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20,000 Illegal Gun Owners In California Are Known To Authorities ... But Roam Free

20,000 Illegal Gun Owners In California Are Known To Authorities ... But Roam Free

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About 20,000 Californians illegally possess as many as 40,000 handguns and assault weapons. And authorities know who most of them are.

Wait, what? Read it again: About 20,000 Californians illegally possess as many as 40,000 handguns and assault weapons. And authorities know who most of them are. A little scary, huh? State legislator Mark Leno wants to do something about it:

In the wake of congress' flailing attempts at gun control despite massive public support for it, Leno today announced that the state assembly has passed his bill, AB 140, that would give authorities the resources to get these guns off California's streets.

Apparently there's a backlog when it comes to checking gun buyers against those prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. So, yeah: Those forms you fill out at the gun store are apparently useless.

Leno's bill would get the kinks out with $24 million windfall to the California Department of Justice. The cash would come from the gun dealers' "Record of Sale Special Account."

20,000 Illegal Gun Owners In California Are Known To Authorities ... But Roam Free

Monkey Mash Button / Flickr

Why this isn't happening already, or why this needs a special law is anyone's guess. If Leno's bill makes it past the state senate to the governor's desk, and it probably will, it would go into effect immediately.

Leno:

We are fortunate in California to have the first and only system in the nation that tracks and identifies individuals who at one time made legal purchases of firearms but are now barred from possessing them, However, due to a lack of resources, only a few of these illegally possessed weapons have been confiscated, and the mountain of firearms continues to grow each day. This legislation makes a significant reinvestment in our state's unique tracking system to help eliminate this troubling backlog of illegal weapons and protect public safety in our communities.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]