Because the P.R.K. will soon be coming after you if you've disqualified yourself from gun ownership ex post facto - for guns you bought LONG AGO.
OP-ED: Keeping our communities safe from gun violenceFebruary 18, 2013, 05:00 AM By Mark Leno One of the most basic responsibilities and expectations of government is to keep our communities safe. As the former chair of both the Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committees, public safety issues are something I have worked closely on for over a decade. While California is a national leader in gun safety and violence prevention, the recent tragedies across our nation make it clear that more must be done to keep our families and children safe from gun violence.
One important step we can take is to ensure that firearms are kept out of the hands of people who are prohibited from owning them due to criminal activity, mental illness or domestic violence. Fortunately, California is the first and only state in the nation to build an automated system for tracking handgun and assault weapon owners who pose a threat to public safety. The Armed Prohibited Persons System tracks information about individuals who legally purchased and registered firearms but have since been prohibited from possessing them due to a mental illness or felony, domestic violence or violent misdemeanor offense. The APPS program began in 2007 and has accounted for the seizure of more than 12,000 unlawfully owned weapons across the state by Department of Justice agents and local law enforcement.
Unfortunately, there are still nearly 20,000 people in California who illegally possess an estimated 40,000 handguns and assault weapons, and this list grows by about 15 to 20 people each day. In San Francisco and Daly City alone, 172 people who once made legal purchases of guns now own them illegally due to subsequent issues that disqualify them from possessing weapons.
To address the growing backlog of people on the APPS list, I recently introduced Senate Bill 140, which is jointly authored by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. SB 140 will directly fund the hiring and training of more investigators who can aggressively enforce the APPS system and take more guns out of the hands of people who should not own them. The bill expands upon my previous legislation that helped the Department of Justice confiscate illegally-possessed weapons. With only 33 agents tasked with disarming individuals who have lost the right to own a gun, state and local law enforcement officials simply do not have the resources needed to confiscate the enormous backlog of weapons, nor can they keep up with the daily influx of newly-prohibited persons.
SB 140 builds on legislation I authored in 2011 that was sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris. That bill allowed the Department of Justice to hire eight new agents dedicated to reducing the number of illegally owned firearms across the state. Thanks in part to this legislation, law enforcement authorities last year seized more than 2,000 firearms, 117,000 rounds of ammunition and 11,072 illegal high-capacity magazines in targeted sweeps.
The recent mass shootings across our nation have prematurely ended the lives of young children, torn families apart and threatened the vitality of our communities. We must act now to help put a stop to this senseless violence. I am committed to working with my colleagues in the Legislature, the Department of Justice and Gov. Jerry Brown to continue our fight for common sense solutions to keep illegally-possessed guns off our streets.
If you would like more information about SB 140 or our legislative work, please contact our San Francisco office by phone at (415) 557-1300 or by email atSenator.Leno@senate.ca.gov. You can also find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Mark.Leno.CA and Twitter at @MarkLeno.
Mark Leno represents the 11th Senate District of California, which includes San Francisco, Broadmoor, Colma, Daly City, and portions of South San Francisco.
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