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The city’s first-ever gun buyback was set for Saturday, officials announced
By Melissa Pamer and Ted Chen | Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 | Updated 8:10 PM PST
In the wake of a series of Orange County shootings that left three slain, Santa Ana officials on Wednesday announced the city’s first-ever gun buyback program.
At the Santa Ana Police Department Wednesday, municipal and public safety officials said the city would offer hundreds of dollars for guns, rifles and semiautomatic weapons at an event Saturday.
The announcement came a day after a series of carjackings and shootings that stretched from Ladera Ranch to Tustin and left three dead, plus the gunman, who killed himself.
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido had said in December that he wanted the city to organize its first-ever gun buyback following Los Angeles’ announcement that it would move up its annual spring gun buyback after the Newtown, Conn., massacre.
On Wednesday, Pulido cited Tuesday’s killings as evidence that the city needed to work on gun violence, saying the shooting rampage allegedly committed by Ali Syed “is probably not the end.”
“None of us are safe,” Mayor Miguel Pulido said at a news conference announcing the buyback Tuesday. “We all have to do what we can do in order to address this.”
Gun violence has dropped in recent years in Santa Ana, but Police Chief Carlos Rojas said most guns used in crimes are stolen — and any gun removed from circulation will help public safety, he said.
“This isn’t a long-term solution to stemming gun violence,” Rojas said. “But what I can guarantee you is that the guns that are taken into our custody on Saturday will not be used in a crime here in our city, will not be stolen from a house and used in a crime.”
Gun advocates have doubts about the efficacy of gun buybacks.
“All you’re doing is substituting one gun for another. You’re taking these guns and destroying them, and people are buying new guns to replace them,” said C.D. Michel, an attorney for the National Rifle Association.
The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday near Santa Ana Stadium. Authorities will offer $100 to $200 gift cards for handguns and rifles, and $300 gift cards for assault weapons.
Those who wish to turn in guns can do so anonymously, but they must provide proof of residence in Santa Ana, officials said.
The event is being funded by $80,000 seized during an illegal-drug investigation, the Orange County Register reported.