SAN DIEGO - Thousands of guns in San Diego are in the hands of owners who legally should not have them, according to information obtained by 10News.
"They're restricted for a reason, and the reason is safety," said San Diego Police Department Chief Bill Lansdowne.
Earlier this week, state Department of Justice agents revealed that there are nearly 20,000 owners in California holding more than 38,000 handguns and more than 1,600 assault rifles.
The guns are owned by people who legally bought them but have since committed crimes, been hit with restraining orders or have been deemed mentally unstable.
In the overall state numbers, each of the prohibited owners has an average of two guns. In San Diego County, there are 977 gun owners who own an estimated 1,900 weapons they are no longer allowed to own.
California is the only state with an automated system for tracking gun owners who have fallen into a prohibited status.
The state DOJ has been pulling guns of the streets in 2012, with more than 2,000 guns confiscated -- some in San Diego -- along with more than 100,000 rounds of ammunition.
However, the DOJ says while they know the identities of the rest of the gun owners, they don't have the resources to track them down.
A bill was introduced in the state legislature this week to increase that funding.
"We now have doubled the number of agents working on this in the past couple years and hope to double this again," said Lynda Gledhill, spokeswoman for State Attorney General Kamala Harris.
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