By Tom Knighton
California has some of the most strict gun control laws in the country, yet despite the laws, it seems that thousands of Californians who shouldn’t own firearms, do. At least, that’s what the Los Angeles Times notes in their story on the situation.
In response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut five years ago, outraged California lawmakers launched a crackdown within months of the tragedy that has seized 18,000 firearms, including assault rifles, from thousands of people convicted of felonies, subject to domestic violence restraining orders or judged by the courts to be severely mentally ill.
But a surge in gun sales and a reduction in funding for the program has stymied efforts by the state Department of Justice to eliminate a backlog of people in California who have firearms and shouldn’t. Approximately 10,226 people remain on a list of Californians who legally purchased guns but were later disqualified from possessing them
Now, a new law is giving law enforcement officials hope that greater headway can be made in disarming Californians who are ineligible to own guns.
“Significantly, it means we finally have a process in place to ensure that dangerous, convicted criminals are forced to get rid of their guns,” said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who sponsored the new law as part of Proposition 63, a ballot measure that also included background checks on ammunition purchases and banned the sale of large-capacity firearm magazines. It was approved by voters in 2016.
In 2006, California became the first state in the nation to create a database that cross-references firearms purchasers against a list of people convicted of crimes, or who are subject to mental health judgments or domestic violence restraining orders that prohibit them from possessing guns.
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