For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 01, 2016
San Rafael, CA -- Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian announced that his office will sponsor and coordinate a Gun Buyback Program on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, at five law enforcement locations in Marin County.
These locations are: the California Highway Patrol Marin Office, 53 San Clemente Drive, Corte Madera; the Novato Police Department, 909 Machin Avenue, Novato; the Mill Valley Police Department, One Hamilton Drive, Mill Valley; the San Rafael Police Department, 1400 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael; and the Marin County Sheriff's Point Reyes Sub-station, 101 4th Street Pt Reyes Station. The program will start at 11:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.
A regional approach is being used with operable firearms being accepted not only from Marin residents, but from residents of San Francisco, Contra Costa and Sonoma. The buyback policy is $200 in cash for operable semiautomatic handguns or operable assault rifles and $100 for any other operable firearm. The qualifying residents may turn in magazines, scopes and ammunition and any other firearm related paraphernalia. Although not compensated inoperable firearms of any type and vintage may be surrendered.
The program is being endorsed by a number of our community leaders. This list includes Congressmember Jared Huffman, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Mike McGuire representing Marin and Sonoma Counties, Senator Lois Wolk, representing Contra Costa County, Senator Loni Hancock, representing Contra Costa County, Assembly Member Marc Levine, representing Marin and Sonoma Counties, all five members of the Marin County Board of Supervisors as well as all of Marin Counties Chiefs of Police, plus San Francisco Police Chief Toney Chaplin and Richmond Police Chief Allywn Burns. Joining in endorsing the program are District Attorney George Gascon (San Francisco), District Attorney Mark Peterson (Contra Costa), and District Attorney Jill Ravitch (Sonoma), Chief Probation Officer Michael Daly (Marin) as well as Marin County's Superintendent of Public Instruction Mary Jane Burke.
Endorsements come as well from non-law enforcement and non-elected community leaders, including Dr. Grant Colfax, Marin County's HHS Director, Marin County's Public Health Director Dr. Matt Willis and Marin County Public Defender Jose Varela. Community organizations and associations have also stepped forward to endorse our effort and these include the Center for Domestic Peace, Community Violence Solutions, Marin City Performing Stars, Moms Demand Action, Marin County Prosecutors Association and the Marin County Police Chiefs/Sheriff's Association.
Our nation is enduring an epidemic of gun violence and currently no discernible answer to this illness exists. This is a complex and highly emotionally charged subject. Individuals of all ages, genders, races and national origins are the victims. For a six-month period in 2016 we lost 66 people across the nation in mass gun violence incidents. This figure does not reflect the daily losses from gun violence due to gang-related shootings, domestic violence incidents, suicides or deaths from negligent firearms handling and storage. The venues for these shootings touch our schools, streets, homes, shopping malls, night clubs, and even racing events.
In 2013 here in Marin, a Gun Buyback Program was conducted. This program was coordinated through the District Attorney's Office, partnering were the county's local law enforcement agencies, the Marin County Board of Supervisors, local City Councils, with generous financial support from the Marin Community Foundation and members of our community at large. Hundreds of firearms and a large volume of ammunition were collected and destroyed.
On September 13, 2016, Marin is conducting another Gun Buyback Program. These programs alone will not solve or cure our gun violence epidemic or make our streets safer from the determined attacker. But this does not mean we sit back and do nothing. This 2016 Gun Buyback initiative like the 2013 program is an awareness and recognition that there are simply too many firearms sitting in our homes, garages, and closets; often not properly secured or needed. The dangers are apparent giving accessibility to children and mentally impaired individuals. Firearms and ammunition when not properly secured are prized items stolen during burglaries.
Our law enforcement officers are called on to respond to incidents at homes more often than called to a street corner shoot-out and if some reduction in the quantity and accessibility to these deadly items can be reduced that is a good thing for the protection of our first responders. Buyback programs clearly are symbolic but also are a constructive, positive messaging to our community and demonstrate things can be done and just as importantly demonstrates we want to do something – even if a baby step.
Gun violence and reasonable gun regulation is a national problem and needs to be addressed nationally. Sadly, nothing is happening at that level. States like California which have some of the stronger gun regulations in place cannot escape the fact one can go to Nevada or Utah or some other state that has almost nothing regulatory in place and get guns and ammunition that then come back to haunt and endanger us. We need more than 30 seconds of silence in the U.S. House of Representatives, called by the Speaker of the House, in memory of lives lost after a mass killing – for that is all that currently happens when these tragic events unfold.
At the national level we have a few of our representatives (Congressman Huffman being one of them) who are trying to put in place the most modest of changes which require background checks on purchasers of firearms. Even this simple, logical step cannot get to a vote. The National Rifle Association (NRA) casts a large shadow in Washington and has been successful in muting Congressional action on even on the most modest, sensible and reasonable gun regulation. "Profit" before addressing our regulatory shortcomings seems to carry the day. It does not "profit" the NRA to work for reasonable, common sense regulations since they receive substantial financial support from the gun industry which bank hundreds of millions of dollars annually from selling their wares. From the NRA to our legislators sizable political contributions flow and, in the end, nothing happens. It is simply a disgrace – after these mass killing events the gun industry profits soar and they do nothing to dampen that reaction. How many more sons, grandsons, daughters, granddaughters, spouses and partners, schoolmates, co-workers, friends and neighbors do we need to lose in order to address the issue?
No one is saying throw out the Second Amendment we are only pleading for reasonable restraint and common sense regulation.
To join in our effort and to help assist to meet the program costs any monetary contribution of any size can and will be accepted by my office. No amount is too small and will demonstrate your belief that some type of action be taken. These donations can be directed to Ms. Sara Fusenig, Marin County DA's Office, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 130, San Rafael, California. For more information, call 415-473-6450.
Ed BerberianDistrict AttorneyCounty of Marin
Marin County Civic Center3501 Civic Center DriveSan Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6450