by Toni Wellen, CAGV Chair Emeritus

The Coalition Against Gun Violence, the City of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Police Department are sponsoring our 6th Anonymous Gun Buyback at Earl Warren Showgrounds on Saturday, August 21, 2021 8 am until noon. Donors will receive a $100 Smart & Final Gift Card for each handgun or rifle and $200 for an assault weapon.

NOTE: Those who have guns illegally have an opportunity to turn them in anonymously.

CONSIDER: The gun buyback is an opportunity to insure a safer home for your family.

The success of Coalition Against Gun Violence 5 past gun buyback’s exceeded all expectations. Since our first Gun Buyback in 2014, we collected 1169 firearms including 12 assault weapons in exchange for Smart & Final gift cards. Would these guns have been crime guns? We know that these weapons will never be used in a homicide, suicide or accidental shooting, therefore many homes and our community are safer because they’ve been removed.

People in Santa Barbara County respond enthusiastically to CAGV’s Gun Buybacks by donating funds and turning in guns.

The Gun Buyback event always proceeds smoothly. Cars are lined up 20 deep by 8:00 a.m. at Earl Warren Showgrounds. Santa Barbara police officers will use cones to form two lanes. Officers speak to each driver, removes the firearm(s) from the trunk, securing the trigger with a plastic tie after checking that the chamber is empty. A chit is placed under the windshield wiper denoting the type and how many guns. Police temporarily store the weapons in large Marborg trash containers by type. The driver then drives to the CAGV table where they fill out an anonymous survey after which the driver receives a S & F gift card and everyone in the vehicle receives a delicious cookie.

After the event, firearms are transported to the Santa Barbara Police Station. Each firearm’s serial number is searched. If the weapon is found to be stolen, it is returned to the original owner. If law enforcement discovers the weapon was used in a crime, they figure it is now off the streets and will be completely destroyed along with all the rest. For those wondering, a crime or illegal gun might be anonymously turned in at a gun buyback. For those skeptics, it is highly unlikely a crime gun would be turned in at a gun buyback.

CAGV extends praise to Santa Barbara Police department and the young cadets for believing in the efficacy of gun buybacks and organizing a smoothly run event. Their perfect planning, organization and professionalism allow the event to flow smoothly. One of CAGV’s goals is to demonstrate to the community through our collaboration with the police department that our officers are enthusiastic about working on the event and voice their appreciation about being involved in a gun buyback in Santa Barbara.

Every child lost to gun violence is your child. Each death diminishes us. Silence is not an option—inaction is not an option. Where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths.

Statistically, having a gun in your home is more dangerous for you and your family, especially if you have young children or teens. Although it is impossible to know the intent of a gun purchase, it is notable that people who purchased firearms during the pandemic are 70% more likely to be suicidal than other firearm owners.Gun sales in the United States have skyrocketed in response to the coronavirus, according to the FBI’s Background Check System. In 2020, gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans, according to the Gun Violence Archive, more than any other year in two decades. An additional 24,000 people died by suicide with a gun. In California handgun sales increased 65% amid the pandemic.

The NRA released a video in March 2020 urging Americans to stock up on guns for personal safety. “I hope I survive the coronavirus,” said a woman in the video. “That’s up to God. What’s in my control is how I defend myself if things go from bad to worse.”

Almost in response 2 million firearms were purchased in March 2020 at the initial surge of the COVID pandemic. More than 2.5 million Americans became first-time gun owners during the first four months of 2020. NOTE: There are approximately 393 million firearms in America, amounting to “120.5 firearms for every 100 residents. In effect America has more guns than people.

A final word: At CAGV’s first gun buyback press conference, a member of the press asked, “What would you consider a success?” Immediately Santa Barbara County Attorney Joyce Dudley said, “One gun. One gun could save a life.”


Event Location:
U.S. Hwy 101 & Las Positas Rd. Entrance on Calle Real
To view location of Earl Warren Showgrounds ala Google Maps and get direction: CLICK HERE

Instructions for Turning in Firearms:• Put unloaded firearms in trunk of car: handguns, rifles, assault weapons.
• Drive to Calle Real entrance. Remain in vehicle at all times.
• Police officer requests driver to open trunk. Inspects and removes weapons.
• Officer gives driver/donor card which notes each firearm.
• Donor drives forward & gives card to CAGV member and receives gift card — $100 for handgun & rifle, $200 for an assault weapon.
• Ammunition is accepted but no gift card is given.

Gun Buyback events like these won’t solve gun violence by themselves, but they ARE an important part in the collective effort to save lives.

AUGUST 21, 2021 CAGV Gun Buyback SPONSORS include: City of Santa Barbara • Santa Barbara Police Department • Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley • Santa Barbara County Supervisors Das Williams, Gregg Hart, Joan Hartmann • Mayor Paula Perotte, City of Goleta • Carpinteria City Council • Smart & Final • Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee • Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County • US Foundation

BREAKING NEWS: John Palminteri KEYT.COM: An anonymous gun buyback program has been announced for August 21 in Santa Barbara.

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