LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Large stashes of weapons — including assault rifles, ghost guns and ammo – were seized as part of a series of raids over the past month across California targeting convicted criminals who are prohibited from owning weapons.

Weapons and ammo seized in a raid May 11, 2020, at a residence in Lancaster, Calif. (Credit: California DOJ)

One dozen raids were conducted across the state by special agents with the California Department of Justice, including three in the Southland, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reported Tuesday.

The raids were the result of background checks done on individuals who had attempted to purchase ammunition. In California, background checks are required for anyone looking to buy ammo, under a law which was overwhelmingly passed by voters back in 2016 under Proposition 63.

51 weapons were confiscated in total, including four assault rifles and two ghost guns. More than 28,000 round of ammunition and 123 magazines were also seized, including 33 large-capacity magazines. 120 grams of meth and heroine was also discovered.

So-called ghost guns are made by individuals and have no serial numbers, which make them nearly impossible to track because they are not registered.

A residence in Woodland Hills was raided May 4, a second residence in Moreno Valley was raided May 7 and a third in Lancaster on May 11.

In the Lancaster raid, authorities confiscated three handguns, four rifle lower receivers, 12 large-capacity magazines, 13 standard magazines and approximately 2,115 rounds of ammo, the Justice Department said. Rene Navas was arrested.

The people who were targeted in the raids are in the state’s Armed and Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database, which identifies those prohibited from owning guns because of their criminal record.

About 400 APPS cases since the coronavirus pandemic began, the justice department said.

Comments (14)
  1. Dave Hopkins says:

    Congratulations California: Your fail-safe universal background checks allowed 12 persons whom should never been allowed to purchase guns had them.. AND OMG. A criminal had other parts and pieces of EVIL guns. You should all be proud of yourselves, you have saved us from….what? Criminals committing criminal acts. Whats new? Whats the story? Pat yourselves on the back after a few hundred laws were broken you succeed in taking guns from someone who should never had one, but don’t worry this temporary setback will not prevent these twelve people from obtaining anything they want, tomorrow. Criminals will commit crimes, leave the rest of us alone.

  2. Ian L says:

    Isn’t a background check required in California every time a gun is purchased? So the system failed at least 51 times before it finally worked. You should be trumpeting that statistic around. Seems to me that it was more luck than a background check that led police to these guys. I would also be interested what prohibiting crimes they committed that prevented them from possessing weapons.

  3. Monte Harrison says:

    It is already illegal for criminals to possess ANY firearms, let alone scary “assault weapons” or dreaded “ghost guns.”

  4. Mike Hawk says:

    Was there a legitimate reason for the raids because being denied sale of ammo isn’t a crime and sounds like a 4th amendment violation

  5. Bob says:

    Background checks prevent criminals from buying guns but don’t prohibit them from building their own. That doesn’t mean the checks have failed. Criminals will be criminals so we should just let them be? Yeah there are loopholes but seems to me the law did what its supposed to. Stop playing victim and cry like a baby every time gun control is mentioned. Guns are not toys are you shocked that there are legislation around guns? You mean not everyone can just walk into a store and buy a gun? How ridiculous.

  6. Ray Gunn says:

    The gun lobby, which generates talking points for gun rights advocates like those chiming in here to disparage CA’s law enforcement efforts, has for years played a disingenuous back-and-forth game on the question of secondary enforcement of background checks.  First they demand to know why ATF isn’t spending its resources to go arrest everyone who’s ever failed a background check, then when they hear about it being done at the state level, suddenly it’s a worthless effort, waste of resources etc.  

    The equities become clearer when we remind ourselves that what gun rights advocates want to claim as a right, is their “right” to sell an unlimited number of guns to complete strangers in anonymous parking lot meetups who may or may not be prohibited from owning guns.  In essence these GRAs are arguing for a legal right to make money by providing guns to anyone who wants one, no questions asked.  And so they’ll always find some angle to nitpick the background check system because it cuts into that goal.  Luckily however, the American public has since the late 1990s been overwhelmingly lined up against that dubious goal and so background checks aren’t going away anytime soon.  

  7. Dennis says:

    It’s spelled ‘heroin’. You are a journalist. Learn to proofread.

  8. Ojisan says:

    Thanks god those magazine limit laws kept scary high capacity magazine out of the criminals hands. oh wait….

  9. CM says:

    Gun laws don’t work at keeping criminals from being criminals, however, there are several questions here. What initiated the raids? What crimes have the people committed previously? They were denied purchase, so does that allow for a warrant to be issued? Making guns is not illegal but owning them if you are a convicted criminal is. Calling a home manufactured gun a ghost gun is a media tactic to make them sound scary, fact is they have been around since the beginning of our nation and are LEGAL. If current laws are upheld, new unconstitutional laws that infringe on the right of law abiding citizens are not necessary. We have seen gun laws in action and they are NOT effective. We have seen armed citizens prevent countless people becoming victims to violent crime. You don’t disarm citizens and require them to become victims when faced with a criminal who wishes to do harm. Gun laws enable which they try to prevent, countless victims in gun free zones. We do not and never will live in a virtuous dream world. Criminals aren’t looking for a gun fight but unarmed helpless victims who have been stripped of their rights by those who don’t educate themselves. Politicians who seek to limit the rights in the US should be jailed for breaking their vows to fight for and uphold the constitution and the bill of rights. That is the real crime that hurts us all.

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