California Senate Republicans Request In-depth Review of Attorney General's Prohibited Firearms List

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) recently delivered a letter, signed by all 13 members of the Senate Republican Caucus, to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The letter highlighted the need for an in-depth review of the state’s Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) which is overseen by the Attorney General’s office and enforced by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). The APPS program identifies people who bought firearms legally and were subsequently prohibited from owning them due to criminal activity or serious mental illness.  It has been a key tool in disarming thousands of dangerous criminals. Unfortunately, according to a recent DOJ report, there are still more than 10,000 individuals prohibited from owning firearms who are on the APPS list.

In a separate letter, Senate Republicans asked the Senate Rules Committee to convene a joint oversight hearing by the Senate Public Safety Committee and Senate Budget Subcommittee #5 to review the APPS program. This is the third request for a joint oversight hearing of the APPS program from Senate Republicans in the last four years. Senate Democrats largely ignored the two previous requests.

Senate Republican Leader Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said, “Senate Republicans are calling for real oversight to keep all Californians safe. Removing firearms from dangerous individuals and the seriously mentally ill who are already prohibited from possessing them is common sense and is already California law.

“In 2013, Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed that the state needed to reduce the number of prohibited individuals who continue to break the law by owning firearms. At that time, DOJ identified a growing backlog of nearly 20,000 subjects on its APPS list who were thought to be illegally in possession of more than 40,000 firearms. That same year, Senate Bill 140, a bipartisan bill, provided DOJ $24 million to expeditiously eliminate the backlog of individuals illegally in possession of firearms and required the Department to report annually on its progress toward that goal.

“By the end of this June, the attorney general’s office will have spent nearly $63 million since the APPS backlog first came to light to go after these individuals who continue to violate the law. Disappointingly, there’s been dismal progress toward eliminating the APPS backlog, especially over the last year, and it appears that it’s not a priority for the attorney general’s office. Californians deserve better.”

Media can read the letters here.