San Diego Police collected more than 400 guns on Saturday at a “no questions asked” gift card redemption event in Kearny Mesa in an effort to get more guns off the streets.
Residents lined up in their cars outside of Police Square to return guns to working order for a $ 100 or $ 200 Target Stores gift card, depending on the type of weapon they are using. fire. All surrendered weapons will be destroyed.
“I expected a line, but it moved really fast. I had my Kindle so I was reading while I waited, ”said Marcia Hoston-Barra, a resident of San Diego.
Hoston-Barra owned several firearms that belonged to her late husband. Turning them into police officers was a bit of a relief.
“They belonged to my husband. He had had a stroke and hadn’t used them for years. Better just get rid of it, ”she said.
The exchange comes as officers across the county face an increase in gun crime.
“It may be a weapon that we are not going to encounter,” said San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit. “The number of guns we are seizing in the community right now: over 1,600 guns, over 355 phantom guns now. The number of banned people guns is alarming right now.”
“Our shootings are up 63% right now,” added Chief Nisleit. “Our homicides are on the rise. Gang homicides have increased by over 100 percent. We are seeing a lot of gun violence right now.”
Police say one of the dangers of owning a gun is that it could be stolen. Investigators say criminals often break into people’s cars and homes to get their guns.
“Every weapon is capable of doing damage,” said Gerald Johnson, chairman of the United African American Ministerial Action Council.
Johnson is encouraged by the participation. He understands that more must be done to combat gun violence.
“Ghost Guns,” also known as “do-it-yourself guns,” are unobtainable firearms that are personally made, reports NBC 7’s Lauren Coronado
“Let’s refocus that energy and get to the root of this violence, and then start working on the root of the problem,” Johnson said.
“I think it’s a bit of everything. I think the pandemic is playing a role, with courts closed, schools, people out of work, it all plays a role, “Nisleit said.
The San Diego Police Department, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, San Diego Gas and Electric, and AT&T each contributed financially to this effort.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department will be hosting another gun gift card event on October 9.
NBC 7’s Dave Summers criticizes the new ordinance that says the law will criminalize people overnight.