California Assembly Seal

The program would confiscate firearms because of criminal convictions or serious mental illness. Lawmakers reject bill to let school districts arm teachers.

By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
April 18, 2013, 8:30 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — The state Assembly approved $24 million Thursday to speed up the confiscation of guns from Californians who are not allowed to own them because of criminal convictions or serious mental illness.

A day earlier, lawmakers rejected a plan to allow school districts to train teachers and administrators to use guns to protect campuses.

Legislators said the money they allocated would pay for 36 additional agents to capture 39,000 guns from people who bought them legally but were later disqualified because of a subsequent conviction or court order.

The new funds, according to Assemblyman Robert Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), will allow the state Department of Justice to clear its backlog, accumulated during budget cuts, in the next three years.

Thursday’s action came after Congress rejected a package of gun-control measures.

“Congress’ failure is our opportunity,” Blumenfield said. The state measure is aimed at “keeping guns out of the hands of people clearly identified as folks who should not have guns in their possession.”

Some Republican lawmakers opposed the funding measure, arguing that it was improper to pay for the confiscations using a surplus of fees paid by gun buyers to cover the cost of background checks.

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