California Agents Seize Guns of Mentally Ill, Convicted Criminals Under APPS Program

| by Michael Allen
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California officials are implementing a gun seizure program called the "Armed and Prohibited Person System" (APPS).

APPS mandates that guns be taken away from legally registered gun owners, if they are convicted of various crimes or become mentally ill.

During a recent seizure, four unmarked trucks entered neighborhoods in San Francisco's East Bay. According to NPR, the trucks carried state agents armed with .40-caliber Glock pistols and Tasers. 

The APPS targets people "such as maybe a felony conviction, mental health commitment, they received a restraining order, domestic violence restraining order, some type of a misdemeanor conviction that prohibits them from possessing firearms," said Special Agent Kisu Yo of the California Department of Justice.

However, the gun seizures may appear to violate the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which does not makes exceptions for convicted criminals or mentally ill people.

California officials started getting names of people from state court records, medical facilities and lists of criminals in 2007 and then cross-referenced the names with the federal background check system, which is normally used for gun buyers.

The California Department of Justice did not mention any possible violations of the 2nd Amendment, but rather the intense leg work that goes into confiscating guns.

"There's a lot of work that goes into these. People aren't always home, there's different stories as to where the firearms may be and there's a lot of follow-up needs to happen after. So there's still going to be a lot of work even after they come out to these homes trying to confiscate these weapons," said Michelle Gregory, spokeswoman for the California Department of Justice.

C.D. "Chuck" Michel, an attorney whose has worked for the NRA and the California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation, questions the APPS program.

"It's being billed as going after dangerous people. And for the most part, with some exceptions, admittedly, it's not going after dangerous people. It's not making society any safer," claimed Michel.

"For example, you can get in a fight, and plead guilty to being in a fight, and wind up having a statutory prohibition on possessing firearms get triggered for a 10-year period, but the courts haven't told them that."

Even though California is billions in debt, Governor Jerry Brown (D) recently signed a bill for $24 million to hire an additional 36 agents to seize guns.

Source: NPR