Law enforcement agencies in San Mateo County, located south of San Francisco, collected 264 firearms, including nine assault weapons and four “ghost guns” at a community gun buyback event on May 6.
The program, funded via a partnership between the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and a community organization, allows people to sell their firearms for cash, no questions asked.
Cash payments started at $50 for nonfunctioning guns, with assault weapons and unserialized, untraceable guns, known as “ghost guns,” selling for as much as $200.
According to San Mateo County officials, the event, which was the seventh so far this year, was a success. In total, participating local law enforcement agencies have collected over 2,600 firearms so far this year.
Members of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, South San Francisco Police Department, San Bruno Police Department, Daly City Police Department and Colma Police Department helped organize and conduct the event.
The police agencies say they are already planning to host another gun buyback event later this year in South San Mateo.
San Mateo County’s gun buyback program is one of many in the Bay Area. Other cities, including Santa Clara County, Livermore, Pittsburg and Fremont, have also held similar events.
For instance, in March, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted to hold two regularly scheduled gun buybacks after successful one-off events.
In addition, the Sacramento Police Department held its “Gas for Guns Buyback” last year, where they offered a $50 gas gift card for each firearm handed in.
The buyback program’s mission is to incentivize getting dangerous guns off the streets and potentially out of the hands of criminals.
Bay Area law enforcement agencies, which have noted an increase in ghost gun trafficking in the region, are also looking to collect more of the homemade firearms through the program.
According to researchers, “ghost guns” have proliferated in California in recent years due to the state’s stricter gun laws, with some officials estimating that 30%–40% of seized illegal firearms are “ghost guns.”