Firearms, ammunition and illegal “bump stocks” have been seized over the past 10 days in Norwalk, Riverside and San Diego from suspected prohibited gun owners, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Tuesday.
Those who were taken into custody were listed in the Armed Prohibited Persons System database or were suspected of engaging in illegally acquiring or possessing illicit weapons, Becerra said.
“In California, we are consistently taking action to fight crime and protect our families by removing illegal guns from our neighborhoods,” Becerra told reporters in downtown Los Angeles. “As the nation continues to grapple with the gun violence crisis, California continues to make public safety our top priority.”
The arrestees are:
— Timothy Pope, of Norwalk, who was named in the APPS database due to a felony conviction for possessing a destructive device. Upon his Feb. 28 arrest, California Department of Justice agents searched his home and seized one handgun, one shotgun, three assault weapons and 6,500 rounds of ammunition, according to the AG’s office. Two of the assault weapons were “ghost guns” — meaning they lack serial numbers; one was a short-barrel rifle; and the third was equipped with a “bump stock” — which California outlawed in 1990 because they allow a semi-automatic weapon to fire at nearly the rate of a machine gun;
— Brian Ojeda, of Riverside, who was named in the APPS database due to the conditions of his probation. Upon his March 5 arrest, DOJ agents searched his residence and reported finding about 2,000 rounds of ammunition. Ojeda allegedly told agents he was storing his firearms at his brother’s house, but when agents searched his home, they found one unregistered assault weapon equipped with a “bump stock,” a rifle, a large capacity magazine, and ammunition; and
— James Norman, of San Diego, who was prohibited from owning firearms and ammunition due to a conviction for rape. After he and his ex-wife filed domestic violence restraining orders against each other requiring six firearms registered in the APPS database to be confiscated by DOJ agents, agents contacted the woman to seize the weapons. She allegedly told agents that her ex- husband pressured her to purchase the firearms under her name, but no guns were found at her home. When agents contacted Norman on March 5, they seized two rifles, one handgun, one “bump stock” and 731 rounds of ammunition, according to the AG’s office.
California is the first and only state in the nation to have established an automated system for tracking firearm owners who fall into a prohibited status, Becerra said.
The APPS database works to identify individuals who previously procured firearms but later became barred from legally owning them because they were convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, placed under a domestic violence or other restraining order, or suffer from serious mental illness.
The three Southern California cases will be referred to local district attorney’s offices for prosecution. Becerra said the operation, as well as ongoing and day-to-day investigations, have reduced the number of people in the APPS database to a historic low.
To date, the state DOJ has removed 18,000 firearms from persons prohibited under California law from possessing them, he said.
–City News Service
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