The Santa Barbara Coalition Against Gun Violence will host its 3rd Annual Gun Buyback event in order to encourage gun owners to turn in their unused and unwanted firearms in a safe and confidential way. The event, which takes place at Earl Warren Showgrounds on June 10 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., will accept all kinds of guns from Santa Barbara County in order to decrease the possibility for accidental gun-related deaths in the community.
The process is simple: drivers will deliver their unloaded firearms to Santa Barbara police officers at the Showgrounds, who will inspect them and then have volunteers exchange them for Smart & Final gift cards. Donors will receive $100 for each handgun turned in and $200 for each semi-automatic rifle. According to the Coalition’s Communication Chair Jatzibe Sandoval, the whole process works just like a drive-thru and will take no more than 10 minutes per person.
Although it takes each individual so little time to donate, the results can make all the difference for the community, organizers say. The event is designed to prevent gun-related accidents by removing guns from households, where they may be accessible to children, mentally ill individuals, or people in emotionally charged situations.
The 2014 and 2015 Gun Buyback Events resulted in a total of 446 firearms recovered. The 2017 event is expected to be just as successful. “With an increase in monetary donations, we expect to collect a minimum of 300 guns this year, which has the potential to prevent 300 suicides or accidents,” said Sandoval. All the guns that are collected will be taken by police officers to Los Angeles, where they will be recycled into products like refrigerators and televisions.
For those who do not own firearms but want to help the cause, the Coalition is welcoming community members at the Showgrounds at 7 a.m. on the day of the event for training to become volunteers for the day. They will also be accepting donations to support the event and the other awareness campaigns they conduct. For more information in how to get involved, visit: sbcoalition.org.