Lawmakers OK Audit of Database of Mentally Ill Individuals With Guns
On Wednesday, the state Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved a GOP audit request for a state database of individuals who can no longer possess guns because of mental illness or other factors, Bloomberg reports (Marois, Bloomberg, 3/13).
State law enforcement officials have the authority to seize weapons from individuals not permitted by law to own them.
However, at a joint legislative hearing in January, Stephen Lindley -- chief of the state Department of Justice's Bureau of Firearms -- said that staff shortages and funding cuts have led to delays in disarming more than 19,700 Californians who have mental illnesses or have been convicted of felonies.
Lindley said such individuals -- who are recorded in the state's Armed Prohibited Persons database -- now own a total of about 39,000 firearms.
He said the state each year investigates and seizes the guns of about 2,000 individuals listed in the database. However, Lindley said that about 3,000 names are added to the system annually.
He said, "Despite our best efforts, the bureau does not have the funding or resources to keep up with this annual influx" (California Healthline, 3/8).
Details of Audit Request
The audit request -- filed last month by Assembly members Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) and Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) -- seeks a review of whether information about individuals with mental illnesses who possess firearms is being fully and immediately reported to the stateÂ DOJ (California Healthline, 2/19).In a statement last month, Mansoor said, "[W]e need to be able to come together and ensure that those who are dangerous mentally ill individuals are not able to obtain or possess a firearm and potentially hurt themselves or others" (Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 3/13). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.