California Gov Jerry Brown signs new gun bill into law, permitting door-to-door seizure of guns
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Wednesday a measure that increases funding to confiscate the tens of thousands of weapons “owned illegally” throughout the state.
SB 140, authored by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), allocates $24 million for the state Department of Justice’s Armed and Prohibited Persons program. The money will go to hire more agents to confiscate the weapons and reduce the backlog over the next three years — to identify and seize assault weapons owned by convicted criminals and individuals with serious mental illnesses.
“Today, each California community is a step closer to being safer,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said in a statement. “This swift action by the Legislature and the Governor to enforce the laws we already have is a wise and worthy investment to reduce gun violence.”
They collectively own more than 39,000 handguns and 1,670 assault weapons but are prohibited from owning firearms because they have been convicted of crimes, ruled mentally unstable or are subject to domestic violence restraining orders.
Leno’s bill was one of 30 gun control bills authored by California legislators in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
Other measures include background checks on ammunition purchases, a requirement that all gun owners use lock boxes and expanding the list of criteria one must meet before owning a firearm.
The program, which is unique to California, cross-checks five databases to find people who bought weapons they are no longer legally allowed to own.
The Democratic governor signed the bill without comment.
“California is leading the nation in a common-sense effort to protect public safety,” Attorney General Kamala Harris, who oversees the state Department of Justice, said in a statement.