SAN FRANCISCO—Organizers touted a Marin County gun buy-back program on Tuesday as a success. Participation was heavy, as lines formed down the block and buy-back stations ran out of cash after a few hours.
“This was much more responsive than we expected. There’s a lot of these guns out there, and they don’t need to be,” said Ed Berberian, Marin County district attorney, according to the Marin Independent Journal.
Like many gun buy-back programs around the country in recent weeks, the program was prompted by the Connecticut school massacre last month that took the lives of 20 children and six educators.
The emphasis of the program was “on reducing the number of firearms readily accessible at times when individuals … may not be competent to either handle or decide the need for their use,” according to a press release from the DA’s office.
Individuals needed to provide documentation to prove residency of Marin, San Francisco, Contra Costa, or Sonoma County.
Participants could receive $200 for automatic or semiautomatic guns and $100 for any other operable gun. $40,000 had been allocated for the program but some participants received vouchers after the initial funding allocation was distributed.
“I’ve had them for years, I don’t use them, I don’t feel any need to keep them around, and cash is better at this point,” said resident Norm Harris, according to NBC Bay Area.
Following the normal protocol of gun buy-back programs, no questions are asked about the guns and no police reports were filed.
A total of 827 guns were handed in. All of the guns are slated to be destroyed. A second round of the program will be held on Jan. 21 at the police departments in San Rafael and Mill Valley.
For Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the UC Davis, such programs provide meaningful forms of action without reducing guns in significant numbers. “The symbolic impact is important, but now in the wake of Newtown, I think that’s even more true,” he said, according to NPR.
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