Last week California legislature passed SB-140 titled Firearms: prohibited persons. The bill approves $24 million to expedite the confiscation of the estimated 40,000 handguns and so-called “assault weapons” illegally owned by Californians. So what illegally possessed firearms are they confiscating, exactly?
The bill text, in rare form, is actually pretty easy to read and understand. I know, shocking right? At any rate, the bill is all about funding. The bill “allows the Department of Justice to utilize additional Dealers’ Record of Sale Special Account funds for the limited purpose of addressing the current Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) backlog” to confiscate firearms from individuals that are listed in APPS.
So what is APPS, and how do you get listed in the system? For those of you who don’t live in California, here you go:
Established in 2007, APPS cross-references criminal, domestic violence restraining order and mental health history records, among other prohibited category data, with records of all handgun owners and assault weapon and .50 BMG rifle registrants in the state on or after January 1, 1991, to identify those persons who have subsequently become prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.
So essentially, a fee that Californians pay when they purchase a firearm (called a Dealer Record of Sale fee) is being used to fund the confiscation of firearms of people who find themselves listed in APPS.
I’m not a big fan of this program or SB-140, not by a long shot, but it’s important to keep things in perspective, especially when it seems like politicians are coming after our guns every time we turn around. This isn’t flat out firearms confiscation.
That isn’t to say that this program is harmless, because it’s not. Now that the program has funding, I think it provides a framework that will absolutely be abused and used to take away firearms from law-abiding citizens, the only question is when. The biggest risk I see in the short term is the system being used to take away firearms from veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD.
Let’s all hope that California isn’t that stupid.