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More Ghost Guns Seized by California Law Enforcers

Some 54 so-called ghost guns were confiscated by California law enforcement last year from people who can’t legally own firearms, reports the Associated Press. This is a 38% jump in the number of hard-to-trace weapons seized since 2021 under a unique state program. The ghost guns were part of nearly 1,500 guns taken statewide last year through an only-in-California program called the Armed and Prohibited Persons System (APPS.) The California registry cross-matches databases to find people who legally purchased weapons but are now banned from ownership because they have been convicted of felonies or violent misdemeanors, or have a history of domestic violence or mental illness. State and local authorities can move to seize the weapons under the program, which began in 2006. Law enforcement working to find the legal firearms listed on the state registry coincidentally found the ghost guns and seized those as well. In general, firearms manufactured by licensed companies are required to have serial numbers that allow officials to trace the gun back to the manufacturer, the firearms dealer, and the original purchaser. Ghost guns are assembled without serial numbers that can be used to follow the gun’s path.

The number of ghost guns discovered by law enforcement through APPS work has jumped dramatically. In 2018, officials seized only eight ghost guns, Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office said. The state’s Department of Justice is focusing more on ghost gun investigations. Guns without serial numbers have been used in instances of violence over the past year, including in New York, where a teenage girl was killed outside a high school in the Bronx, and in Sacramento, when a man fatally shot his three daughters inside a church. As of Jan. 1, the APPS registry included 23,869 people, including nearly 9,300 active cases. The nearly 15,000 remaining cases including people who are incarcerated, have moved out of state or cannot be located after multiple attempts. Total seizures last year included 712 handguns, 360 rifles, 194 shotguns, 80 assault weapons, three short-barreled shotguns, and a machine gun, as well as more than 281,000 rounds of ammunition.


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