A North Hollywood man who was allegedly caught in possession of an illegal stockpile of weapons and ammunition was charged with 29 misdemeanor counts, the City Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.
Mark Morman, 55, had been placed in the state's Armed Prohibited Persons System database, which requires him to turn over all firearms in his possession to law enforcement. He was placed on the list in September 2017 when he was served with a criminal protective order as part of a domestic violence charge in Burbank.
Agents with the California Department of Justice went to Morman's home in January to inquire about two California registered firearms that had not been surrendered, and they discovered a total of 25 firearms - including 18 handguns and 7 rifles - and an array of ammunition and high-capacity magazines, City Attorney Mike Feuer said.
"We know that there is a powerful link between domestic abuse and gun violence," Feuer said at a morning news conference that included a display of the seized weapons. "We know that the victim of domestic abuse is 500 percent more likely to die at the hands of her abuser if there is a gun in the equation. And our office has been at the forefront, locally and nationally, in the effort to get guns out of the hands of alleged domestic abusers."
The charges against Morman include 25 counts of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person due to a criminal protective order, and unlawful storage of a firearm. Feuer said investigators believe most of the weapons were purchased in another state and then brought to California, although his office is still working to track the origin of some of the weapons.
"When it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, California is leading the way," state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. "Since 1999, California's Armed Prohibited Persons System, what we call APPS, has made tremendous strides in cracking down on illegal gun ownership."
"APPS cross references guns and their owners across the state of California and it references them against criminal history records and against restraining orders that an individual may have against him or her," he said. "So that way we can prevent individuals from possessing and owning guns. We are the first and the only state in America to establish a system like the APPS system and it works."
Feuer pointed to statistics that show a large number of crimes in the city are committed with guns that are lost or stolen. City Councilman Paul Krekorian said none of Morman's guns were legally and securely stored even though more than 40 burglaries had been committed in his neighborhood in January.
"So imagine if this home was one of the homes that was burglarized when the defendant wasn't there," Krekorian said. "Every one of those weapons that you see there would be a criminal gun on the street in the hands of a burglar and then distributed on the black market throughout the streets of Los Angeles."
Krekorian also touted a motion approved unanimously by the council Tuesday that calls for the creation of an anonymous tip line about illegal guns and a reward program that offers money for information that leads to the recovery of an illegal firearm.