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.