Successful gun buyback runs out of money just hours in

January 15, 2013 8:39:08 PM PST
Officials are rummaging through their budgets to keep an ambitious four-county buy-back program going. The program proved so successful, it ran out of money after the first couple of hours. Those who turned in guns after that got vouchers instead.

There was a line down the block Tuesday morning at the Novato Police Department. The Marin County district attorney admitted he had no idea how many people would show up to trade in their guns. He was surprised.

In Marin City, people lined up to trade their guns for $200.

"I brought an old assault rifle that's about 25 years old," a Marin City resident named Finley said.

"It was a .22 rifle and it had just been sitting around years and years," Mill Valley resident Bob Hunt said.

"It's a little .22 revolver which I found it in my mother's belongings when she died about 30 years ago," Sausalito resident Emily Riddell said.

In San Rafael, they collected sawed off shotguns and assault rifles, both illegal in California.

Police and sheriff's deputies didn't ask questions about the guns. They're happy to just hand over the money and get them out of circulation.

"Any weapons that we do take in, there's nothing to be said that the old lady whose house is burglarized next week and that gun is stolen that that's not used in a crime next month or next year or used against a police officer or whatever, so any weapons that we get we're happy to take," San Rafael police spokesperson Margo Rohrbacher said.

The only problem with the program was there wasn't enough money. The county handed out $43,000 in less than three hours and then they started handing out vouchers.

"And those vouchers, we will attempt to do some additional fundraising over the next 30 days or so and if we can raise additional funds, though the public media we'll get that information out, and people can come in with their vouchers and we will honor those vouchers," Marin County District Attorney Edward Berberian said.

At the Larkspur Police Department, some gun owners were unhappy about getting a voucher instead of cash.

"I waited in line for two hours and when I got to the front of the line they told me all they were giving out were vouchers and no more cash," Baypoint resident Robert Benson said.

There will be another gun buyback next Monday, but it will be for vouchers, not cash.

Contributions can be made by check to the "County of Marin." A contributor can place a note on check "DA Gun Buy Back Program" -- Mailing address: District Attorney County of Marin, Attn: Janice Hughes ? Gun Buy Back Program, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 130, San Rafael, CA 94903.


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