SACRAMENTO, CA - More than 20,000 people prohibited from owning a gun because they are diagnosed with a mental illness own some sort of firearm, according to a state audit released on Tuesday.
The audit, called "Armed Persons With Mental Illness," outlines a communications failure between the California Department of Justice and the state's court system in reporting and identifying people diagnosed with a mental illness and who own guns.
"It's not acceptable and we want to make sure that we're going after the individuals that have weapons that have mental health issues," State Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, said.
Assembly Republicans commissioned the study by the non-partisan California State Auditor's Office, and the request passed with bipartisan support.
"The state auditor's report confirmed our worst fears that information about individuals who should be on the list of 'armed prohibited persons' is not being fully reported and is not being reported immediately as required by law," Assem. Katch Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, said.
While the report blames both the courts and the state's DOJ, some Republicans are focusing the blame on the California Department of Justice.
"Perhaps the department had other priorities, but certainly this audit indicates that they're not following through at the level that they need to be," Gaines said.
Opponents of gun control legislation continue to say no matter who is targeted with new laws, it will never keep guns out of the hands of someone who is determined to commit a crime.
"You will continue to have the atrocities that we have seen, because none of these will impact those people who are one day normal, the next day insane, or evil," Gun Owners of California Executive Director Sam Peredes said.
Gaines hopes the results of this audit will be enough to get the state's DOJ to focus on fixing the problem.
"I'm sure some action has been taken, but obviously not enough if you've got 20,000 individuals outstanding," he said.