SAN DIEGO — “Got Unwanted Guns? Get a Gift Card,” reads the header for a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department program offering grocery store gift cards for anyone who wants to turn in guns, “no questions asked.”
Two events will be held–one on Thurs., August 28 and another on Saturday, Aug. 30. At the August 30 event anyone with an “unwanted gun” can turn it in and receive a gift card for $100 or $200 in return. The event on Thursday will be a press event.
Elected San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore is listed as available for interviews at both events, a release from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department details. The United African American Ministerial Action Council (UAAMAC) is partnering with the Sheriff’s Department for the program.
Asset forfeiture funds have been used to purchase $15,000 in gift cards. Handguns, rifles, and shotguns will be traded for $100 in cards, and assault weapons will buy participants $200. Cards will be limited to one per person and are eligible for redemption at area grocery stores.
Participants are instructed to place any weapons, unloaded, in the trunk of their cars. The Sheriff’s release stated all weapons confiscated will be destroyed.
Guns and ammunition collected in San Diego County to date total 1,012.
In 2013, a San Diego Union Tribune report regarding the program stated, “All weapons collected will be destroyed and no records will be kept on those who turn in guns, authorities said.”
In December 2012, Reuters reported a similar program in Los Angeles: “Some experts say the buybacks have little effect in reducing gun violence, but [L.A. Mayor] Villaraigosa touted the buyback program as one step that can be taken in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14 that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adult staff members.”
Another previous San Diego collection listed on the UAAMAC website commenced in cooperation with San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis reported that the program began in 2008. The program was listed as operating in cooperation with San Diego Police Department and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore is widely known by county gun owners seeking concealed carry permits for being highly restrictive, citing a “may issue” policy.
County resident Rob Morse, skilled in firearms handling, recently wrote in Clash Daily of Gore’s policy: “Sheriff Bill Gore says he may not issue licenses to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense. In contrast, many other California Sheriffs do exactly that.” He went on to say, “A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals went so far as to call Sheriff Gore’s disarmament policy unconstitutional!”
*This story was updated at 11:30 on Wednesday August 27, 2014
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