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L.A. Now Live: California seizing guns from disqualified owners

February 19, 2013 |  8:32 am

Times staff writer Jessica Garrison will join us at 9 a.m. to talk about the law enforcement tactics used to seize guns from disqualified owners.

California has the nation's only program to confiscate guns from people who bought them legally but later became disqualified. During twice-weekly sweeps over the last five years, agents have collected more than 10,000 guns.

But there are still more than 19,700 people on the state's Armed Prohibited Persons database. Collectively, they own about 39,000 guns. About 3,000 people are added to the list each year.

Clearing the backlog would cost $40 million to $50 million, according to Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris.  She estimated that once the backlog is cleared, fielding teams large enough to keep up with people added to the list would cost about $14 million a year.

"This is about prevention," Harris said. "This is about taking guns out of the hands of people who are prohibited from owning them, and are known to be potentially some of the most dangerous people walking around.... It's just common sense."

As gun control has moved to the forefront of national debate, California's program is being studied as a potential model.

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