Gun seizures from “armed and prohibited” gun owners are growing more common in California since last year’s launch of a new state computer system that links gun ownership records with a database of people who are banned from keeping them, reports the Contra Costa Times. Nearly 70,000 people statewide either kept their guns in violation of state law, or records of their sale or transfer were never entered properly. With the new Armed and Prohibited Persons System (APPS), the number of state investigations has risen nearly fourfold, from about 50 a month to 190.
Its main value has been to identify gun owners just recently barred from keeping their weapons — those most prone to violence. “When you’re talking about people who’ve just been served with a restraining order or committed crimes, a person’s risk of committing crime number two is highest shortly thereafter,” said Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency room doctor and head of the Violence Prevention Research Program at University of California Davis. “These are precisely the kind of people we want to not have guns.” Wintemute has helped the agents prioritize which types of barred gun owners they should seek first, because the numbers grow too fast to keep up. State figures show that nearly 800 people are added to the state system each month. Felony convictions are the No. 1 reason, followed by domestic violence restraining orders. “We’re seeing solid scientific evidence get translated into public policy,” Wintemute said. “This may well be a big part of the solution to a part of the problem.”