San Bernardino County Gun Buy Back: The Basics

Locations for the June 1 gun buyback

Barstow: Cora Harper Community Center, 841 Barstow Road

Redlands: Stater Bros., 11 E. Colton Ave.

Rialto: Stater Bros., 571 E. Foothill Blvd.

San Bernardino: Stater Bros., 444 E. Base Line

Upland: Stater Bros., 919 N. Mountain Ave.

Victorville: Stater Bros., 15235 Hook Blvd.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Source: San Bernardino County Sheriff s Department

The goal is to get guns off the streets and out of homes.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, along with 10 police departments, will hold the first countywide Gun Buyback Program on June 1, funded with $100,000 from Proposition 30 - the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012.

The decision to do this was made at a meeting of the San Bernardino County Police Chiefs and Sheriff's Association, said Upland Police Chief Jeff Mendenhall, who is president of the group.

Several county law-enforcement agencies have individually held "no questions asked" gun-buyback programs, but the association thought a combined effort would heighten public awareness of the event, Mendenhall said.

"The end result is to reduce gun violence," Mendenhall said.

The group voted to take the money "right off the top" of the combined Proposition 30 funding before it is divided among the county's various law enforcement agencies, he said.

Five of the six locations where firearms can be turned in anonymously are in the parking lots of Stater Bros. and guns will be purchased with Stater Bros. gift cards that were sold to the association "at a discount," Mendenhall said.

"Stater Bros. has always been very supportive of law enforcement," he said.

There is no limit to the amount of firearms that can be turned in.

Participants will be given a $50 gift card for inoperable weapons, up to $100 in gift cards for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and up to $200 in gift cards for firearms classified as assault weapons by California.

Weapons will be checked to see if they have been stolen, and if they have, every effort will be made to return them to the owner," Mendenhall said.

The other collected firearms will be destroyed in the electric furnace of Rancho Cucamonga's TAMCO Steel Mini Mill, Mendenhall said.

"Illegally acquired weapons can be turned in and no questions will be asked," he said.

Law enforcement officials will not be taking pictures of participants, nor will they be logging license plate numbers or running ballistic tests on the guns that are turned in, says a Sheriff's Department fact sheet on the buyback.

"The gun buyback is not a sting," the fact sheet said.

The San Bernardino Police Department held a gun buyback program on Dec. 18, 2010, at what was then called Arrowhead Credit Union Stadium, said police Capt. Ron Garcia.

The buyback yielded 211 guns, including 108 rifles and shotguns and 10 firearms that are illegal to own in California, among them several sawed-off shotguns, Garcia said.

Don't expect the June 1 effort to yield many semi-automatic assault style rifles, said Richard Moore, owner of Dave's Indoor Gun & Archery in San Bernardino.

Rifles in this category that sold for between $700 and $900 during the middle of 2012 are now being purchased for $2,000 or more as the national debate continues on whether or not the sale of these firearms should be banned, he said.

San Bernardino Police Chief Rob Handy said that if the countywide gun buyback saves just one human life, it will have been worth the effort.

Often family circumstances change and a gun is no longer wanted, said Handy. For example, new parents may want to dispose of a seldom-used firearm, he said.

"This provides an opportunity for people who don't want them around," he said.

And, he said, it reduces the risk that criminals might gain a weapon during a burglary.