California Attorney General Kamala Harris, third from left, at podium, announces the state’s efforts to reduce gun violence with use of the California’s Armed Prohibited Persons System, at a news conference at the LAPD Headquarters in Los Angeles Friday, May 17. Others from left: Former Assemblyman Mike Feuer, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Nancy O’Malley, Alameda District Attorney. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes).
Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday last week convened a Leadership Group of the state’s district attorneys to collectively develop smart and practical recommendations to reduce gun violence through enforcement of existing laws and prevention efforts.
“Gun violence continues to be a distressing and persistent problem in the United States, but California is leading the nation in smart, common-sense gun policies designed to protect our communities,” said Attorney General Harris. “By working together, law enforcement and our state’s district attorneys can make a difference by improving enforcement and increasing prevention to help keep all Californians safe from gun violence.”
At the meeting, district attorneys discussed current programs that effectively reduce gun violence and how to better enforce current gun laws. The Leadership Group will prepare a report of best practices that will serve as models for law enforcement in other communities to adopt and as models for potential legislative reform.
Attorney General Harris discussed the importance of the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) which takes guns out of the hands of those prohibited from owning them.
“The APPS program is unique to California and it is simple common-sense that prohibited persons should not possess firearms in violation of the law,” Attorney General Harris said. “The Department of Justice will be increasing the number of agents conducting these smart and effective operations.”
Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 140, which gives $24 million to the APPS program. With the funds, the Attorney General will hire 36 additional agents. The Department of Justice will be able to increase enforcement operations statewide, including in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno and Riverside.
California is the only state with a program like APPS, which identifies people who previously purchased one or more guns, but are later prohibited from owning them. A person becomes prohibited if he or she is convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, is placed under a domestic violence restraining order, or is determined to be mentally unstable.
Over the last two years, DOJ agents have investigated nearly 4,000 people and seized close to 4,000 weapons, including nearly 2,000 handguns and more than 300 assault weapons. In the first four months of 2013, agents have collected 461 firearms and 23,080 rounds of ammunition statewide and collected 84 firearms and 9,482 rounds in the Los Angeles area.