Even as California legislators target extra money at confiscating weapons from people who shouldn't have them, a new state audit finds that the state Department of Justice and the courts have failed to identify thousands of mentally ill people covered by the prohibition, reports the Sacramento Bee. The Bureau of State Audits found that 34 of 58 Superior Courts did not file at least 2,300 prohibited person reports to the Justice Department's mental health unit from 2010 through 2012. The number of unfiled reports was likely even higher because some counties could not tell how many reports they had failed to file.
This year, lawmakers approved legislation that appropriated $24 million to tackle a backlog of cases of prohibited persons having guns, a number that stood at 20,800 in July. The new audit warned that the effort is undermined by authorities' failure to collect and process prohibited persons reports from the courts and mental health facilities. “It is critical that justice improve its outreach and internal processes so its agents can better protect the public from armed prohibited persons,” the audit said, calling on the department to step up its outreach and for the Legislature to require all mental health-related prohibited person reports to be filed within 24 hours.