“During the month of September, Los Angeles County D.I.S.A.R.M. teams conducted 1,062 searches which resulted in the arrest of 134 probationers, the seizure of over $111 million in illegal drugs and drug money and 38 weapons, including 17 handguns, 1 assault rifle and 10 shotguns,” scvnews.com reports. Just in case you’re wondering what that clever yet deeply foreboding acronym stands for it’s . . .
Developing Increased Safety through Arms Recovery Management. They’ve been busy boys.
In conjunction with local law enforcement, probation officers conduct searches of probationers who, as a condition of probation, are subject to unannounced searches targeting guns, drugs and other contraband. Over 12 percent of probationers searched in this program were out of compliance with the terms of their probation.
So 88 percent of those targeted weren’t “out of compliance.” Or at least weren’t caught out of compliance.
But surely this endeavor is a good thing? That depends on whether or not you like the idea of a law enforcement team dedicated to disarming people. I mean, why isn’t this felon weapons check thing the sole responsibility of probation officers working with local law enforcement? Simple . . .
SB 950, which was signed into law in 2002, established the legal authority for the state to cross-reference criminal history information with firearms possession records. In July 2003, the Department of Justice received funding to build a database of this information—the Armed and Prohibited Persons System— which became operational in 2006 and made fully available to local law enforcement in 2007.
From this intrusion into firearms records – which Second Amendment supporters rightfully content shouldn’t exist in the first place – the Department of Justice’s D.I.S.A.R.M. teams were born.
They don’t just check up on convicted felons, either. Some 96 agents scour the Golden State for anyone on the Armed and Prohibited Persons (APP) list. That list includes any citizen who’s had their right to keep and bear arms “revoked.” People who used to own guns but are now the subject of a mental health commitment, a restraining order, a domestic violence restraining order, or a misdemeanor conviction that prohibits them from possessing firearms (e.g. some drug offenses). Back in February 2013, latimes.com reported . ..
There are more than 19,700 people on the state’s Armed Prohibited Persons database. Collectively, they own about 39,000 guns. About 3,000 people are added to the list each year.
Clearing the backlog would cost $40 million to $50 million, according to Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. She estimated that once the backlog is cleared, fielding teams large enough to keep up with people added to the list would cost about $14 million a year.
That’s a lot of folks. A group whose number could expand further should California lawmakers so desire. Which they did, enacting the new-for-2014 Gun Violence Restraining Order (where a judge can remove a citizen’s gun rights without due process). [NB: Harris also got her $14m.] You see the problem here? If not consider this . . .
The D.I.S.A.R.M. team doesn’t use judge-approved search warrants when they “investigate” people on the APP list. They use the power of persuasion (i.e., showing-up at a suspect’s door in full tactical regalia) to convince suspects to come clean and/or allow them to search their premises. A visit which surely has a negative effect on the suspects’ rep in their neighborhood or workplace, where D.I.S.A.R.M. agents do not fear to tread.
So what if, in its infinite wisdom, the California legislature decides that D.I.S.A.R.M. agents should knock on gun owners’ doors to see if their [perfectly legal] guns are safely stored? Or ask if owners happen to have any firearms not on the approved list? May I check your AR-15 to see if it’s in compliance with regulations regarding the “bullet button”? Etc.
Basically, if you have a D.I.S.A.R.M. team, they will disarm people. And once they finish disarming the people who need disarming, they will start disarming – or at least checking up on – other people. “You know what? We’ve fulfilled our statutory responsibilities. We’re done!” Said no government agency ever. In short, D.I.S.A.R.M. teams are a bad idea from start to finish. And end whose arrival is not assured.