance systems must be able to comply with. For example, the law specifies that the surveillance systems must maintain a frame rate of no less than 15 frames per second, display the date and time, be equipped with a failure notification system, and that all recordings must be stored in a secure manner for authorized users only.

Due to the complexities and relatively short time frame to comply with these requirements, security providers in California should begin working with customers to raise awareness of the passage of Senate Bill 1384 and being proactive in helping the over 2,000 firearms dealers in California obtain the appropriate surveillance equipment necessary to comply by January 1, 2024. 

SIA has developed a quick fact sheet on Senate Bill 1384 to assist security providers in these education efforts over the next year.

SIA members interested in audio applications for security, safety and intelligent communications are encouraged to join the SIA Audio & Intelligent Communications Subcommittee.