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FRESNO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms Special Agents have removed more than 500 firearms from a single individual that is legally barred from owning them and is in the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database. Through this operation, agents seized 209 handguns, 88 shotguns, 234 rifles, 181 standard capacity magazines, 10 high capacity magazines, 100,521 rounds of various ammunition, and 10 assault weapons including a .50 caliber bolt action rifle. The individual, from Clovis, is on the APPS database due to a prior mental health hold, which prohibits an individual from possessing firearms. The individual was arrested for illegally possessing the firearms.
This operation, as well as ongoing and day-to-day investigations have reduced the number of individuals in APPS to a historic low. Since November 2013, Attorney General Harris has brought the number of individuals in the registry down by nearly half. Over the last two years, the California Department of Justice has doubled the average number of guns seized annually and increased the number of investigations per month by nearly 300%, allowing special agents to conduct 17,465 investigations as of October 30, 2015.
“Removing firearms from dangerous and violent individuals who pose a threat to themselves and the public is a top priority for the California Department of Justice,” said Attorney General Harris. “I thank our Bureau of Firearms Special Agents for their bravery in carrying out these dangerous investigations and their commitment to keeping our communities safe.”
In October, California Department of Justice Special Agents and the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department conducted an APPS operation that resulted in the seizure of 82 firearms and 10 arrests. In May, California Department of Justice Special Agents and local law enforcement partners in Los Angeles County conducted a similar successful operation that resulted in the seizure of 254 firearms, 48,000 rounds of ammunition, and 18 illegal high capacity magazines, as well as the arrest of 26 individuals.
In 2011, Attorney General Harris sponsored SB 819 (Leno) to allow the Department of Justice to use existing regulatory fees collected by gun dealers (“DROS fees”) for purposes of regulatory and enforcement activities related to firearms, including management of APPS. This went into effect January 2012. In 2013, Attorney General Harris sponsored SB 140 (Leno) to appropriate $24 million in funding from the DROS Account to help support the APPS program; this urgency legislation went into effect immediately in May 2013.
APPS works to identify individuals who previously procured firearms, but later became barred from legally owning them because they were convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, placed under a domestic violence restraining order, or suffer from serious mental illness. California is the first and only state in the U.S. to establish an automated system for tracking handgun and assault weapon owners who might fall into a prohibited status.