Program to take guns from the wrong hands unveiled

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A program aimed at taking guns out of the hands of those whom law enforcement officials think shouldn’t have them was unveiled Tuesday at a news conference held jointly by the Sheriff’s Department and California’s Department of Justice.

The program — dubbed “Operation Dual Force” — works by identifying those not permitted to possess firearms by sifting through a database called the Armed Prohibited Persons System database. The database identifies individuals who previously procured firearms but were later barred from owning them.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced the joint effort to remove illegally possessed weapons and ammunition from county streets.

People who lose the right to own a firearm are those who are convicted of a felony or violent misdemeanor, are the subject of a domestic violence or other restraining order or have a serious mental illness.

In the first three months of operation, deputies involved in carrying out Operation Dual Force seized 111 firearms, including: 56 handguns, 21 shotguns, 24 rifles, seven assault weapons and three lower receivers — the main portion of a firearm. Also seized were 27,647 rounds of ammunition.

A portion of the weapons and ammo seized were taken from people in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“Detectives with the (LASD) Major Crimes Bureau did follow up by coming to Santa Clarita,” said Lt. Ignacio Somoano, who oversees the SCV Sheriff’s Station’s Detective Unit.

“They were out here in Santa Clarita as part of that program,” he said. “And, yes, I am personally aware of some guns being seized.”

Becerra said the news conference the program will continue.

“We expect our operation to grow in the coming months. Deputies are working every day to make sure that guns stay out of the wrong hands, “ he said. “All this is an effort to prevent those individuals from possessing firearms because they’ve lost the right to do so.”

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