SACRAMENTO -- The California Senate approved a $24-million expenditure on Thursday to speed the confiscation of guns from people who have been disqualified from owning firearms because of criminal convictions or serious mental illness.
Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said budget cuts to the Department of Justice have hampered a program that targets people who purchased firearms legally but were later disqualified because of a subsequent conviction or determination of mental illness.
As a result of the cuts, there is a backlog of 19,000 people who have improper possession of more than 40,000 guns, including 1,600 assault weapons, and the number is increasing faster than their firearms can be confiscated.
"The mountain continues to grow," Leno said. "This is a serious and immediate threat to our public safety."
The Senate voted 31-0 to approve an urgency bill that would take the $24 million over three years from a Department of Justice account funded by gun owners who pay a fee when they register their guns with the state.