Santa Clara County officials launched a campaign May 6 to urge residents with unused guns to turn in weapons around the clock, any day of the year, without waiting for a gun buyback event.
Unlike the buybacks, the program will not be anonymous, but sheriff’s officials say the program is supposed to be “no questions asked.”
County Supervisor Dave Cortese was lauded by Sheriff Laurie Smith for his “common sense recommendation” as they announced the Firearms Relinquishment Program at the sheriff’s office headquarters.
“We’re not gonna ask any questions about where you got it, what it is, or anything like that,” Smith said. “Also, if it’s an illegal firearm that they’re turning in, we will not follow up on that.”
Illegal firearms include assault rifles that may have been legal to purchase in previous years, but are now subject to different laws.
Owners can drive to the sheriff’s office with unloaded weapons in their trunk, inform deputies that they’re turning in guns, and deputies will recover the weapons from their car.
The person turning in the gun will provide their name and receive a receipt, and officials will run the firearm through their system to determine if the gun has been stolen. Smith said stolen guns will be returned to their owners, and the remaining weapons will be destroyed.
If the sheriff’s office suspects that the firearm has been used in the commission of a crime, the gun will also undergo a ballistic test. The person who turned in the weapon will then be considered a witness.
Supervisor Cindy Chavez said the program hopes to address suicides by firearms in homes where guns are not actively used and accidental injuries to adults and children.
Officials are hoping to take a large volume of firearms off the street through the program, and received support during the announcement from members of the National Rifle Association and local Second Amendment advocacy
The county District Attorney’s Office is also supporting the program.
The sheriff’s office headquarters at 55 W. Younger Ave., San Jose, will accept guns 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Other drop-off locations during business hours are the West Valley Division at 1601 S. De Anza Blvd., Cupertino, and South County Station at 80 W. Highland Ave., San Martin.
The county will continue to offer safe gun and explosives pick-ups by deputies by calling 408-299-2311.