Governments from California to New York have been ramping up programs to confiscate weapons from people who initially purchased and possessed them legally but have since changed status in ways that make their continued ownership illegal. Those people include felons and the mentally ill.
Chicago's Cook County, for example, is sending teams of armed officers door-to-door grabbing guns, The Wall Street Journal reported in July. The program has already resulted in the confiscation of around 200 weapons, with over 5,000 more homes left to search. An individual's felony or mental illness need not have any connection with violence-real or expected-to disqualify the person from owning firearms.
California has the only statewide program to take weapons from previously legal owners. State Attorney General Kamala Harris, who has asked Vice President Joe Biden to emulate the idea nationally, plans to double the number of state agents grabbing guns. The Golden State dedicated a fresh $24 million for the program this year, funded by fees on gun purchases. More than 11,000 firearms have been taken, and California hopes to get 40,000 more.
New York state this year passed new laws creating a pistol owner database to help law enforcement ferret out weapons that might be ripe for confiscation. This is why gun-rights supporters are leery of the supposedly unobtrusive act of gun owner databases.