Why California's Gun Confiscation Program Wouldn't Have Stopped Texas Shooting

It seems that a lot of people are taking a good, long look at a program in California designed to get guns away from prohibited people who may have bought them legally, but now shouldn’t own the firearm.


Due to the Sutherland Springs killer’s history, many are looking at the law and thinking this might be a good idea as a way to prevent another such massacre.

It’s difficult to keep guns away from ex-cons and the mentally disturbed, but a little-known California program is designed to do just that. And in the light of the Texas church shooting that left 26 dead, some are wondering if this type of effort could have thwarted Devin Kelley’s murderous rampage.

In late 2006, a database was set up to track firearms owners and cross-reference those names with criminal and mental-health records to identify individuals “who have been, or will become, prohibited from possessing a firearm subsequent to the legal acquisition or registration of a firearm or assault weapon.”

This made California the first and only state in the nation to establish an automated system for tracking firearm owners who might fall into a prohibited status. The intent was that once the state had identified those who shouldn’t have guns under the law, it would confiscate their weapons.

The Armed and Prohibited Persons System (APPS) program was first conceived by the state legislature in 1999 in response to the proliferation of gun violence across the state and the nation. The focus of the so-called APPS program is to disarm convicted criminals, those with certain mental illnesses, and other individuals who may be dangerous.

The whole article is pretty long and detailed, but this gets you the gist.

Here’s the problem with saying a program like this would somehow have prevented Sutherland Springs: The relevant information wasn’t shared as it should have been.


Authorities can’t knock on the door of someone now prohibited from owning a firearm unless they know that person is prohibited. The Sutherland Springs killer, while prohibited, was accepted as lawfully possessing his firearms because he’d bought them all at gun stores and passed the background check.

There is where the problem lies.

While gun grabbers are looking to create new programs, new ways to try and interfere with people’s right to keep and bear arms, they’re avoiding the elephant in the room, that the system that’s already in place isn’t being utilized correctly. While gun stores face a virtual Hammer of God if they fail to conduct a background check, agencies get away with failing to input any and all information into the NICS.

Before you start throwing out new suggestions and looking at programs like this one in California, why not take a stab at reforming the current system that might well have stopped the slaughter had it worked as intended. Further, stop trying to pretend the NRA or gun rights activists have blood on their hands on this. If anyone does, it’s the idiots who continue to call for new laws rather than making sure the current system works as designed.


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