With the nation once again facing a horrific mass shooting and renewing conversations about gun control, the California Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday it had taken more than 2,000 firearms away from prohibited users in the state over the last year.
Utilizing the Armed Prohibited Persons System database, agents from the California Department of Justice seized 2,033 firearms, 117,000 rounds of ammunition, and 11,072 illegal high capacity magazines from prohibited individuals between Jan. 1 to Nov. 30 of this year.
The APPS database cross-references five databases to find people who legally purchased handguns and registered assault weapons since 1996 with people who are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. The database was completed in November 2006, and the first statewide sweep was conducted in 2007.
The people in the system prohibited from possessing guns include convicted felons, individuals with active restraining orders, and those determined to be mentally unstable.
“California has clear laws determining who can possess firearms based on their threat to public safety,” said Attorney General Kamala Harris. “Enforcing those laws is crucial because we have seen the terrible tragedies that occur when guns are in the wrong hands. This program is an important part of our law enforcement work and I thank all of the agents who work so hard every day to keep our communities safe.”
The majority of firearms were seized during two 6-week sweeps. The first statewide sweep targeted individuals prohibited because of mental health issues and the second focused on people with legally registered assault weapons who were later prohibited from owning them.
In 2011, Attorney General Harris sponsored legislation to increase funding for the Department of Justice’s APPS program through the use of existing regulatory fees collected by gun dealers. Senate Bill 819 passed in June 2011 and became law on Jan. 1.
California is the first and only state in the nation to establish an automated system for tracking handgun and assault weapon owners who might fall into a prohibited status.