California lawmakers support amnesty for illegal gun owners

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, second from left, discusses a package of proposed gun-control legislation at a Capitol news conference.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State lawmakers are expected to be divided along party lines Wednesday when they act on eight gun-control measures, but one firearms-related measure approved this week won bipartisan support.

The state Senate voted 39-0 to approve legislation that would provide an amnesty program for thousands of Californians who own 40,000 guns but are disqualified from possessing firearms because of criminal convictions, severe mental illness, arrest warrants or temporary restraining orders.


Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) has proposed a 15-day amnesty period during which people will not be prosecuted for illegally possessing firearms they turn in. After that, the state Department of Justice will send agents to their homes to confiscate the weapons and potentially fine those who possess the firearms.

“We’re going to give you a certain amount of time. We want you to walk in and give up your handgun, give up your long gun,” De Leon said.

SB 38 next goes to the Assembly for consideration.

It is a companion measure to legislation signed by the governor last month that allocated $24 million to clear the backlog of weapons known to be in the hands of about 20,000 people who acquired them legally but were later disqualified from possessing firearms.

The Senate is scheduled Wednesday to act on eight other gun-control measures introduced by California lawmakers after the December massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.


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