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Gilroy Gun Buy Back Program Nets Nearly 500 Weapons

GILROY (CBS SF) -- It was impossible to ignore the backdrop against which Saturday's gun buyback program in Gilroy took place.

Cars stretched down the street as gun owners lined up to surrender their weapons in a community that was touched by tragedy and scarred by gun violence last summer during a mass shooting at the famed Gilroy Garlic Festival.


Santino William Legan cut through a fence at the festival and opened fire with a rifle. Three festival goers were killed and 13 others wounded before Legan killed himself.

By the end of the buy back program Saturday, more than 200 handguns, 159 rifles and 26 assault weapons were turned in. Authorities paid out more than $47,000.

Among the gun owners was Richard Anderson.

"When they had that shooting, we felt so bad for everybody," he told KPIX 5. "And it's our community. So, I think we should do what we can to get some of these guns out of our community."

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office partnered with the Morgan Hill and Gilroy police departments to sponsor the no-questions-asked event.

"We want people to come and turn in their unwanted guns," Deputy District Attorney Adam Flores told KPIX 5. "What we don't want is someone who holds onto a firearm, doesn't safely store it and then maybe their home is broken into. And then that firearm is taken and used to commit a crime."

The D.A. office offered $100 for every handgun and rifle and $200 for assault weapons. But many told KPIX 5 the money didn't matter -- they merely wanted the guns out of circulation.

"The money meant nothing compared to the thought of the guns ending up in the hands of the wrong person," said Rod Pintello. "My son-in-law felt very strongly that he would not want these guns to end up in the hands of someone that would hurt anybody -- especially the kids in our neighborhood."

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