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June 21, 2011 > Gun seizures from mentally unstable and others

Gun seizures from mentally unstable and others

Submitted By the Office of the Attorney General

A statewide sweep has seized 1,209 firearms from individuals legally barred from possessing them, including persons determined to be mentally unstable and those with active restraining orders. The six-week sweep gathered three times as many firearms when such action was last taken in 2007.

"Seizing guns from felons, gang members and other prohibited persons is the kind of smart, proactive law enforcement that makes a difference to Californians' daily lives," said Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on June 16, 2011. "We're all safer thanks to the sworn officers who carried out this sweep and I'm committed to strengthening this program."

In the recently concluded sweep, the second statewide Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) effort, 99 agents from the Department of Justice (DOJ) not only recovered firearms but also seized 155,731 rounds of ammunition and two grenades.

To clear the APPS backlog of approximately 34,000 handguns, Harris is the sponsor of Senate Bill 819, which would revise the penal code to expand the use of existing regulatory fees collected by gun dealers to pay for the APPS program.

The bill would also allow the DOJ to recruit new agents and offer training to local law enforcement agencies in support of the APPS program.

"SB 819 addresses a troubling blind spot in our enforcement of existing firearms laws," said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco, author of SB 819. "Innocent lives have been lost because we allow guns to be in the hands of known criminals, gang members and people who have serious mental illnesses. Increased confiscation of these unlawfully-possessed firearms will help prevent future crimes and result in cost savings to the state due to avoided prosecution and incarceration."

The renewed focus on the APPS program is part of a series of targeted law enforcement programs designed to reduce the reach of transnational gangs trafficking in guns, drugs and human beings across California. The June 16 announcement follows closely on the heels of a series of major gang take-downs, including the arrests of 101 individuals in the Central Valley.

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