CATHEDRAL CITY – More than 50 guns were relinquished Saturday to the Cathedral City Police Department during the Department’s “Gun Buyback Program.”

More than 50 Guns Relinquished in Buyback EffortThe guns turned over during the Buyback Program become property of the Police Department.  Serial numbers were checked and the guns will be scheduled for destruction, according to Commander Paul Herrera. The firearms recovered will ultimately be melted down and turned into steel rebar; the rebar is used for a variety of construction projects.

Handguns amounted for almost half of the guns turned in and rifles amounted for the other half.  At least two “assault-type” rifles – as classified by the State of California – were turned in, Herrera said.

The Cathedral City Gun Buyback Program rewarded the voluntary surrender of guns, while engaging the community toward a common goal of reducing gun violence.  The event was created as an anonymous turn-in process in which individuals drove their vehicles up and surrendered their weapons, no questions asked.

“It is our desire to see the … program help ensure that we help provide the means for members of our community to safely dispose of their unwanted firearms, while receiving a monetary reward for doing so,” Chief Travis Walker said earlier this year when pitching the idea to the City Council. “The ultimate removal of these firearms will help prevent them from ending up in the hands of the criminal element.”

Those turning in guns were given gift cards from various local retailers and businesses. There was no limit to the number of firearms that individuals could turn in by individuals. Those who relinquished their guns received a $50 gift card for inoperable firearms, up to $100 in gift cards for handguns, $150 for shotguns and rifles, and up to $200 in gift cards for assault weapons (as classified in the State of California).

According to the Congressional Research Service, there are roughly twice as many guns per capita in the United States as there were in 1968: more than 300 million guns, just shy of being enough to arm every man, woman and child in the country.

The United States is the world’s leader in gun-related deaths. In December, the CDC published data showing 38,658 gun deaths for 2016, including suicides. The number of gun deaths recorded by CDC researchers has increased for two consecutive years.

The Cathedral City Police Department worked in partnership with Falcon Brands Inc. who assisted in funding this anti-crime program, which Herrera deemed a great success.