Gun control laws don’t work.
Yet politicians eager to curb Americans’ Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” keep pushing for tighter laws to grab more guns.
How’s that for a bureaucratic phrase?
The APPS data “identify criminals who are prohibited from possessing firearms subsequent to the legal acquisition of firearms or registration of assault weapons.” In English, they’re felons or others who previously had bought guns, but were banned from owning them. Yet they continued to hold the guns, or are suspected of having them.
“The APPS program”—weirdly defined by the AG as a system and a program—“is a highly sophisticated investigative tool that provides law enforcement agencies with information about gun owners who are legally prohibited from possessing firearms.”
APPS was actually started by Republicans with Senate Bill 950 in 2001, by Senate Minority Leader Jim Brulte (later party chairman). It passed unanimously in both houses and was signed by then-governor Gray Davis.
Trying to get ahead of the curve on crime issues, Republicans periodically decry the backlog of APPS cases, a safe way to seem tough on crime while not directly offending their pro-gun constituency. One example was a 2018 letter by the Senate GOP Caucus to then-attorney general Xavier Becerra (now a U.S. Senator), blasting him for allowing 10,226 delinquent cases.
SB 950’s Senate floor analysis from 2001 actually explained it in clear language: “This bill will provide a way for law enforcement to find out which proven felons are still possessing weapons.”
And it provided the reason: “The Attorney General [Bill Lockyer, the powerful former Senate majority leader] is sponsoring the bill in the wake of the mass slaying in February 2000 at Navistar’s International Truck and Engine Plant in Melrose Place, Illinois. In that case, the murderer was a twice-convicted felon who had previously, before his convictions, purchased firearms. Thus, even though he was prohibited and in possession of firearms, there was no way for law enforcement to find out and he was left to commit murder.
“The bill was brought to the [attorney general] at the urging of law enforcement agencies in the state and it will provide them with a tool that will disarm these proven law-breakers before they can break the law again. If the state is going to find that some people are too dangerous to possess a gun, then we should make it as easy as possible for law enforcement to ensure that these laws are enforced.”
By John Seiler