Sacramento, California - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that the California Department of Justice and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department have completed a multi-day operation to remove firearms from individuals legally barred from possessing them, including persons determined to be mentally unstable and those with active restraining orders against them. The joint operation resulted in 150 investigations and the seizure of 82 firearms and 10 arrests, targeting individuals on the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS).
This operation, as well as ongoing and day-to-day investigations, reduced the number of individuals in APPS to a historic low. As of November 4, 2015, the number of individuals on the APPS list is 13,918, the lowest it’s been since January 2009.
“Removing firearms from dangerous and violent individuals who pose a threat to themselves and the public is a top priority for the California Department of Justice,” said Attorney General Harris. “I thank our Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms Special Agents and the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department for their bravery in carrying out these dangerous investigations and their commitment to keeping our communities safe.”
The three-day operation, conducted the week of October 26, included 27 California Department of Justice Special Agents and 20 Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputies.
Over the last two years, the California Department of Justice has doubled the average number of guns seized per year and increased the number of investigations per month by nearly 300%, enabling special agents to conduct 17,465 investigations as of October 30, 2015.
In May, California Department of Justice Special Agents and Los Angeles County local law enforcement partners conducted an APPS operation that resulted in the seizure of 254 firearms, 48,000 rounds of ammunition, and 18 illegal high capacity magazines. The L.A. County operation also resulted in the arrest of 26 individuals.
APPS works to identify individuals who previously purchased firearms, but later became prohibited from legally owning them because they were convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, placed under a domestic violence restraining order, or suffer from serious mental illness. The database was completed in November 2006, and instantly created a queue of thousands of investigations.
In 2011, Attorney General Harris sponsored SB 819 (Leno) to allow the Department of Justice to use existing regulatory fees collected by gun dealers (“DROS fees”) for purposes of regulatory and enforcement activities related to firearms, including management of APPS. This went into effect January 2012. In 2013, Attorney General Harris sponsored SB 140 (Leno) to appropriate $24 million in funding from the DROS Account to help support the APPS program; this urgency legislation went into effect immediately in May 2013.
California is the first and only state in the nation to establish an automated system for tracking handgun and assault weapon owners who might fall into a prohibited status.