Surplus expected to grow to $12.7 million under little oversight, legislators contend
April 9, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee), Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), and 29 Republican legislators have requested the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approve an audit of the Dealers Record of Sale (DROS) Special Account of the General Fund. The DROS Account is funded by fees paid by individuals who purchase or register firearms in California. Generally, a DROS fee is paid by a buyer to a firearms dealer at the time of purchase. The dealer is required to remit the fee to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to cover the cost of performing a background check on the purchaser.
“The DROS Account surplus has grown significantly over the years, but there is little information surrounding why fees haven’t been reduced and if the fund is used to pay for purposes other than background checks. Misappropriation of and the potentially illegal transfer of funds is made easier in an environment with little oversight,” said Senator Fuller.
“Californians demand transparency in their government and must be assured that every dollar collected is used for stated purposes,” said Assemblyman Jones.
Since 2004, when the DROS fee increased from $14 to $19, the reserve in the DROS Account has steadily increased and is now projected to grow to $12.7 million for 2013-14.
The legislators say that an audit should examine the following:
- Why has the DROS reserve grown to the size it has since the last fee increase in 2004?
- Is the current DROS fee of $19 more than is necessary to cover the actual costs of DOJ activities related to the sale, purchase, possession, loan, or transfer of firearms, as authorized in statute?
- Should the DROS fee be reduced? If so, what level is adequate to cover DOJ costs?
- Are DROS funds being used for activities not directly related to the purpose of the fee?
Senator Fuller is a member of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.
A copy of the letter may be viewed here.
State Senator Fuller represents the 18thSenate District, which includes Bakersfield, Barstow, Big Bear City, Bishop, California City, Exeter, Frazier Mountain, Lone Pine, Mojave, Needles, Porterville, Ridgecrest, Rosamond, Taft, Tehachapi, Twentynine Palms, Tulare, Visalia and other areas in the Kern River Valley and in Inyo and San Bernardino counties.
Assemblyman Brian Jones, Republican Caucus Chairman, represents the 71st Assembly District, which includes the communities of eastern San Diego County, including Alpine, Borrego Springs, Casa de Oro - Mount Helix, El Cajon, Lakeside, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Santee and Spring Valley; and southern Riverside County, including Anza, Aguanga, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, Lake Riverside and Mountain Center.