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Countywide Gun Buyback Set for March 2

Santa Clara County will pay out between $100 and $200 to people for their weapons.

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager today announced a gun buyback program set for next month to reduce firearm-related crimes and deaths in the county.

The program "will allow anyone to turn in a firearm with no questions asked," Yeager said at a news conference at the county government center this morning with Sheriff Laurie Smith, District Attorney Jeff Rosen and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

The buyback event will take place on March 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds at 344 Tully Road. People can turn in their guns anonymously, and will be paid $100 for a handgun, rifle or shotgun and $200 for an assault weapon, Yeager said.

"We know this is not an easy problem to solve," Yeager said. "If this program prevents one death, it is worth it."

Yeager said he hopes it will be "the biggest buyback event in the Bay Area" after similar events in San Francisco, Alameda, Marin and San Mateo counties netted hundreds of guns each.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved allocating $150,000 toward the buyback, Yeager said.

Reed said the program is "a small step that we can take on the local level" but that larger steps are needed on the federal level to reduce the supply of guns, such as a requirement for universal background checks for prospective gun buyers.

"There is no reason for mentally unstable people to buy guns," Reed said. "If we get a few hundred guns off the streets that would be a good thing, but much needs to be done.

Rosen said guns are tied to many tragic events, from drunken fights that turn deadly to suicides and the accidental deaths of children.

"What would have happened if a gun had not been there?" Rosen said. "How many gang drive-bys will be just drive-bys?"

The district attorney's office has contributed $10,000 toward the gun buyback, he said.

"The community expects this, and that is why we are doing this," Smith said.

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