Santa Clara County Will Buy Citizens’ Guns Twice a Year

Santa Clara County will hold multiple gun buyback events annually in an effort to take firearms out of the hands of residents who no longer want them.

The county Board of Supervisors gave approval Tuesday for the Sheriff's Office and district attorney to host a minimum of two events each year in an effort to increase the numbers of guns turned in.

A buyback event in the city of Milpitas in 2022 yielded over 400 guns.

The move by the board will also bolster an existing gun relinquishment program that allows residents to surrender a gun at any time at a Sheriff's Office station by offering $50 gift cards as an incentive. The program has received over 500 guns over the last five years, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The proposal approved Tuesday was co-authored by Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Otto Lee.

“We want to make it easier for the people of Santa Clara County to relinquish unwanted guns with regularly scheduled and well publicized gun buy backs,” Chavez said.

Buybacks allow people to relinquish working firearms to law enforcement, without questions asked, in exchange for a cash sum. Past Santa Clara County events offered $100 for an operable gun and $200 for a ghost gun or assault weapon, with a limit of five per person.

The events typically cost between $75,000 to $100,000 to fund county staff and law enforcement overtime and the cash incentives. The events will be funded through asset seizures from law enforcement.

A county report recommended against considering the events as a way to reduce crime, citing research showing that such buybacks are not effective in reducing gun violence. But the report said the effectiveness of reducing crime can be enhanced by pairing the events with other outreach efforts.

Bay City News

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