Sacramento police buy back more guns. How officers fared compared to previous attempts

The Sacramento Police Department hosted its first gun buyback of 2023 on Saturday.

The event brought in 128 guns from the community, according to a news release from the department. That number is less than half of the guns collected at the department’s October buyback and six less than the same event from one year ago.

People could exchange handguns for $50 and privately manufactured “ghost guns” without a serial number for $100, police said.

“The firearms will be safely stored and destroyed at a later date,” according to the department.

As was the case with the previous buybacks, no questions were asked. But among those who gave a reason, according to the department, many cited a lack of knowledge or inability to safely store a weapon as reasons for participating.

Different from the previous two events: Sacramento police offered just cash rather than gift cards on Saturday.

In October, the reward was a $50 Amazon gift card because the department wanted to help people with holiday shopping. The May 2022 event gave away $50 gas gift cards due to high fuel prices at the time.

Saturday’s event lasted about five hours and the department said it gave out over $10,000. Sponsors included the Northern State Ecumenical Conference and the Knights of Columbus.

In October Dr. Garen Wintemute, a UC Davis Medical Center emergency room physician and director of the university’s Violence Prevention Research Program, told The Bee that 400 million guns are in circulation in the United States and 25% of all households in California have at least one gun.

He said that gun buyback events will not significantly reduce the number of guns in circulation or even the number of gun crimes; however, they give individual people and communities a sense that gun violence is not somebody else’s problem to fix.

“The Sacramento Police Department recognizes that community safety is a shared responsibility between the police department and the citizens we serve,” Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester said in Sunday’s news release. “We will continue to use innovative ideas to address gun and violent crime in our community.”