Los Angeles gun seizures touted, but big backlog remains

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LOS ANGELES — A new police task force targeting people who aren't allowed to have guns has led to 35 arrests and the seizure of more than 100 firearms since June, officials announced Tuesday while acknowledging that an ever-increasing backlog of prohibited possessors remains a major challenge.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra touted the Los Angeles County task force's work at a news conference saying that without them, "we'd have dozens of thousands of weapons being possessed by thousands and thousands of prohibited people in California."

Overall since 2013, Becerra said agents with his office have seized more than 18,000 guns from people on the state's Armed Prohibited Person System, which identifies those who legally bought guns but were later disqualified from having them.

More than 10,000 people remain on that list, and dozens are added every day, Becerra said.

"Our teams are small so you can imagine what it's like when ... you've got 60 to 100 (people) added on a daily basis," Becerra said. "Keeping up is difficult."

He touted partnerships with other law enforcement agencies as a way to help beef up his teams targeting prohibited possessors but called on the state Legislature to help reinforce resources and cut through red tape.

The task force Becerra announced Tuesday is in partnership with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Of the 111 firearms seized by the task force since June, Becerra's office said seven were assault weapons. And among the more than 27,600 rounds of ammunition seized, there were 50 high-capacity magazines, which are illegal in California, his office said.

Among those who've been arrested, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said one was documented as mentally ill and had been threatening to shoot his neighbors and another who had been on parole for making criminal threats was found with a military-style rifle and white supremacist propaganda in his home.

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