117,000 rounds of ammunition,
11,072 illegal high capacity magazines
That is what special agents with the California Department of Justice (DOJ) seized in just 11 months this year from people who are legally barred from having firearms due to mental or criminal issues.
"You don't want weapons in the wrong hands, " said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "We've experienced too much of that, too much tragedy. Our members who are special agents with DOJ have the very dangerous task of taking weapons away from those who, based on their mental instability or criminal past, might take innocent lives. I commend our special agents and Attorney General Harris for targeting this issue."
According to the Attorney General's office, 33 DOJ agents used a database to identify people who, by law, are prohibited from owning guns. Those people include convicted felons, people with active restraining orders and those found to be mentally unstable. Most of the more than 2,000 weapons seized were uncovered during two 6-week gun sweeps.
"It is a difficult and dangerous job," said Association of Special Agents(ASA)-DOJ Director Anthony Valente. "On behalf of ASA, we're thankful for our agents and the work they do. They're dealing with the mentally ill, felons, those convicted of domestic violence and those with restraining orders, all armed when they shouldn't be. There's a tremendous amount of work to be done and there's no question we need more special agents to combat this troubling issue."
Agents used the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database which 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. California is the first and only state in the nation to establish this type of system.
In a DOJ press release Attorney General Harris said, "California has clear laws determining who can possess firearms based on their threat to public safety. 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."