The gun buyback on Saturday took 145 firearms out of circulation. The owners of four assault rifles, 61 handguns, and 80 long guns brought them to Earl Warren Showgrounds to trade for Smart & Final gift cards, in an event organized by the Coalition Against Gun Violence and the Santa Barbara Police Department. The Coalition’s Toni Wellen was pleased more guns were off the streets and no longer a threat to people’s safety, but she said it has been difficult to get financial help beyond the City of Santa Barbara’s donation of $10,000 and Smart & Final’s discount. “It’s a heavy lift,” she said of the buyback’s fifth year. “We’re a grassroots nonprofit, and we wish more local companies or grant-makers would see the importance of doing this.
The people turning in their guns were asked if they had other weapons; if they did, they received gun locks, Wellen said. The Santa Barbara Police Department donated the gun locks and also had officers working to take in the guns. In all, 84 cars entered Earl Warren Showgrounds to participate, SBPD spokesperson Anthony Wagner said. As for the fate of the removed weapons, Wagner said the police department’s property manager took them to a metal recycling center where they were ground into dust.