Santa Clara County considers new 'gun team' to seize illegal weapons

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A new law enforcement team could soon be created in Santa Clara County to help identify and remove firearms from gangsters, felons, or those who are the subject of domestic violence restraining orders.

"Although we remain overall safe, we're dealing with a problem that if we don't get our hands around it we're going to continue to see carnage and devastation," said Deputy District Attorney Marisa McKeown.

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Using a combination of general funds and grant money, county supervisors could vote this week on a plan to add five new members to the district attorney's crime strategies unit, which include a dedicated prosecutor and investigator, as well as three analysts.

"We're going to have more support on that administrative side," said Heather Randol, the SJPD deputy chief who oversees the bureau of investigations. "We can really focus in on some of these cases that we need to get to."

Last June, police in San Jose responded to a quadruple murder-suicide driven by a family dispute in what would become one of the deadliest shootings in city history.

The gunman was a convicted felon, who was barred from having a firearm.

Aggravated assaults have been on the rise in the Bay Area's largest city in recent years, but police continue to plug away at getting illegal weapons off the street.

"Anytime there's a weapon involved it's going to be dangerous," said Randol. "We approach that very carefully."

RELATED: Police still searching for motive in San Jose murder-suicide

City and county officials urge members of the public to call 911 if you're the victim or a witness of gun violence.

"On the other end of that phone is going to be a law enforcement partner who's linked with us, and who through this county is committed to actually deploying a strategy to disarm dangerous people," said McKeown.

Some say this new program will help shift the burden of enforcement away from those who are suffering the abuse.

"The goal is to keep the victim as far away from the perpetrator as possible," said Santa Clara County supervisor Cindy Chavez.
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