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Calif. Attorney General Kamala Harris Meets With New Task Force On Guns

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Attorney General Kamala Harris met with a new statewide taskforce of district attorneys Friday to study ways to reduce gun violence and enforce existing law.

Harris discussed the task force at a news conference after her first two-hour meeting with 11 district attorneys and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

She said the Gun Violence Leadership panel had come together to address "one of the most pressing issues the state faces in terms of public safety." She pointed to a nearby table of weapons seized from people she said should not own weapons because of mental health issues or their criminal history.

"We have to be practical and recognize that no one wants guns to be in the hands of people who are legally prohibited from owning or possessing them," Harris said. "It is a false choice to suggest that one is either in favor of the Second Amendment or in favor of reasonable gun safety rules. We can be both."

State officials have identified 20,000 people who have purchased a handgun or registered an assault weapon but have since become prohibited from possessing one.

Harris said she hoped to work with the district attorneys to reduce that number over the next three years. A program that funds law enforcement's efforts to seize those guns recently received an infusion of $24 million from state Legislature.

Officials said there are more than 120 laws on California's books addressing gun violence. On Friday, district attorneys reviewed those laws and shared ideas on how counties can target the issue.

It's unclear how often the group will meet, though Harris said meetings will occur as needed.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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