California gun confiscation system: Disarming peaceful citizens, ignoring Elliot Rodger


by J.E. Dyer

If there’s one person the California “Armed and Prohibited Persons System” (APPS) was supposed to keep disarmed, it was Elliot Rodger.

Rodger had been under the care of multiple mental health professionals for years, according to his parents. He was known to his family and these professionals to have serious mental problems. His parents warned law enforcement about the strange, threatening videos Rodger made in the weeks before he went on a rampage. Rodger was even visited by sheriff’s deputies in the week before he attacked and killed six people, and then himself in the fight with police.

Elliot Rodger, 22, legally purchased the guns he used to kill three of the victims in his attack. (He killed the other three with a knife.) The APPS program was intended to cross-check exactly such circumstances: legally purchased, registered guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t or probably shouldn’t have them, due to either prior felony convictions or a record of mental health problems. (The “probably” qualifier is problematic in the matter of a constitutional right, but that argument is a whole separate post – relating largely to what process should be used to make the determination, and how the citizen’s rights are to be upheld in the process.)

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