(CNN) – California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed legislation Wednesday that will boost funding for state efforts to confiscate firearms from those prohibited by law from owning them, the governor's office announced.
The bill gives $24 million from the Dealers' Record of Sale fund - fees paid by gun owners at the time of purchase - to the state's Department of Justice to help clear the backlog of individuals who once purchased a gun but are now barred from possessing firearms.
The state's Bureau of Firearms has identified about 20,000 Californians who illegally hold an estimated 40,000 handguns and assault weapons, with the list growing by 15 to 20 every day.
The money will fund 36 additional agents to increase enforcement of the operation that confiscates such weapons. Cities most targeted in the Armed and Prohibited Persons program include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno and Riverside.
California is the only state with the program. People are put on the list if they once bought a firearm and then are convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, are placed under a domestic violence restraining order or are determined to be mentally unstable.
The new law comes as a few other states have passed new gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting that left 26 dead in December.
– CNN's Carey Bodenheimer contributed to this report.