CA Lawmakers Approve Funds to Take Guns from Disqualified Owners

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California SB 140
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On Thursday, the California Legislature approved the allocation of $24 million to speedup the process of rounding up guns from owners who have been convicted of criminal activity or because of mental illness. The bill, SB 140, passed the Assembly with bipartisan support, 57-10.

SB 140 commits $24 million to the Armed Prohibited Persons Program, headed by the California Department of Justice. The purpose of the program is to compare databases of gun buyers in the state to those of convicted criminals who are now ineligible to own firearms

Many lawmakers, including the bill’s author, Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), believe there is an urgent need for additional special agents to respond to the estimated 20,000 people who were once able to purchase guns legally, but are now disqualified because of violent criminal convictions.

“We are fortunate in California to have the first and only system in the nation that tracks and identifies individuals who at one time made legal purchases of firearms but are now barred from possessing them,” Sen. Leno said in a statement.

“However, due to a lack of resources, only a few of these illegally possessed weapons have been confiscated, and the mountain of firearms continues to grow each day. This legislation makes a significant reinvestment in our state’s unique tracking system to help eliminate this troubling backlog of illegal weapons and protect public safety in our communities.”

Opponents of the bill argue it amounts to an unconstitutional tax because it uses a surplus of fees on gun buyers that is meant to fund background checks to provide additional funding for the seizure program.

“This fee is not for this purpose,” said Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee), who was one of the ten Assembly members who voted against SB 140. “It’s an illegal law. This bill will be tied up in court for years.”

The bill, which requires a two-thirds vote, was approved unanimously by the Senate last month. It will return to the chamber for concurrence on amendments before it can move on to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

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3 comments
Michael Higham
Michael Higham

I'm curious as to how the money used to administer the law would be accounted for, as to address Asm. Jones' concerns. CA seems to be moving fast when it comes to lawmaking as new issues come about, like tech-privacy issues.

Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier

keeping guns out of convicted criminals hands seems like a good idea but i dont know if the execution is completely thought out here

Jen
Jen

This is a very slippery slope, now confiscating weapons from citizens who may or may not be competent/capable.. It mentions "criminals and mentally unstable". Where are the descriptions for who is defined as "disqualified"? Who is making those decisions, and doesn't that seem like an awful lot of power for one person, or a small group of people? Seems pretty broad and sweeping in my opinion. Having the ability to disarm large segments of the population at whim, without any real solid evidence as to why? I can claim half the country is mentally disabled, merely by examining their voting records, finances, etc, but that doesn't mean they are legitimate threats, does it?