Attorney General’s Office Falls Short on APPS

It’s no surprise to Gun Owners of California that the Attorney General’s attempt to reduce the embarrassing backlog that exists in the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) has fallen far short of what was promised.

An audit launched by the Legislature following the devastating Sandy Hook incident delved into APPS, the database utilized by the Department of Justice that cross-references firearm owners in California against domestic violence restraining orders, mental health and criminal history records in order to ascertain whether someone is either prohibited or eligible to possess a firearm. 

In response to the startling revelation that the backlog of armed prohibited persons was over 20,000, the Legislature appropriated a whopping $24 million in 2013 – which was just $1 million shy of what the AG’s office said was needed to eliminate the backlog in one year. 

Now, two years, later, the backlog in the number of “prohibited persons” on the list has been reduced by a paltry 3,770 – which means 17,479 prohibited individuals may be in illegal possession over 36,000 firearms.  What’s an even bigger shocker is a full 40 percent of the funds allocated in 2013 to eliminate the entire backlog has already been spent.  Of the 36 agents the AG pledged to secure for this specific purpose, only 18 have been hired.

Another interesting note is that according to documents provided by the AG (see chart), it’s clear there has been a significant increase in the number of people investigated, yet a small decrease in the number of guns seized.  By definition, GOC believes this means a high “false positive” rate. 

APPS graph1

APPS graph2

Although intent of APPS may have originally been worthwhile, it has become bureaucratically and politically controlled.  Clearly, money isn’t an issue since they don’t even have an effective system to keep track of those who shouldn’t own a gun, no matter how much cash the legislature throws at them!  It’s also apparent that there may actually be people on APPS who shouldn’t be. 

Both the Senate and Assembly Republicans have sent legislative leadership letters asking for policy and budget oversight hearings to  review the APPS program and the recent report outlining its lack of significant progress in clearing the APPS backlog.  GOC will be monitoring the process of these important requests and will keep you updated.


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