California is taking the unprecedented and extreme measure of confiscating legally-owned guns. More than 20,000 people who purchased their guns legally had them confiscated after they were suddenly classified as “prohibited persons” from owning a weapon. California Gov. Jerry Brown authorized a $24 million budget for hiring additional officers to help with the crackdown.
The state legislature approved new language earlier this year for what is defined as a prohibited person, or someone who legally registered a firearm but can now no longer exercise their Second Amendment rights. These reasons were expanded to include people who are behind on state taxes, did not pay toll fees in a “timely” manner and other minor misdemeanors or mental health concerns.
Joe Mendez, one of the gun-owners whose weapon was taken away, said 14 officers showed up at his house and police shoved two M16s within inches of his face. They even allegedly lied to Mendez’s wife and said they were only taking a report after her car was involved in a hit-and-run.
California Dept. of Justice spokesperson Michelle Gregory told NPR that in order for gun confiscations to take place, officers must undertake “tedious, expensive and time-consuming work, requiring hours of background checks and cross-referencing. There’s a lot of work that goes into these. “People aren’t always home, there’s different stories as to where the firearms may be and there’s a lot of follow-up [that] needs to happen after.”
A state-wide gun confiscation effort took place in 2011, resulting in 1,200 firearms being seized from 723 people throughout 43 counties.