CALIFORNIA — Recent increases in budget and staff are enabling California cops to escalate their efforts to confiscate guns from people the state has deemed to be “Prohibited Persons” — people living amongst the public whom the state has decided, for one reason for another, are not deserving of exercising all of the inalienable rights enumerated in the Constitution. Victims of these disturbing raids describe how residents are met with overwhelming numbers of cops, frightened into letting the cops into their homes, and in at least some cases, are forced to the ground with guns pointed in their faces while police seize their property.
In 2001, Bill SB950 was passed in California and it created the Armed & Prohibited Persons System, or AAPS. The AAPS system cross-references five databases in order to find people who legally purchased firearms and are now prohibited from owning them, and then taking these handguns and registered assault rifles from them during home and workplace visits by armed agents. Opponents say AAPS largely targets non-violent citizens and is actually a ruse to confiscate weapons in cases without merit.
Beginning in 2007, California officials, in conjunction with the California Department of Justice and California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, began compiling names from court records, medical facilities, and lists of known or wanted criminals, then cross-referenced them against the federal instant criminal background check system for gun-buyers with the intention of confiscating them during armed raids.
California’s gun seizure list has about 20,000 names on it, according to NPR. Across the country, gun grabbers have as many as 200,000 Americans targeted for being forcibly disarmed by the state.
Last year California’s gun seizure teams confiscated 2,000 guns from residents of California. Governor Scott Brown has decided to increase the number of gun seizure agents by more than double, according to NPR, dumping an additional $24,000,000 into the disarmament project, in a state with a budget already in the red.
Although at first glance this first in the country program seems reasonable to some, many of the people whom end up on this list do not know they are on it in the first place, aren’t dangerous or violent criminals, and could have their legal rights reinstated by filing paperwork. While there are certainly arrests made of violent criminals during these sweeps, the majority are not.
Often under the guise of a “probation search,” in which citizens convicted of even misdemeanor crimes are forced to give up their Fourth Amendment rights, agents show up at people’s homes and workplaces and perform otherwise illegal search and seizures. This has amounted to nothing less than “gun confiscation under the guise of safety” according to former DOJ Special Agent, Greg Cameron, in an interview with Ginny Simone. Special Agent, Greg Cameron goes on to say, “95% to 98% of the firearms we confiscated, I really questioned why we were confiscating them.” California Attorney General, Kamala Harris is also quoted on camera saying, “I’m not sending my agents out, just one or two of them; that is a potentially very dangerous situation for them, so we send out at least a half a dozen at any one time.” Special Agent Cameron then counters this statement by saying the following:
“We would show up with way too many agents for the circumstance, and it didn’t make any sense; there was no need for it. And yeah, the whole place would be surrounded, and absolutely, there’s an intimidation factor there that makes people allow — or think that they need to allow — law enforcement into their house. And if we found out there were guns in the house, then we would confiscate them. I think it is, overbroad, overreaching. I think it’s it’s confiscation under the guise of safety. That’s absolutely what I think it is. And I think this is the crux of the whole issue. You need to know what you can and can’t do when confronted with law enforcement, especially in your own home. I mean, that’s the premise of the Fourth Amendment. The APPS cases, armed prohibited persons systems’ cases does absolutely nothing to curtail crime.”
To highlight what former Special Agent Greg Cameron said, we have an Infowars’ interview with Joe Mendez. Mr. Mendez had police shove two M16’s just inches from his face during an unlawful raid on his house because of his legally-purchased firearms. A total of fourteen officers were involved. In his own words, Mr. Mendez states, “Immediately I’ve got two M-16 machine gun rifles within five inches from my face on both sides. One cop came up with his gun in my face and the other one proceeded to put my hands behind my back – conducted a raid on my house and put me under arrest for the sole purpose of owning and possessing assault rifles, which were legal to own. They illegally came about 14 agents deep and lured me out of my house. They concocted a story and they told my wife in the morning when she woke up – a phony CHP car shows up and tells my wife, “hey, your car was involved in a hit and run last night. We’re taking a report.”
To emphasize the mental health aspect of the system, Lynette Phillips of Upland and her husband, David, had three of their guns seized by agents. Phillips said her husband used the guns for recreation, Bloomberg.com reported. She didn’t blame the attorney general’s agents for taking the guns based on the information they had, she said. “I do feel I have every right to purchase a gun,” Phillips said. “I’m not a threat. We’re law-abiding citizens.” Mrs. Phillips is correct. Under the Bill of Rights, and the Second Amendment, the government has no authority to infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms.
California has become the testing grounds for these programs and Kamala Harris is pushing for this program to be adopted nationwide, “What do we do about the guns that are already in the hands of persons who, by law, are considered too dangerous to possess them?” Harris said in a letter to Vice President Joe Biden after the highly suspect Sandy Hook shootings. She recommended that Biden, heading a White House review of gun policy, consider California as a national model.
After President Obama’s recent comments about her at a Democratic National Campaign fundraising lunch, and the rumor she could be tapped as a Supreme Court replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who said she will depart the bench some time during Obama’s second term, U.S. citizens should be taking note and rightfully concerned.
This is a very troubling precedent. It needs to be emphasized that if some people can be put on a No-Rights List — named as “Prohibited Persons” by the state — then our supposedly inalienable rights have been turned into state-issued privileges that can be denied at the state’s discretion. The Bill of Rights is under assault by our plutocracy, and without citizen intervention, it may soon be called “The Bill of Right” – singular – as in we’ll only have one left.