A better approach to gun control

By Ron Peterka

A lot of outcry against gun ownership has risen recently, especially after the Newtown, Conn., shooting. A lot of folks don’t seem to know that California already has a relatively unknown gun control program that is far more rational that just outlawing a particular type of weapon, although that process defines an illegal weapon.

Currently a person can purchase a perfectly legal weapon and at some time in the future be convicted of a felony which prohibits possessing a gun. A person can purchase a gun and later have a mental meltdown, or a restraining order prohibiting gun possession can be issued to a person who might be a registered gun owner.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has initiated a program named the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS), which compares each new felony conviction, restraining order, or mental instability incident to the state gun registry, and a deputy contacts that person physically as soon as possible to verify that the gun has been removed from that person or it is confiscated. No legal gun owner is inconvenienced and no legally owned weapons are confiscated.

In 2012, the attorney general ordered two six-week sweeps, the first aimed at incidents of mental instability, and the second against newly convicted felons. The results were astounding! A total of 2,033 guns, 117,000 rounds of ammunition, and 11,072 illegal high capacity magazines were confiscated.

The data base is available to local police departments who can check suspects who are found with a gun against the APPS data base in moments. If this APPS data base were a national database, then instead of 2,000 guns in one year, we could remove many thousands of guns from the hands of those who reasonably might be expected to use them in commission of a crime.

I first heard of this program on a PBS radio program, but there doesn’t seem to be any national awareness of this program or any politician advocating anything like this, and no recognition of a similar program. So, I am writing to as many newspapers, politicians, and columnists to make them aware of what I consider a very rational and reasonable program .

I really don’t believe banning one or another type of gun, ammo, or magazine will be as effective as getting in the face of someone who is not allowed to possess a firearm and verifying it.

Ron Peterka is a Ramona resident.

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Feb 1 2013. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

4 Comments for “A better approach to gun control”

  1. For people who are in treatment for depression, adhd, bipolar disorder, ptsd, schizophrenia etc ,who upon reading this might be afraid now of being reported to the APPS… this would not happen unless you are placed on a 5150 for Danger to Self, or Danger to Others or for Grave Disability ( wandering the streets with no clothes, and unable to provide yourself food , shelther, clothing) .

  2. To be clear, according to Wikipedia's information on 5150's:
    :If someone is placed on a 72-hour hold (also known as a “5150”) as a danger to themselves or others and admitted to a facility for treatment, they are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms for five years from the date of admission to the facility. (California Welfare and Institutions Code, sections 8100 – 8108)

    If someone has been placed on a 14-day hold (5250), they are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under California law, and for life under federal law. (California Welfare and Institutions Code, sections 8100 – 8108

  3. Herve Auch-Roy

    The gun issue that we are facing is not mental health evaluation, because it's all very subjective.
    The issue is not either "bad guys" versus "good guys", because even "good guys" have become a threat to other "good guys".
    It's related to the proliferation of guns, and their availability to people who, otherwise, would use their fists and a knife to assault others.

    People today acquire guns as they would acquire a camera, and treat their gun as if it was a camera, with no accountability whatsoever for the consequences of their negligence.

    Crowd gatherings such as fairs and parties are all about balancing "risk" and "reward".
    The "reward" has always been, and will continue to be, to meet other people and exchange opinions on various subjects.
    The "risk" is to be exposed to the anger of a drunk person who assaults you.
    Years ago, you would see that drunk person walk towards you and you'd have a chance to avoid their fist or their knife.
    Today, the use of gun allowed the same people to stand away at a distance and still hit you. Before you even understand that you are being targeted, you're already hit and bleeding.
    Years ago, the "reward" was higher than the "risk", and the risk of getting in the middle of a fight was manageable.
    Today, the proliferation of guns is such that the risk far exceeds the reward, and has become unmanageable because of the fire power available to each and everyone.
    It's very naive to believe that a gun at your belt will prevent you from being hit; it may even make you the preferred target of the shooter (see http://www.npr.org/2013/01/29/170456129/armed-goo....

    The reality is that the proliferation of guns has turned America in an gigantic unsafe environment for its own population, where American people have become a threat to each other. The result is that the freedom of some have over thrown the freedom of others; more and more people don't participate in crowd gatherings anymore by fear of getting caught in the middle of a shooting, hurting both communities and businesses (except the gun industry).

    The "Gun Appreciation Day" is a perfect example of this: despite high security measures and the goal of peaceful gatherings to demonstrate gun safety, 5 people have been wounded by gunshots. On the other hand, nobody was hurt during the nationwide gatherings of pro-gun control people, who didn't bring along guns.
    When you put a gun in any environment, you make this environment unsafe for everyone.

  4. Dwayne

    Felon's and 5150's should not only be denied access to weapons, but they should not be allowed to live in a home that has them either (Family members or Friends).

    When I lived back in North Carolina and at times here in California back in the late 90's, I used to open carry my pistol. I was never seen as a threat nor a target from anyone.

    While TV and Movies are not reality, even if we do get rid of Gun and reduce their numbers by say 70%, we will always find more exotic ways to kill (Poison, High Explosives, Cars, Bows & Arrows. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/01/30/nj-man-charged-with-killing-another-using-bow-and-arrow-after-fistfight/).

    "I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it." – Clint Eastwood

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