Santa Clara County hosts gun buy-back event

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SAN JOSE — An anonymous gun buyback event in San Jose today is offering cash in exchange for unwanted firearms.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and Sheriff Laurie Smith are co-hosting the event, which is scheduled to take place from 8 a.m. to noon at Reid-Hillview Airport at 2500 Cunningham Ave. in San Jose.

People will receive $100 for each handgun, shotgun and rifle and up to $200 for each assault rifle.

“What’s really important about this is its anonymous. We’re not taking down names or license plates,” Chavez said.

The event is open to anyone in or outside the county, Chavez said.

As a safety precaution, anyone who plans to bring a firearm to the event must keep it in the trunk of the car.

Chavez and Smith announced the event during a news conference Tuesday when they wore orange in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, an inaugural event dedicated to honor those killed by guns and to call attention to being responsible with firearms.

The national awareness day grew from a campaign by students in Chicago, where 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed at a park just a week after marching alongside President Barack Obama during a parade for his second inauguration in 2013, Chavez said.

The awareness day was held on Tuesday, what would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday, according to campaign organizers.

About 2,200 firearms have been accumulated across four gun buyback events the county held in 2013 and 2014, Chavez said.

The event is an effort to help “create an environment where everyone is safe and can live without the threat of violence,” according to Chavez.

The supervisor hopes today’s event can help initiate conversation on safety when using guns.

The event is “an easy way to dispose a weapon you no longer want to keep and make sure that it gets out of the hands of a child or burglar,” Chavez said.

When the firearms are turned, deputies render them safe, determine their price value and record the serial numbers, sheriff’s Sgt. James Jensen said.

The firearms are then destroyed at a plant through a third-party contractor with the county, sheriff’s Sgt. James Jensen said.

A total of $45,000 has been made available for the buyback event funded through the nonprofit FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and the sheriff’s office’s asset forfeiture fund, Jensen said.

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