State agents confiscate firearms at Fresno-area homes where ex-felons and the mentally unstable live, and a former Fresno City College instructor convicted of fighting with a student says he would rather go to jail than serve 90 days in an adult offender program.
Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers at fresnobee.com.
Taking away guns
What happened: Agents of the state Department of Justice's Armed Prohibited Persons System visited Fresno homes to confiscate guns. California is the only state to use a program like APPS, which cross-references five databases to find people who legally purchased handguns and registered assault weapons since 1996 with people banned from owning or possessing firearms, including ex-felons and people deemed to be mentally unstable.
What it means: Agents say they are understaffed, but they are likely to get some help soon. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed legislation to use a $24 million surplus from funds paid during firearms purchases to hire as many as 36 more agents.
What readers said:
"Few have a problem with convicted felons losing rights, but California has gone well beyond this. Not only have they extended their laws to those convicted of misdemeanors but also those of whom, a judge or sheriff decides in his opinion, has a mental problem. Your neighbor could claim you are depressed and suicidal and a judge can order your rights stripped. If you don't have a problem with this, I have to ask, is your brown shirt a button up or a more stylish polo?"
— Matthew Nehrling
"I am proud of Governor Brown for taking a stand against criminals who illegally possess guns. I don't understand why the NRA supports a criminal's right to bear arms. What part of illegal don't they understand? The NRA used to say that we had too many guns laws and that we need to enforce the ones we have on the books. Now, they appear to support anarchy. What happened to the NRA that I grew up with?"
— Curtis T. Wilson
"Oh, I don't disagree completely. But, every time some nutjob walks into a McDonalds and starts blasting away and we find out that psychiatrists knew they were likely to pop... we (as a nation) wonder, "Why wasn't something done?". This is the ugly sister of common sense."
— Hugh Dalton
"I hope they never come to my house. I'd give them all the ammo I could."
— Vincent Padia
No jail time
What happened: Former Fresno City College instructor Brian Calhoun was sentenced to 90 days in an adult offender program, plus three years of probation, for fighting with a female student.
What it means: Calhoun says he would have rather gotten a 90-day jail sentence and plans to appeal his conviction. He maintains he didn't get a fair trial because "the judge hated my guts."
What readers said:
"If he is sorry to have lost his job, maybe — at 69 years old — he ought to learn how to control his temper. Apparently his temper has always been an issue."
— Harry Kargenian
"If he get 90 days, the girl should get 180 days, she's the ignorant vulgar-mouth person who caused it!"
— James Athey
"And if he had simply given a few extra minutes for students to finish their exams or been polite to the instructor of the course she would not have cussed. Once she had cussed he could have asked her instructor for her name so he could report her. For want of a nail ....... Teachers are actually expected to be able to deal professionally with students being rude, disrespectful little BRATs. Professional behavior does not involve touching said student. Its not a subtle line, its a nice, bright, shiny line. Mr. Calhoun stepped over it. That is entirely and completely on him."
— Linda Tolladay
Catching Up is compiled by Bee editors. Go to fresnobee.com/catchingup/ to comment or learn more about these stories.