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San Diego Takes Initiatives Against Gun Violence

San Diego County Sheriff's document surrendered firearms at a

Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's

Above: San Diego County Sheriff's document surrendered firearms at a "Guns for Gift Cards" event in Vista. July 11, 2021.

San Diego is taking steps to crack down on the increase in guns.

A total of 298 weapons were exchanged for gift cards or skateboards Sunday at a Guns For Gift Cards event conducted by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Listen to this story by Tania Thorne.

The event was held at the Vista Court complex parking lot, according to sheriff's officials, at 325 South Melrose Drive.

RELATED: As Gun Violence Rises In San Diego, Local Leaders Call For Greater Awareness

Participants received a $100 gift card for handguns, rifles and shotguns or a $200 gift card for assault weapons. They could also exchange their unwanted weapons for a new skateboard. By the end of the event, officials says about 20 skateboards were given out.

Sheriff’s Lieutenant David Buether said event organizers didn't expect the high turnout.

“We did run out of gift cards. I’m not sure when. But we had nearly 300 firearms that were surrendered in that time period, so many people ended up with IOU’s,” he said.

The weapons will be checked to see if they were involved in a crime. If any guns are found to be stolen, the original owners will be contacted.

RELATED: San Diego Police Department Sees Rise In ‘Ghost Guns’

Sheriff's officials said all remaining weapons will be destroyed.

The San Diego City Council declared that June would be Gun Violence Awareness Month.

“June was gun violence prevention month and sometimes local government is a little more challenged in terms of being able to be an active participant in gun violence (prevention). It can be a challenging conversation that will happen over the long term,” said Joe LaCava, District 1 City of San Diego Council member.

LaCava is just one of the San Diego city council members working to be a part of the conversation on combating gun violence.

“We here in San Diego want to be able to act quicker so every level (of government) has to work to prevent gun violence in our communities. That’s why we’re taking action here locally, to help supplement the state and federal efforts so that we’re all on the same page,” said Marni Von Wilpert, District 5 City of San Diego Council member.

Council member Marni Von Wilpert asked the San Diego Police Department for a report on so-called ghost guns, firearms that usually can’t be traced.

Reported by Tania Thorne

San Diego Police Department found they were on track to nearly double the number of ghost guns seized.

The data will be presented to the council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, Wednesday morning, and will help with prevention measures to follow.

RELATED: San Diego Judge Overturns California Assault Weapons Ban

San Diego District 7 Council member, Raul Campillo, is vice chair of that committee.

“What we’re trying to bring attention to is for families to know that they have to lock up their gun and keep it safe from people who are vulnerable to gun violence. But two, if they don't want to keep it they can bring it to these gun buyback, or gun giftback events, where no questions are asked,” said Campillo.

The sheriff’s department’s buy back events happen regularly, but if anyone wants to surrender a firearm, they can be dropped off at any sheriff’s station anytime.

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