More than 40,000 guns in California may soon be off the streets. A first of its kind program in the nation will take guns away from people who are not supposed to have them.
There are 20,000 people in California who have been convicted of crimes, are mentally unstable or have domestic violence restraining orders. They are legally prohibited from owning or possessing a gun.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the State Senator Mark Leno-sponsored bill into law on Wednesday, which gives $24 million to the state Department of Justice to take firearms away from convicted felons and others who cannot legally possess guns. Senate Bill 140 goes into effect immediately.
"We’re pleased the Governor signed the bill as quickly as he did because there is urgency in confiscating these weapons," Leno said. "And in light of the partisan stalemate in Washington on this issue, and despite strong gun lobbying in opposition to this bill… I am very proud of my colleagues for voting so overwhelmingly in support.”
California Attorney General Kamala Harris calls it a "common-sense practical approach" to fighting crime.
The program will cross check five databases to find people who are in violation. Pro-gun rights advocate Toni Scurti of Los Gatos is not sure if this will work.
"I think taking away from the crazy people is a good idea," Scurti said. "But I've said this before, I think crazy people will always be able to get guns."
The $24 million will also help hire 36 additional agents to seize the guns.
Vincent Laughton of Los Gatos likes what hears.
"It's awesome. It's executive. It's popular. It's sensible. It's good governance," Laughton said.
But Scurti is concerned this is just the first step of taking away guns from law-abiding citizens.
"It will get broader. Yeah, I think that's just the way of them to start cause they don't believe anyone should have guns," Scurti said.
The first agents to hit the streets will be in July.