210 guns turned in at Guns for Gift Cards event in San Marcos

Event aims to keep guns out of wrong hands

SAN MARCOS, Calif. - A total of 210 guns – including three assault-style rifles and one military smoke grenade – were turned in at the Guns for Gift Cards event in San Marcos on Saturday.

Saturday was the first time they held the event in the North County.

One by one, deputies and officers wearing bulletproof vests removed firearms and rifles from the trunks of cars. Some were still wrapped up. Others looked like they have not been touched in years. All were traded for gift cards.

Bill Morrison dropped off a couple of guns.

"We don't need them and I sure don't want them out on the streets," he told 10News.

What is appealing to many is that once they drop off their guns, they are not asked any questions. Instead, they are just handed their gift cards.

That was the case for Debbie Vasquez, who dropped off a handgun that her roommate left behind.

"It brings people out like me," she said. "I was kind of scared to. Where do I take it? I didn't want to get in trouble. But no questions asked … came right and they handed me my card."

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said this buyback will keep guns out of the wrong hands. He said that during burglaries, guns are typically the items that are most sought after.

For others like Alessandro Gomez, it came down to the exchange. For assault weapons, they gave away a $150 gift card. For other types of firearms, they gave a $50 gift card.

All the weapons collected were to be destroyed, authorities said.

The money used to pay for the gift cards came from the Sheriff's Department's asset forfeiture fund.

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