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California unable to disarm 19,700 felons and mentally ill people


SACRAMENTO — California authorities are empowered to seize weapons owned by convicted felons and people with mental illness, but staff shortages and funding cuts have left a backlog of more than 19,700 people to disarm, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

Tucson shootings: Mental illness, not rhetoric, at root of more political assassinations historically

How could someone so young take it upon himself to lash out lethally to kill six innocent people and wound 14 others, all presumably unknown to him, on a sunny Saturday by a grocery ironically named Safeway?
At his initial news conference Saturday, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik could not offer much specific information about the incident, including the accused’s name or motive.
However, the 74-year-old sheriff was somehow repeatedly certain the incident had something to do withoverheated political rhetoric in his state and in America today, where grown-ups in public life call each other liars and hostage-takers. While others employ even more vicious vitriol hiding behind the convenient anonymity of the Internet.
While that theory may gain broad traction, at least in these initial days, a look back at prominent assassinations and attempts in U.S. history finds far different common patterns — more personal or …… political motivations with mental illness, prime among them, the need to demand attention through some heinous act. Perceived political or employment grievances in which the targeted politician becomes the focus of the assassin’s hatred and lethal weapon. At least one attempt was apparently inspired by a Hollywood movie.

Those gun owners have roughly 39,000 firearms, said Stephen Lindley, chief of the Bureau of Firearms for the state Department of Justice, testifying at a joint legislative hearing. His office lacks enough staff to confiscate all the weapons, which are recorded in the state’s Armed Prohibited Persons database, he said.
The gun owners typically acquired the firearms legally, before being convicted of a felony or diagnosed with mental illness. Each year, the state investigates and seizes the guns of about 2,000 people on the Armed Prohibited Persons list, Lindley said, but each year about 3,000 names are added to the list.

Federal law provides significant penalties for felons in possession of weapons, unless the felon has his rights restored by the convicting state.
 
Anyone who has been convicted of a felony is banned by federal law from ever possessing “any firearm or ammunition.” Specifically a person “convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” cannot possess any firearm in any location. 18 U.S.C. 922(g) is the federal law that prohibits anyone ever convicted of any felony to ever possess any firearm either inside or outside of his home. The federal punishment for felon gun possession is up to 10 years in prison.
 
There are many other federal gun ownership restrictions. For example, a conviction for a misdemeanor domestic battery results in a loss of gun rights. A person who is the subject of an order of protection may not possess a weapon. In light of the 2008 case of District of Colombia v. Heller, such restrictions may now have Second Amendment implications. A good summary is available from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
 
The Statutory Exception
The rule prohibiting felon gun ownership has some exceptions. There is specific statutory language providing that the federal criminal firearms possession does not apply to individuals who have had their civil rights restored by the state in which they where convicted of the felony.

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