Confiscating Guns, More Costly and Difficult than Legislators Think

California's door-to-door gun confiscation program on the "prohibited" runs into funding problems.


Back in 2013, as I reported then, California launched a program to literally go door to door and confiscate guns owned by people whose legal right to own them had been superseded by some later action or declaration, such as criminal convictions, restraining orders, or being adjudicated mentally ill.

Turns out that kind of pretty arbitrary, in the overwhelming majority of times utterly unhelpful for public safety, action can cost big bucks.

In May, the last $24 million allocated for the program will run out, leaving nearly 12,000 Californians still owning their guns even though the state would rather take them, as Associated Press reports. The state's gun bureaucrats want to get that number down to 8,300 by next year.

Which means, again, nearly four thousand citizens getting that ol' knock on the door by the state coming to take their weapons away. And gun controllers wonder why some people are suspicious of any form of firearm ownership registration?

Attorney General of California Kamala Harris crowed about the law and the practice in a press release last month, in which she made some overblown claims:

During the past 30 months, the Bureau of Firearms has conducted over 18,608 APPS [Armed Prohibited Persons System] cases, and has taken 335 assault weapons, 4,549 handguns, 4,848 long-guns, and 43,246 rounds of ammunition off the streets from those who illegally possessed them….

"Removing firearms from dangerous and violent individuals makes our communities safer," said Attorney General Harris…..

"Removing weapons from those on the Armed and Prohibited Persons list targets law breakers and makes our community a safer place," said Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown. 

The two above statements are very largely unproven, and it would be interesting for them to discuss how many of the people they took the weapons from had ever harmed or threatened anyone with them.

Unsurprisingly, regarding the funding issues discussed above, Attorney General Harris is proud that she:

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. In 2015, Attorney General Harris submitted a letter urging the legislature to make funding to the APPS program permanent.