3 Bay Area cities hold gun buy-back event


They have been a huge success. Police departments in the Bay Area have embraced gun buy-back programs following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Now three cities -- Menlo Park, Palo Alto and East Palo Alto -- are asking gun owners to surrender their weapons, no questions asked.

"The focus of this event is not investigative at all. It is simply to get guns and remove them from unwanted places and so the focus is on the destruction of firearms, not criminal investigations," said Palo Alto Police Lt. Zack Perron.

In Marin County more than 800 weapons were handed over to police recently. The pay back there was about $110,000. Saturday's event will be held in the parking lot of East Palo Alto City Hall. But the money to buy back the guns will come from a non-profit called Protect Our Children. The organization is also interested in finding out whether these buy-backs are effective.

"We've got three graduate students from the law school at Stanford are helping us in gathering data and then analyzing data afterwards to see how effective the gun buyback has been," said James Cook from Protect Our Children.

These three police departments have agreed to work with the Stanford students.

But the Independent Institute in Oakland has already collected data from other police departments nationwide. Alex Tabarrok is the research director of the Independent Institute. We spoke to him via Skpe from Washington D.C.

"Maybe you'll have a few old guns, you'll get guns that don't work very well. You're not going to get the guns that people use in crime. Criminal have guns for a reason. They are tools of the trade and you don't give up your tools of the trade," said Tabarrok.

But Palo Alto police say it's a start in the right direction.

"That gun is something that if that home is burglarized, it could easily fall into the hands of a criminal," said Perron.

Here is the breakdown: if you bring a handgun you get $100, you'll get $200 for a riffle, and $300 for an assault weapon. The event begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. at East Palo Alto City Hall.

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