All About Guns California Cops You have to be kidding, right!?!

California lawmakers to consider stricter regulations against people prohibited from owning guns


California lawmakers held an oversight hearing on Tuesday to figure out how to improve the state’s Armed and Prohibited Persons System, also known as APPS, which is a program that is supposed to keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous people.

The program has faced criticism for using antiquated systems and having the workload outweigh the manpower.

“California leads with some of the most stringent gun laws, but gun violence is a daily reality for communities across our state,” Assm. Reggie Jones-Sawyer said. “We know gun violence across California requires stronger action.”

The APPS program, which only exists in California, places legal gun owners on a list of people who are prohibited from having weapons if they are convicted of a felony, violent misdemeanor, have a restraining order against them or for a mental health reason. The program has been in place since 2001 and uses the state’s Automated Firearms System, which tracks in state registration of firearm owners across the state. The California Department of Justice oversees the APPS program.

“The program has been plagued with numerous challenges since its introduction,” said Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris in Tuesday’s hearing, noting there were 24,000 people on the APPS list. “That is just not good enough,” she said.

Tuesday’s oversight hearing included lawmakers from the Assembly Public Safety Committee and Administrative Review Committees.

The CA DOJ was still in the process of putting together its latest data, which is expected to release sometime in the spring, so the agency used numbers from its 2021 report in Tuesday’s hearing.

CA DOJ officials said of the 24,000 people on the APPS list, 10,000 of them were still in the process of being investigated to have weapons taken away. Another 14,000 are considered “pending cases,” meaning the investigations were exhausted because of reasons including agents being unable to clear weapons, unable to locate the person, or those on the list moved out of state. Officials said they expected the 10,000 figure to remain consistent, noting prohibited people land on the list daily.

The CA DOJ has 73 special agents dedicated to taking weapons away from those prohibited from having them every day. Officials said 56 special agents are currently doing the work while the agency tries to fill 17 vacant positions, noting turnover is high when other large law enforcement agencies have better pay.

Former California Highway Patrolman and Republican Assm. Tom Lackey said law enforcement retention and recruitment go beyond pay.

“Morale amongst law enforcement is low right now; all agencies are having trouble because the incentive has been thwarted,” Lackey said. “Everybody hurts when we demonize an entire profession for conduct of a few.”

San Diego’s police department and city attorney’s office have a state-leading gun violence restraining order program. The state has earmarked $1 million for the agency to help train other local agencies across the state.

Sgt. Thomas Dillon and Chief Deputy City Attorney Nicole Crosby suggested lawmakers consider approving resources to create regional APPS/Gun Violence Restraining Order task forces. They noted this will help boost manpower and streamline communication between agencies.

“We have a great relationship with DOJ but the burden of firearms collection falls on local law enforcement,” Crosby told lawmakers.

“The biggest concern we have is to maintain accurate information in a timely manner,” Dillon told lawmakers, who noted the APPS system uses old technology and requires the use of several state databases to gather information on a prohibited person.

Republican Assm. Laurie Davies introduced a bill, Assembly Bill 303, that would create a new database for the APPS system.

Tuesday’s hearing was informational, meaning no votes or action was taken. It’s possible state lawmakers could address the system’s issues through legislation or the state budget process.

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