A Look At Gun Seizures in San Diego

Data obtained by NBC 7 Investigates shows the number of guns taken off the street has decreased since last year

San Diego police have confiscated fewer guns so far this year compared to last year, according to police department data obtained by NBC 7 Investigates.

Police officers in San Diego seized 1,147 guns from January 1, 2019, through October 17, 2019, an average of 27 guns confiscated per week, shows the data obtained through a public records request.

During the same period last year, police confiscated an average of 40 guns a week.

And while the numbers this year are significantly lower, the number of gun seizures in 2018 was at a six-year high.

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On average, San Diego police officers confiscated approximately 25 guns in a given week from 2013 through the beginning of 2018.

In 2018, however, the number of guns taken off San Diego streets increased dramatically, especially in the summer months from June to August when officers took 40 guns a week.

The data shows the vast majority of guns taken, 5,542, were semi-automatic guns while the next highest category of guns seized were listed as revolvers, 1,588 total. Pump-action, or slide-action guns, were the next highest type of gun confiscated with 850 taken since January 2013.

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In terms of the reason for the confiscation, the data shows 5,338 were taken as evidence in crimes while 2,424 were seized for “safekeeping.” The reason for the remainder of the confiscations was not provided.

A spokesperson for the police department says officers are encountering more and more firearms during their shifts.

“We are seeing more guns and encountering more weapons of various types which then are impounded for safekeeping,” says SDPD Lt. Shawn Takeuchi.

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As for the high number of seizures in 2018, Takeuchi says the reason is twofold; first, it was a high crime year and second a major assault weapons investigation resulted in the confiscation of 234 firearms.

But gun-control groups say the city has had a good track record of trying to reduce the number of guns on San Diego streets.

“The City Attorney has been very active in issuing Gun Restraining Violence Orders,” says Steve Lindley with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-control advocacy group.

Added Lindley, “Any effort to take firearms away from those that threaten the public and their safety is a good thing.”

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