California falls behind in seizing guns from people who shouldn’t have them

California falls behind in seizing guns from people who shouldn't have them

The list of California gun owners banned from possessing them grew last year to a record size, as the backlog of cases in a state program to seize the firearms surged by 17% during the coronavirus pandemic. Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press SACRAMENTO — The list of California gun owners banned from possessing their weapons grew last year to a record size, as the backlog of cases in a state program to seize the firearms surged by 17% during the coronavirus pandemic. The state Justice Department reported Thursday that it was actively trying to remove guns from 9,083 people at the beginning of 2021, an increase of 1,336 over the prior year — though fewer than in 2019 , when Gov. Gavin Newsom significantly increased funding for the unique state confiscation program to help clear an enduring backlog. Field teams of special agents seize weapons from gun owners who are convicted of certain crimes or become subject to a mental health hold or domestic violence restraining order. The department said it was forced to dramatically scale back enforcement last year because of the pandemic, and removed one-third fewer names from the confiscation list than in 2019. People are removed from the list when special agents seize their weapons or determine they’ve already given them up. Because of the pandemic, “sustaining prior levels of investigations posed unacceptable infection risks,” the Justice Department wrote in its annual report about the program. As a result, the database of prohibited gun owners is […]

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