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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Seizure of 1,200 Guns from Mentally Unstable and Other Individuals

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SACRAMENTO --- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the results of a statewide sweep in which 1,209 firearms were seized from individuals legally barred from possessing them, including persons determined to be mentally unstable and those with active restraining orders. The six-week sweep garnered three times as many firearms as were seized in 2007 when the last statewide sweep was conducted.

Attorney General Harris made the announcement at the third in a series of region-by-region zone meetings for members of the law enforcement community.

“Seizing guns from felons, gang members and other prohibited persons is the kind of smart, proactive law enforcement that makes a difference in the everyday lives of Californians,” said Attorney General Harris. “We are all safer thanks to the sworn officers who carried out this sweep and I am committed to strengthening this program.”

In the recently concluded sweep – the second statewide APPS effort – 99 agents from the Department of Justice seized 1,209 firearms from individuals prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. Agents also seized 155,731 rounds of ammunition and two grenades.

To clear the APPS backlog of approximately 34,000 handguns, Attorney General Harris is the sponsor of Senate Bill 819, which would revise the penal code to expand the use of existing regulatory fees collected by gun dealers to allow the state Department of Justice to use fee revenue to pay for the APPS program.

The bill would also allow the DOJ to seek to hire new agents, and offer training to local law enforcement agencies in support of the APPS program.

“SB 819 addresses a troubling blind spot in our current enforcement of existing firearms laws,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco, author of SB 819. “Innocent lives have already been lost because we allow guns to be in the hands of known criminals, gang members and people who have serious mental illnesses. Increased confiscation of these unlawfully-possessed firearms will help prevent future crimes and result in cost savings to the state due to avoided prosecution and incarceration.”

As part of today’s meeting, the assembled police officers and sheriffs received an overview on the APPS program and the ways in which local agencies can assist to keep firearms out of the hands of those prohibited from possessing them. Experts from the Department of Justice (DOJ) also briefed the law enforcement leaders on the Attorney General’s new Mortgage Fraud Strike Force and, with experts from the California Department of Corrections (CDCR), provided local law enforcement with the latest intelligence detailing how transnational gangs have integrated their operations across California communities and from inside our prisons.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones hosted today’s meeting.

“In today’s economic reality, it is more important than ever to work together to find new solutions to common problems,” said Sheriff Jones. “We need to share ideas, manpower, intelligence and energy to continue to make headway in the fight against crime.”

The Zone IV meeting was attended by law enforcement from Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Yolo counties.

Attorney General Harris also presented awards to nine individuals in recognition of their deep commitment to serving and protecting their communities. The sworn officers who received the Attorney General Awards demonstrated uncommon bravery and ingenuity.

The zone meetings – and the renewed focus on the APPS program – are part of a series of targeted law enforcement programs designed to reduce the reach of transnational gangs trafficking in guns, drugs and human beings across California. Today’s meeting follows closely on the heels of a series of major gang takedowns, including the arrests of 101 individuals in the Central Valley (http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2512&).

A fact-sheet is attached to the digital version of this release at http://oag.ca.gov/ .

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