Governor signs bill to speed up gun seizures

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation expanding the ability of state agents to seize firearms from nearly 20,000 Californians who are not allowed to have them.

They collectively own more than 39,000 handguns and 1,670 assault weapons. But they are prohibited from owning firearms because they have been convicted of crimes, ruled mentally unstable or are subject to domestic violence restraining orders.

The bill the Democratic governor announced signing Wednesday authorizes $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.

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.

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