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Police Unions Offer To Help Collect Guns From Thousands Of Californians Who Have Them Illegally

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says his agency needs more help removing guns from those who are prohibited from having them.  As Capital Public Radio's Chris Nichols reports, local police unions say they're ready to step up.

The AG’s office is charged with confiscating guns from thousands of Californians. From people who are mentally ill, have a domestic violence restraining order, or were convicted of a felony.

But Becerra said this month his office doesn’t have enough special agents to do the job.

“We continue to get more cases coming in than we’re able to work” (:03)

That could change. A coalition of police unions from San Jose to Los Angeles -- called Protect California -- has offered to help get these guns out of the wrong hands.

The group’s president Robert Harris says the move would benefit the general public … and the officers.

 “I think we owe it to our officers to make sure that they can go out and do the job as safely as possible. If that means removing firearms from individuals who should no have them in the first place, then that is a good place to start.” (:13)

At a news conference this month, Becerra said he would welcome more help for APPS, which is shorthand for the state’s gun tracking system.

“We would love nothing more than to have local law enforcement to say APPS is a top priority for us as well.” (:05)

Beccera said his team of 50 agents removed more than ten thousand people last year from a list of prohibited gun owners.

But there are still more than nine thousand people on that list.

In Sacramento, I’m Chris Nichols

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