Calif. seizes 1,200 firearms possessed illegally

By DON THOMPSON | June 16, 2011 | 8:44 PM EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California law enforcement agents have seized 1,200 firearms from people who cannot legally own them because of mental illness or restraining orders, usually involving domestic violence.

Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday the seizures make just a dent in the more than 34,000 handguns and nearly 1,600 assault weapons believed to be held statewide by people who should not have them.

Most bought the weapons legally but were later prohibited from owning guns. However, 12 people were arrested on suspicion of illegally owning assault weapons or grenades during the six-week sweep by the state Department of Justice.

Harris used a news conference at the California Highway Patrol's headquarters to promote legislation to expand the use of a $25 registration fee collected by gun dealers to pay for enforcement efforts.