San Diego gun buyback is so popular, police ran out of money

The semi-annual gun buyback is a no questions asked way of takng guns off the street. (OnSceneTV)


San Diego police officers bought back 164 unwanted guns from people in South Bay on Saturday — a no-questions-asked event that proved so popular, officers ran out of the gift cards they provided in exchange for weapons.

“We ran out of money,” said Capt. Alberto Leos of the department’s Southern Division. “We gave out $25,000 in gift cards.”

He said officers had to turn away people hoping to take part in the exchange.

Officers handed out $150 in Wal-Mart gift cards for every handgun or rifle turned in. Each assault weapon netted $250 in Wal-Mart gift cards for the person handing it over to police.


The funding for the gift cards came from a partnership between the Casa Familiar community devleopment agency, the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County district attorney’s office.

The count of how many handguns and long guns were turned in will be made on Monday, but Leos said three of the weapons were assault rifles.

The buyback ran from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Park and Ride on Caliente Avenue near state Route 905.

Leos said Saturday’s haul was bigger than a similar event hosted a few months back, which he said drew just 47 weapons.

Figueroa writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.