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DA Sets Gun Buy-Back Days for Jan. 15, 21 at 6 Locations in Marin

After a fundraising push, officials have nearly $40,000 on hand to pay for $200 for automatic weapons and $100 for other firearms at two buy-back events in conjunction with the birthday and holiday of Martin Luther King Jr.

In the days after the shooting massacre of 20 young children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian suggested a oft-used idea with tangible results: buy back guns to keep them off the street.

Berberian proposed hosting a gun buy-back program, an idea that came to fruition this week as the DA's office set two dates, Jan. 15 and 21, for people to bring their guns to six different law enforcement facilities and receive payment for them in return.

The first, Rev. Martin Luther King's birthday, is from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at sheriff's substations in Marin City and Point Reyes, as well as police headquarters in Novato, San Rafael and Larkspur. A second buy-back day will be held on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 21. Buy-back will take place at the headquarters of the Mill Valley and San Rafael police departments from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"Sometimes we need to come together taking one small step that empowers the average individual with the ability to do something," Berberian said in a statement. "I personally believe we are a society with too many guns simply sitting in garages, closets, drawers and who knows where else. Our community has seen these weapons appear in our neighborhoods and streets. Let’s take a step to reduce the total number of these weapons. Let’s have a day where we go to our local police agencies across the county and turn in these guns."

The linchpin of the buy-back program was a fundraising drive that gathered steam over the holidays. Marin County Supervisors kicked in $10,000, as did two of the trusts administered by the Marin Community Foundation's. Private donations to the DA's office tallied more $7,000.

The program is built on a "no questions asked" approach. Officials will issue checks to Marin residents, providing $200 for automatic weapons and rifles, and $100 for other firearms, for up to three such weapons per person, and provide "receipt vouchers" for any others an individual turns over. The vouchers will be redeemable if the budget allows, Berberian said. No ammunition should be in any of surrendered firearms when they are brought to the buy-back locations.

Those surrendering firearms must show documentation proving they are a resident of Marin, San Francisco, Contra Costa or Sonoma counties.

Jan. 15 Gun Buy-Back locations (11 a.m. - 8 p.m.):

Jan. 21 Gun Buy-Back locations (11 a.m. - 8 p.m.):

  • Mill Valley Police Department, 1 Hamilton Dr., Mill Valley
  • San Rafael Police Department, 1400 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael
Anthony January 10, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Will they report how many of these guns are "usable". Most guns brought to these are old and unusable.
Craig Knowlton January 10, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Honestly, automatic weapons? Do some research...
tony masi January 11, 2013 at 12:57 AM
What then happens to the surrendered firearms? Are all of them completely destroyed regardless of their value?
Christine January 11, 2013 at 01:45 AM
No thanks. I prefer to keep my guns!
Kevin Moore January 11, 2013 at 03:12 AM
Typically, the firearms are inspected cataloged, the serial number is taken down. Sometimes they are test fired to make sure they are not murder weapons being destroyed, or at least evidence of the bullet lands are preserved. After a while, it is off to the crusher. Sometimes a really nice firearm is inherited and is turned in. It makes collectors cry. However, most of the firearms are rusted out pieces of junk that you wouldn't shoot without putting it in a vice and pulling a string from 15 feet away.
Kevin Moore January 11, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Update: I just remembered that some agencies, like the FBI, keep unique firearms in their sample vault.
tony masi January 11, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Kevin, thanks for the informative response.

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