GOC on Inaccuracies in California’s APPS program

Earlier this year, Assemblymembers Achadjian (R) and Mansoor (R) requested a state audit on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ), Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS).  The audit request, approved on a bipartisan vote, was to determine the accuracy of the reporting system, specifically regarding those that should not be in possession of firearms due to a diagnosed mental health illness.  This month, the California State Auditor released their report confirming what we have been saying all along: that the APPS program is wholly inaccurate, and thus, dangerously unreliable. 

In response to the results from the audit, Assemblymember Achadjian has stated that the report confirms “… our worst fears – that information about individuals who should be on the list of armed prohibited persons is not being fully reported and is not being reported immediately as required by law”.  Assemblymember Mansoor also released a statement saying, “It is very troubling to learn in the Auditor’s reports that courts did not know about the reporting requirements until Republicans requested this audit, and that hundreds of cases are going unreported and are not being reported in a timely manner. After reviewing the report’s findings, it’s clear that the Attorney General’s office must do a better job in coordinating the reporting and processing of this information.  Most importantly, the Legislature must take action to protect public safety and ensure the timely reporting of this information going forward.”

Gun Owners of California wants to thank the Assemblymembers who led this charge.  We are grateful to them and we believe this is only the beginning of the problems inherent with this system.  
GOC would also like to report our support of legislation by Senator Ted Gaines (R) – SB 127 – which requires the communicating of a serious threat of physical violence to a licensed psychotherapist by a person, be reported to local law enforcement, within 24 hours.  Local law enforcement is then required to report the threat to the DOJ within 24 hours.  This legislation was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 11, 2013.

A recent story by ABC News 10 Sacramento reports the inaccuracies of the APPS program as declared by the recent audit, while at the same time referencing quotes by GOC’s Executive Director, Sam Paredes, from a legislative hearing on gun control in January of this year.  Gun Owners of California would like to clearly state that we are not opposed to legislation that would make it more difficult for those adjudicated as mentally ill to have access to firearms.  However, the system used to track and monitor those who are prohibited is severely flawed.  We have been in support of the audit request and Senator Gaines’ legislation from the beginning. Currently, we believe that the APPS program is entirely broken, and that the money used to fund this system should not be funded by law abiding gun owners.  Rather, we believe general law enforcement activities such as the APPS program should be supported with General Fund monies. 

GOC would also like to state that the audit validates our consistent criticism of this program.  If the Armed Prohibited Person’s system is so inaccurate as to miss more than 20,000 people who should be on the list, we raise the question as to how many people – other hand, are on the list incorrectly.  This year, a California Sheriff reported that the system has shown to be anywhere from 40-60% inaccurate, regarding persons who have been labeled “prohibited” and have thus had their firearms seized needlessly.  The system needs to be reexamined from top to bottom.  Right now, the government is incapable of processing reports in a timely manner to allow them to maintain an accurate system.  It is irresponsible for a government to rely on a system that is so consistently incorrect, while at the same time, allocating funds to carry out forceful seizures of firearms without the proper evidence at hand. 

In a press release from the California Assembly Republican Caucus, key findings of the audit regarding the APPS program include, but are not limited to:

  • The Department of Justice cannot identify all armed prohibited persons in California effectively.
  • The Attorney General’s office had not reminded courts of reporting requirements until after the Republican-authored audit request.
  • The Attorney General’s office has trouble comparing the information it receives against the listing of firearm owners. 

As always, Gun Owners of California is committed to crime control, not gun control.  We will respectfully request involvement with the drafting of future legislation pertaining to changes to the reporting process for the Armed Prohibited Persons System.


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