California authorities are having a hard time seizing some 39,000 illegal firearms owned by convicted felons and mental patients because of staff and budget cuts, the Los Angeles Times reported
Quoting law enforcement officials, the newspaper noted a backlog of 19,700 people across the state that have to be disarmed because of felony convictions or mental illness.
Stephen Lindley, who heads the Bureau of Firearms for the California Department of Justice, warned lawmakers Tuesday that the state’s budget crisis has compromised its ability to effectively enforce strict gun control laws.
“Despite our best efforts, the bureau does not have the funding or resources to keep up with this annual influx,” he said, adding that it would take three years and an estimated $25 million to hire enough staff to clear the current backlog of cases.
Lindley said his department adds about 3,000 people to the Armed Prohibited Persons list every year, but manages to clear only about 2,000 cases.
The backlogged cases came to light as California lawmakers are considering a number of bills introduced in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shootings aimed at curbing gun violence.
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