How many innocent gun owners are going to get caught up in this dragnet? The fact is, this law is a disaster waiting to happen and Californians are going to suffer for it.
The state will send dozens of new agents into California neighborhoods this summer to confiscate nearly 40,000 handguns and assault rifles from people barred by law from owning firearms, officials said Wednesday.
The plan received the green light Wednesday, when Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation providing $24 million to clear the backlog of weapons known to be in the hands of about 20,000 people who acquired them legally. They were later disqualified because of criminal convictions, restraining orders or serious mental illness.
The bill is the first of more than a dozen gun measures introduced by California lawmakers after the December massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"This bipartisan bill makes our communities safer by giving law enforcement the resources they need to get guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals," said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor.
California is the only state in the nation to operate a database that cross-references gun owners with those who are subsequently disqualified from owning firearms. But budget cuts have prevented the state Department of Justice from keeping up with the list, which grows by 15 to 20 names every day, officials said.
The new funds will allow the department to hire 36 additional special agents and support staff, with the first officers expected to hit the streets in July, said Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. The money comes from a surplus in fees paid for background checks by people purchasing guns.
Someone want to define "serious" mental illness? How old does the restraining order have to be? Less than 10 years?
I'm all for keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and psychotics. But you know that some innocents are going to be deprived of their Second Amendment rights because of mistakes, or poorly defined criteria for taking someone's firearm. What recourse will they have then?
Bad times ahead for California gun owners.