When Stephen Lindley, chief of the Bureau of Firearms for the state Department of Justice (DOJ) testified at a legislative hearing at the Capitol this week, lawmakers not only listened, they took action.
Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Senate President Pro Tem Darell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) introduced Senate Bill 140 which will help special agents disarm more than 19,700 people who are prohibited from having a firearm because they are felons or are mentally ill.
"As an association that represents 7,000 public safety professionals, including special agents, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) fully supports SB140, " said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "SB140 addresses the Armed Prohibitive Persons System (APPS) and a backlog of more than 19,700 people that should be disarmed because of felony convictions or mental illness. This backlog is the result of funding cuts and staff shortages and SB140 turns that around."
Lindley reported the list of "armed prohibited people" in California grows by about 15 to 20 people each day. There are now more than 19,700 armed prohibited people in California and it is believed they are in possession of more than 34,000 hand guns and 1,590 assault weapons.
SB140 amends the Budget Act of 2012 by revising an item of appropriation for the DOJ relating to APPS.
"Currently there are 33 special agents working to take away firearms from those who, by law, shouldn't have them," said Barcelona. "Adding agents to the Bureau of Firearms would certainly work to eliminate the backlog. Now, more than ever, we have witnessed the need for this type of enforcement."