Report 2013-103 Recommendation 24 Responses

Report 2013-103: Armed Persons With Mental Illness: Insufficient Outreach From the Department of Justice and Poor Reporting From Superior Courts Limit the Identification of Armed Persons With Mental Illness (Release Date: October 2013)

Recommendation #24 To: Justice, Department of

To ensure that timely information is available for its efforts to identify armed prohibited persons and confiscate their firearms, Justice should manage staff priorities to meet both its statutory deadline for firearms background checks and its internal deadline for initially reviewing potential prohibited persons. Justice should report annually to the Legislature about the backlog of unreviewed potential prohibited persons and what factors have prohibited it from efficiently reviewing these persons.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The Department was successful in identifying funding that allowed for the hiring of additional staff in both the APPS and Dealer Record Of Sale (DROS) Units, thereby increasing the Department's ability to meet both the DROS statutory processing requirements and internal processing deadlines for reviewing potentially prohibited persons. The APPS Unit added one additional Criminal Identification Specialist II (in the recruitment phase of hiring), and two additional Criminal Identification Specialist I positions (filled). DROS has added an additional 12 Criminal Identification Specialist II positions. As positions become vacant, the Department actively recruits to fill the vacancies in DROS and/or APPS.

With the passage of AB 1999, and implemented January 1, 2017, California Penal Code section 30020 was added, in part, to read: (a) The Department of Justice shall complete an initial review of a match in the daily queue of the Armed Prohibited Persons System within seven days of the match being placed in the queue and shall periodically reassess whether the department can complete those reviews more efficiently.

The Department continues to make every effort to review all Prohibited Triggering Events (PTE) within the seven days of hitting the queue. Since January 10, 2017, the Department has not exceeded the seven-day mandated review of the daily queue of APPS. The ten days the Department was unable to achieve this mandate was due to unprecedented DROS transactions in the latter portion of 2016 (over 1.3 million DROS transaction in 2016).

  • Completion Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2016

The Department has been successful in identifying funding that will allow for the hiring of additional staff in both the APPS and DROS Units, thereby increasing the Department's ability to meet both the DROS statutory processing requirements and internal processing deadlines for reviewing potentially prohibited persons. The APPS Unit added one additional Criminal Identification Specialist II (in the recruitment phase of hiring), and two additional Criminal Identification Specialist I positions (filled). DROS has added an additional 12 Criminal Identification Specialist II positions. The Department is actively recruiting to fill the remaining 8 vacancies in DROS. The Department is set to administer a new exam for the Criminal Identification Specialist II classification in the November/December 2016. Once the new list is established, the Department believes that all vacancies will be filled.

The Department continues to review all Prohibited Triggering Events (PTE) within a few days of hitting the queue. The PTE queue has remained under the 400-600 daily count recommended by BSA. With the additional staffing, the Department does not believe there will be a backlog, however, should circumstances beyond our control create a backlog, the Department will report to the Legislature annually (March of each year) with a status of unreviewed potential prohibited persons and any factors that have prevented the review of these individuals.

  • Completion Date: April 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending

In a follow-up discussion, Justice confirmed that it has not yet reported in writing to the Legislature about the backlog of potential prohibited persons. Further, we determined that Justice could not corroborate its claim that it reviews all PTEs within a few days. Accordingly, this recommendation remains pending.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2015

The Department has been successful in filling all vacancies in the Background Clearance Unit. Additionally, the Department received approval to hire an additional CIS II (the candidate is currently undergoing the mandatory Division of Law Enforcement background). Furthermore, the Department has worked with Budget staff to identify funding that will allow for the hiring of additional staff in both the APPS and DROS Units, thereby increasing the Department's ability to meet both the DROS statutory processing requirements and internal processing deadlines for reviewing potentially prohibited persons. It is expected that the advertisement of these positions will be completed in October 2015, and that the positions will be filled by March 2016.

The Department will report to the Legislature annually (March of each year) with a status about the backlog of unreviewed potential prohibited persons and any factors that have prevented the review of these individuals.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


1-Year Agency Response

The Department continues its efforts to hire personnel to work the backlog; however we continue to face challenges of finding well-qualified candidates. Existing staff routinely work overtime to ensure statutory deadlines are met for firearms background checks, and analysts working in other sections are redirected as necessary. Since July 2014, enforcement teams have worked 7,839 cases and seized 3,969 firearms.

The Department continues to gather the necessary information to meet the reporting requirements mandated by Senate Bill 140 and will comply with the due date of March 2015 and then annually thereafter.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 2015
  • Response Date: October 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

The Department has been attempting to hire personnel to work the backlog; however, our efforts have been hampered by a lack of qualified candidates. As we continue in our hiring efforts, the workload assignment for existing staff is adjusted as needed and overtime is routinely worked to ensure the statutory deadline for firearms background checks is met.

In the mean time, the Department is currently gathering all of the information needed to meet the reporting requirements mandated by Senate bill 140 and will comply with the due date of March 2015 and then annually thereafter.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 2015
  • Response Date: April 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

As stated in the Department's October 10, 2013 response to the BSA Audit, the Department will comply with this reporting requirement in March 2015, as outlined in Senate Bill 140 which was signed into law in May 1, 2013.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 2015
  • Response Date: December 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2013-103

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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