January 1, 2014 marked the official start date for California’s new gun law. The law requires all new owners of long guns to register with the state. The exact wording of the law does not require owners to register specific guns, only for the state to keep the background check of gun owners on file. Supporters of gun rights are still in opposition of the law regardless of the wording.
This law will allow the state to further track gun owners; handgun and assault rifle purchasers were already subject to a similar law. Supporters believe the new law will help authorities keep track of all individuals that own guns. The law was formally approved in 2011 by Governor Jerry Brown.
The new law strengthens a controversial program that is being used to confiscate firearms from existing gun owners who are no longer allowed to own their guns. The Armed Prohibited Persons System is being used to compare lists of convicted criminals or those with documented mental issues with lists of registered gun owners. The APPS initiative allows to The California Department of Justice to confiscate the weapons of those no longer entitled to own them.
In spite of a large appropriation of funds meant to assist with the gun confiscations, authorities note that there are more than 20,000 of people that are no longer entitled to own guns in California are still in possession of their weapons. Another problem facing the CDOJ is the allegation that around 50% of the entries on the current gun, mental health, and criminal records list are wrong.
Police are hoping the new gun registration laws will help prevent gun related crimes; but a study out of Canada which previously adopted a similar law, found that less than 5% of homicides were committed by the registered owner of the gun.