Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

California Senate Republicans Want More Oversight For Prohibited Gun List

California Senate Republicans Want More Oversight For Prohibited Gun List
California Senate Republicans Want More Oversight For Prohibited Gun List GUEST: Sen. Joel Anderson, 38th District

>>> This allows the state to confiscate weapons from people who have legally bought guns but have been barred because of a conviction or mental illness. Senate Republicans are asking once again in-depth review of the act program. There is a backlog of over 10,000 names on the list, despite millions of dollars have been allocated to the program. Joining me State Senator Joe and, vice chair of the public safety committee. Anderson represents [ Indiscernible ] and La Mesa. Senator welcome to the program. >> Thank you. >> Has been a letter submitted to the Attorney General on this matter. What do you want him to do? >> Actually it is our third letter you want to account for the money that we have given them. Explaining why we still have over 10,000 prohibited people carrying weapons within our community, when we know they have either been convicted of a crime, or mental illness. They should not have a weapon on their hands. >> On the apps program, the Senate outlines comes with the program as he sees it. The fact that there are not enough agents, problems with cooling because of paid disparities with agencies, etc., does that answer your questions? >> No. We are going through with our last [ Indiscernible ] she answered a lot of those questions. We offered suggestion, I offered suggestions, some they have taking. These are excuses. We are talking about weapons in the hands of people that are dangerous. We should not be able to need to listen to excuses. Any delay the focus on the job copy accountable to the people, and prevent violence moving forward. >> The kinds of weapons for people that are mentally ill are felons cannot own, that list has grown. Does that account for the backlog of names on the list? >> That number might be my new. -- My new. My new. It does not really change it. They started off with a handgun. There are some people that only have guns but that percentage does not account for this. I can tell you what some of the problems in the past have been, costing over $20,000 to train an officer. The job -- in the past listed as part-time. Naturally, a new recruitment gets hired and trained, they are looking for a permanent job at the DOJ. When a job opens line. They may have only been on the job, that they were initially hired for, for less next week. What I want to know and what I suggest, someone highest them from another department, take their training from their budget. Do not strip it out of this program. And that person will not be as encouraging, to hire from within, just to save $20,000 in the budget. >> That is where you see a lot of the money leaking into agencies, as these agents move into other agencies within the DOJ? >> That is correct. That came up in our first review and 25th he. I made the suggestion back then, if it is in the first year, it should be prorated and the money should go back to the department. To take $62 million, and only reduce the list by 14,000 people, that is outrageous. When you think about the cost per person it is outrageous. >> Is national team of DOJ agents, taxed with confiscating weapons copper people who can no longer own them. Some gun rights groups had tried to expose those agents identities online. I am wondering have you gone pushback from you more conservative constituents for asking long Forstmann to be more aggressive? >> Nobody wants to have a shooting on a campus. If we have criminals that are mentally ill carrying weapons, it is outrageous. Back in 2014, over 21 people that were prohibited on that list. Over 40,000 weapons. Now the weapon listed has expanded. We have over 10,000 people. And it has been 4 years later. When can taxpayers expect their money to be spent, doing what they were told it was going to be accomplished? Nobody, Republic/Democrat, Independent, nobody wants to see anyone with a mental illness with a weapon. Or someone convicted of a crime. We also understand that some people should be on the list. They are there mistakenly, and they should give an opportunity to clear the name. When you only address 400 in the last 14 months, you are not serious about your job. >> We reached out to Senate Akin's about an oversight hearing for the app program, she replied it will be placed on the agenda for the April 19 hearing of the Senate budget subcommittee number 5 on public safety. Do you have anything that you might be thinking of suggesting, to make this program more effective? >> I personally need to find out if the practices that they adopt 20. And, which improve the system, whether they are using those practices, or their old ways of squandering money. They should be no greater priority. We spend so much time suing President Trump, perhaps we should focus on people with guns in the communities. People mentally ill are felonies, who have weapons that can harm us. I get it is his job to sue Trump, but nobody is going to die might district because they feel to be successful sewing Trump. People will die. Everyone will fail to get these guns off the street. >> I have been speaking with state Senator Joel Anderson. Thank you.

All 13 California Senate Republicans called this week for joint oversight hearings for a state program designed to seize guns from people who bought them legally but were later barred from owning firearms.

The Armed Prohibited Persons System, maintained by the State of California Department of Justice, lists people who have guns but were later convicted of a felony, found mentally ill or received a restraining order. Senate Republicans said this week the state has spent $63 million since legislators learned of a backlog of 20,000 people on the list who illegally owned guns, but the backlog remains at about 10,000.

"For years, Senate Republicans have supported funding and effective implementation of the APPS system," Republicans wrote in a letter to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. "Recent tragedies across our nation emphasize the importance of protecting all Californians from the nightmare scenarios that can arise when dangerous felons and the seriously mentally ill have access to firearms. The APPS system is a critical tool in this effort. However, its utility is hampered when the data it provides is not used effectively."

A report last month from Becerra's office on the program said it has struggled to hire more agents in part because of pay disparities with other state law enforcement agencies. It also noted that while the backlog has been at about 10,000 people for the past two years, about 7,000 names get added to the list every year. In 2017, agents seized 3,685 guns and cleared 7,280 names from the database.

The Senate Republicans said they asked for oversight hearings twice before but were rebuffed by Senate Democrats. Senate President Toni Atkins said Friday the issue will be on the April 19 agenda for a budget subcommittee on public safety.

“The APPS is an important issue and well worth review and oversight," a spokesperson for Atkins wrote in an email.

“The California Department of Justice is extremely pleased that state legislators from both sides of the aisle can agree that a common sense gun safety measure, like removing firearms from individuals who should not have them, must be a top priority to prevent gun violence,” a spokesperson from the California Department of Justice wrote in an email.

Republican state Senator Joel Anderson is vice chair of the Senate's public safety committee. He represents San Marcos, Escondido, Poway, Santee, La Mesa and Lemon Grove as well as unincorporated areas of San Diego County. He joins KPBS Midday Edition on Friday with more.