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The Latest: California gun seizure program backlog remains

March 2, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California’s gun seizure program (all times local):

4 p.m.

California investigated a record nearly 11,000 people last year who no longer are allowed to own firearms.

Yet the underlying backlog in the state’s gun seizure program remains nearly the same as a year ago.

The department has about 9,400 active cases now, about 800 fewer than a year ago.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Friday blamed an increase in gun possessions and too few special agents, despite an infusion of $24 million in recent years.

Agents finally cleared all but about 500 cases from a backlog of nearly 21,000 cases in 2013. But the number of illegally held weapons continues to grow.

The program seizes guns from people who are banned because they have been convicted of felonies or have a history of domestic violence or mental illness.

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2 p.m.

California seized a record nearly 11,000 guns last year from people no longer allowed to own them. Yet the underlying backlog in the state’s gun seizure program remains nearly the same as a year ago.

The department has about 9,400 active cases now, about 800 fewer than it did a year ago.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Friday blamed an increase in gun possessions and too few special agents, despite an infusion of $24 million in recent years.

Agents finally cleared all but about 500 cases from a backlog of nearly 21,000 cases in 2013. But the number of illegally held weapons continues to grow.

The program seizes guns from people who are banned because they have been convicted of felonies or have a history of domestic violence or mental illness.

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10:09 a.m.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra is set to unveil new numbers for 2018 from a uniquely California program that seizes guns from people no longer allowed to own them because of criminal convictions or mental illness.

He’s expected to acknowledge Friday that a backlog of illegally held weapons remains despite an infusion of $24 million to beef up enforcement efforts in recent years. More than 10,000 people still illegally possessed weapons at the end of 2017.

State Department of Justice agents seized nearly 4,700 firearms in 2017 and made over 400 arrests.

The only-in-California program cross-matches five databases to find people who legally purchased weapons but are now banned from ownership because they have been convicted of felonies or have a history of domestic violence or mental illness.

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The story has been corrected to show that California investigated 11,000 people. It did not seize 11,000 guns.