Despite having no money on hand to pay gun owners for surrendering their weapons, the Marin County District Attorney's Office's second gun buy-back event of 2013 wasn't a bust.
Gun owners showed up at the Mill Valley Police Department Monday and surrendered 29 weapons and 1,000 rounds of ammunition, according to the DA's office. That included one AR-15 semi-automatic, the weapon used in the last month and in the last July. The AR-15 had a high-capacity, 30-round magazine.
The event also yielded a device that resembles a ball-point pen but actually fires a single .22-caliber bullet that Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian said is the stuff of James Bond movies.
Unlike the DA's gun buy-back event on Jan. 15, those owners were not paid for the surrendering the weapons and ammo because the program ran out of money in the first 90 minutes of that event, which quickly became a victim of its own success.
The county collected 827 guns and more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition at 5 locations on Jan. 15, most of it from Marin County residents, according to the DA's office, which organized the event.
Those turning in guns were given $200 for semi-automatic handguns or long guns, and $100 for other guns. But the $43,000 in cash that was available to those surrendering firearms was depleted within 90 minutes.
When the cash ran out, participants were given vouchers that they were told they could redeem within 30 days. Berberian said $67,000 in vouchers was distributed.
DA officials say some donations have come in since then but far from enough. That included $15,000 from two trusts via the Marin Community Foundation.
The Marin County Deputy Sheriffs Association also ponied up a $1,000 donation.
“Removing those 827 firearms from general circulation means there are now 827 fewer opportunities for someone to steal those guns or use them to commit a violent crime," DSA President Sean McKrell said in a statement. "As an association, we wanted to support this program and we hope other Marin County public safety associations and key community stake holders follow suit in contributing what they can."
Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle subsequently matched that $1,000 donation.
The remaining deficit is $44,000, Berberian said.
A hotline, (415) 473-2727, has been set up to inform those with vouchers about the redemption process, Berberian said.
"We are urging people to call once a week" for updates, he said.
Feb. 15 has been set as the tentative date when those with vouchers will be able cash them in at the Marin County Civic Center, Berberian said.
Anyone who wants to make a tax deductible donation to cover the vouchers issued in the buyback program can mail a check to the Marin County District Attorney's Office, Attention Gun Buy Back Program, Room 130, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael CA 94903.
A tax identification number will be issued to contributors, Berberian said.
County officers will pick up all the collected firearms in the next few weeks and take them to a facility that will dismantle and melt down the materials.
"I have committed to destroying all the firearms collected," Berberian said. "Yes, even antique/valuable firearms will be destroyed if they are operable."
--Bay City News Service contributed to this report. Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.