AG Bonta Announces $5 Million to Aid in Gun Seizures From ‘Prohibited Individuals’

AG Bonta Announces $5 Million to Aid in Gun Seizures From ‘Prohibited Individuals’
California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2021. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo)

California Attorney General Rob Bonta recently announced that his office is allocating $5 million to assist sheriffs’ departments across the state in seizing weapons and ammunition from people who had previously purchased a firearm and have since become legally prohibited from possessing them.

“In the United States in 2022, there have been more mass shootings than days in the year,” Bonta said in an Aug. 3 statement. “Gun violence is the number one cause of death of children and young adults in our nation. This is unacceptable.”

Sheriff’s departments utilize what’s called the Armed and Prohibited Persons System, a database of information from the U.S. Department of Justice that tracks gun owners to identify those who are no longer permitted by law to own them.

As of January, there were nearly 25,000 of these “armed prohibited individuals”—less than 1 percent of the 3.2 million known firearm owners recorded in the database, according to Bonta’s office.

The $5 million in state grants, dubbed the “Gun Violence Reduction Program,” will be made available to county sheriffs’ departments that apply now through Sept. 2.

The grants range between $250,000 and $1 million and will be issued starting in January 2023.

The grants were made possible by the California Budget Act of 2021, which provided the state with $10 million in “Gun Violence Reduction Program” funding.

Priority will be granted to counties with the highest populations of these “armed prohibited individuals,” counties without a Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms field office, and county proposals with the best tactical plans for removing these firearms.