A study released earlier this week by Stanford Law School shows that the failure of local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to correctly report arrests and crimes to state and federal databases have allowed criminals to purchase guns.
Before authorities charged Anton Lemon Paris last year with murder and attempted murder in the shooting of a Rancho Cordova sheriff’s deputy and his partner, the most serious offense on his rap sheet had been a 2010 conviction for the possession of homemade nunchucks.
Such possession is a felony in California, and a Yolo County jury further enhanced the crime, finding he also had with him a firearm and an assault weapon. But Paris was able to later obtain the gun used in the Rancho Cordova shooting because state authorities incorrectly recorded the charge as a misdemeanor on his state criminal record, as first reported by the Sacramento Bee.
Researchers say the case underscores the wide gaps in statewide criminal justice data that mistakenly allow some offenders to own firearms and unduly criminalize others.
The Stanford analysis found that up to 60% of arrest records compiled by the state’s Department of Justice are missing disposition information, including violent criminal histories that might inadvertently allow some offenders to acquire firearms. Meanwhile, no statewide standards exist for how counties should track criminal cases, arrests or inmate records, even as criminal justice reforms in recent years have shifted greater control to local sheriffs and probation departments over the incarceration of adult and juvenile offenders.
“California’s local criminal justice data infrastructure is inconsistent at best and, in some jurisdictions, almost non-existent,” the report states. “Challenges with data collection are exacerbated by the absence of statewide data definitions and other standards, which means that even where data are collected, they are often inconsistent and difficult to compare.”
It's an issue that the NRA and other pro-2nd Amendment groups repeatedly harp on as politicians promote new law after new law, while ignoring the fact that the existing laws aren't being enforced.
Let's get all the laws on the books enforced first, before going and looking for new ones to pass.