In the wake of recent gun violence, Santa Clara County leaders voted Tuesday to improve the county's gun buyback and relinquishment program.
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors is asking the sheriff's office to hold two regularly scheduled gun buybacks per year.
County leaders said that previous gun buybacks have been successful, with several hundred weapons surrendered at each event.
Over 700 firearms were collected at last year's two gun buybacks alone. Officers collected 26 assault-style weapons and seven ghost guns during those events.
Most of the surrendered guns were originally purchased legally but are no longer wanted and are often kept unsecured in a home or business, county officials said. Unsecured guns can be stolen or found by curious children and cause tragic consequences, according to the county.
A 2022 report on the cost of gun violence in Santa Clara County shows that gun violence was the leading cause of death for children, and that more than half of gun deaths are suicides.
Adding regular gun buybacks would help get weapons off the streets and out of the hands of people who might hurt themselves or others with them.
“This will make it easier for residents to dispose of their unwanted guns through regularly scheduled and well publicized gun buybacks,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
Currently, residents can turn in an unwanted gun at any time to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office at 55 West Younger St. In San Jose, Chavez said.
“The problem is, not enough of our residents know about this option,” she said.
Supervisors said there is no incentive for residents of Santa Clara County to surrender their guns at the sheriff's office. That's why the board of supervisors is also asking the sheriff to provide options for incentives for people who relinquish their guns at the sheriff's headquarters and substations outside of gun buyback events.
The sheriff's office paid $100 for handguns, rifles and shotguns and it paid $200 for ghost guns and assault weapons at its December buyback event.