Calif. Senate Republicans Call for Hearing on Gun Ownership Backlog
On Tuesday, a group of California Senate Republicans sent a letter to Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) calling for an oversight hearing to determine what led to a backlog in the state's list of individuals who are prevented from owning guns because of mental health issues, violent behavior or other issues, the Sierra Sun Times reports (Sierra Sun Times, 3/18).
California is the only state that runs a database to cross-reference certain criminal convictions, mental health records and active domestic violence restraining orders when individuals purchase firearms.
A recent report by the state attorney general found that the backlogged list decreased by less than 20% from 2013 to 2014. The report attributed the failure to further reduce the backlog to "hiring challenges" (California Healthline, 3/18).
Details of Letter
In the letter, the lawmakers requested a joint oversight hearing by the state Senate Public Safety Committee and Senate Budget Subcommittee to review the attorney general's report and the Armed Prohibited Person System as a whole (Sierra Sun Times, 3/18).
Specifically, the letter calls on the committees to:
- Investigate how 40% of the money under a law (SB 140) that increased funding for efforts to disarm individuals who are prohibited from possessing gun was spent without hiring sufficient staff members to eliminate the backlog;
- Determine the attorney general's plan for eliminating the backlog; and
- Identify why the attorney general's report omitted details of why individuals in the database are prohibited from owning a gun, which the lawmakers say is required under SB 140 (Richman, "Internal Affairs," San Jose Mercury News, 3/18).