In California there’s a unique program meant to keep guns out of the hands of people who aren’t allowed to own them.
It’s called the Armed Prohibited Persons System, or APPS. The program has bipartisan support and a stubborn backlog of cases. The problem will be discussed Thursday in a state Senate hearing.
People with felony convictions, a history of violence or severe mental illness lose their right to legally own a gun in California. It falls to the state to confiscate those weapons -- but there are 10,226 cases still waiting to be addressed.
State Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said that’s too many.
"This is just intolerable," she said. "We cannot be sitting here knowing that a person who shouldn't be in the possession of a gun, a firearm, still has it."
Bates and her Republican colleagues have long requested an oversight hearing into the program.
They question how money is being spent: more than $60 million since 2013.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the backlog is at its lowest point in a decade. He also said there are several reasons it still exists. Among them, he noted, a one-time bump of $24 million for the program has been spent and the state has expanded the types of guns to which APPS applies.
“As we remove people, we continue to have more who go on the list and have to be contacted to find out if they're still in possession of weapons," he said.
"It's a constant job of trying to disarm people who've lost the right to keep their weapons.”
There does seem to be growing momentum for finally eliminating the backlog.
Assembly Republicans are requesting APPS receive an additional $25 million over the next two years to clear it. But if there’s not enough progress, they want the money to go to local police departments to finish the job.