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Marin County gun buyback program overwhelmed, out of money

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.

The gun buyback program run by the Marin County District Attorney's Office this week was so successful it ran out of money.

Facts

Tax deductible contributions to the program can be made to: Marin County District Attorney's Office, Attn: Guy Buy Back Program, 3501 Civic Center Dr., Room 130, San Rafael, Calif., 94903.

Checks should be made out to the County of Marin with 'Gun Buy Back Program' written on the check.

Organizers were forced to cancel a second day of the surrender program after the response was far greater than expected. About half the gun owners got vouchers Tuesday, with the hope they can be redeemed for money later.

In exchange for 847 weapons, officials gave out $43,000, plus $40,000 in vouchers, according to Rob Guidi, chief inspector for the District Attorney's Office.

"The first hour and a half were just crazy," he said.

Participants were asked to supply proof that they were residents of Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco or Contra Costa counties, but no other background information was checked and no investigations generated, according to District Attorney Ed Berberian.

At the Point Reyes drop-off site, one of three, approximately 70 percent of the participants Tuesday were from Sonoma County, Guidi said.

"We did not write anything down, we just looked at their ID" to prove they lived in one of the four participating counties, Guidi said.

The second round of the gun buy-back program will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday at the Mill Valley Police Department, 1 Hamilton Way. Officials hope to collect guns without any promise of payment.

Backers of the program will continue to raise funds with a goal of $40,000 to match the vouchers given out Tuesday.

"The fundraising we plan on doing is to honor the vouchers we have already given out," Guidi said. "We have a month to get that done."

The collected firearms will be destroyed at an official gun destruction site, he said.

Marin County officials expect to hold another buyback program "at least every year," Guidi said.

"It was such a great response," he said. "I can guarantee you, we will do it again."

Staff Writer Kerry Benefield writes an education blog at extracredit.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. She can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@press democrat.com or on Twitter @benefield.

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