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California increases efforts to remove guns from hands of criminals, subjects of court orders

The California Attorney General announced Monday that his office was making measurable progress in efforts to remove firearms from people who bought them legally but later became ineligible to possess them when they were convicted of crimes or when they became the subjects of domestic violence or other court orders.

Rob Bonta said the number of people contacted by state Department of Justice agents or local police in so-called prohibited possessor investigations increased to more than 25,000 in 2023 while the number of names added to the prohibited list shrunk.

“The goal is simple here: Keep the number of illegally armed individuals as low as possible, and by removing guns from the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, we keep the number low,” Bonta said at a news conference Monday.

California created a database in 2006 to begin comparing names of people who purchased firearms legally with those who were convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors that prohibit gun possession like domestic violence offenses.

The database also includes names of people who’ve been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment and the names of those on domestic violence restraining orders and gun violence restraining orders.

Gun violence orders, which can take several forms, can be initiated when police, a family member, employer, coworker or teacher becomes concerned that someone with access to firearms may be contemplating a violent act.

The I-Team reported last year that the number of gun violence restraining order applications rose significantly in LA County between 2022 and 2023, and the LAPD said Monday officers requested 88 such orders in 2023 alone.

“It fits a particular niche, as a tool, where you don’t have someone for a crime yet, but you have concerning behavior,” explained LAPD Detective Bureau Commander Jay Mastick in an interview in November 2023.

Bonta said enforcement of prohibited gun possession was a key part of the state’s strategy to try to prevent violence such as mass shootings.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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