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Press Release gun buyback brings in more than 400 firearms

First countywide gun buyback since COVID brings in more than 400 firearms

County of Santa Clara, CA - The County of Santa Clara Gun Buyback at the Milpitas Community Center on May 22, 2022, saw more than 400 firearms voluntarily turned in by residents in the first buyback event since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to $100 was offered per handgun or rifle and $200 per assault weapon or ghost gun. Free gun locks were provided to residents to help promote gun safety.

This successful event was a collaborative effort by Supervisor Otto Lee, County of Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office, Milpitas Police Department and City of Milpitas, and included law enforcement support from the County of Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office, and the police departments of San José, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, and Los Gatos. 

Firearms from this event will be destroyed unless they are found to be stolen and returned to their owner.

“Together, our community has come one step closer to making County of Santa Clara safer by getting unwanted guns off the streets,” District Attorney Rosen noted. 

“Let’s continue on this same path to end gun violence.”

“We are thankful to all of our neighbors that voluntarily turned in these unwanted firearms today. When we look at the harm and impacts of gun violence, it’s important to hold these events frequently as a service to our community, to help responsible gun owners with no need for the firearms to dispose of them safely,” said Supervisor Lee. “I want us to hold these events annually in various parts of our County to stop incidents of gun violence that are preventable. More than 75% of non-fatal injuries are unintentional or accidental, and self-harm makes up for 60% of gun deaths - the guns we collected today will help save lives.”

Chris Arriola and Hugo Meza led this effort from the District Attorney’s Office and Chief Jared Hernandez and Captain Frank Morales led this effort on behalf of the Milpitas Police Department.  

Updated information on the event will be shared once the firearms collected are fully reviewed. Please contact any office individually for additional information.

[UPDATED May 24, 2022]

  • 182 vehicles attended the May 22, 2022 Event
  • 415 Firearms were voluntarily turned in
  • $42,500 was spent on the gun purchases

Of the weapons collected:

  • Handgun: 176
  • Rifle: 145
  • Shotgun: 73
  • Assault Weapon: 14
  • Ghost Gun: 7

May 2022 Gun Buyback Event and exchange details

If you know someone who may be a danger to themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-(800) 273-8255. For information on gun safety, visit the County Behavioral Health Services Gun Safety webpage.  

If you would like to learn more about the Gun Violence Restraining Order law, visit the Speak for Safety website

Photos from the event: 

Chief Jared Hernandez, Milpitas Police Department; County of Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen; County Supervisor Otto Lee.

Gun violence in America, California, and County of Santa Clara

The damage brought by gun violence is too common an occurrence in America. As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in 2021, this is a public health crisis that our country has grown to know all too well. 

Gun violence is a complex issue that sadly does not have an easy solution. While we work to address the roots of hate, anger, and sadness that drives so much of this violence, we also want to take actions to get guns out of the community. 

Gun buyback events go back to the 1960’s in Philadelphia, but it was not until the 1990’s that these events became a more common effort to help reduce gun violence.

We are taking action to end this senseless and heinous gun violence in our communities. We’re also taking action to stop preventable self-harm and violence. While data on the success of gun buyback events is limited, buyback events have helped to collect thousands of unwanted guns and keep weapons off the streets - including here in County of Santa Clara. We’re working to save lives.

The County of Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office held a gun buyback event in Gilroy in 2019 after the Garlic Festival Shooting, and held one for North County in late 2018. These events helped remove hundreds of firearms from our community. The San Jose Police Department held their last buyback event in 2018. It is time for our community to continue to hold these events annually. 

After buyback events, firearms acquired by the County of Santa Clara’s District Attorney’s Office will be checked to make sure they were not stolen, and the firearms will be stored until they are sent out for destruction. Firearms that are voluntarily surrendered will not be sold.

The County of Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department has a Gun Relinquishment Program where individuals may turn in any unwanted firearms. Please contact the Sheriff’s Office for more information 408-299-2311 or visit

If you know someone who may be a danger to themselves - call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Please visit the County Behavioral Health Services Gun Safety webpage for more information about gun safety.  

Here’s what we do know about gun violence:

Gun violence in America

  • Nearly every American will know at least one victim of gun violence in their lifetime
  • 117,345 people are shot every year - Among those 40,620 people die from gun violence
  • 321 people are shot in the United States every day - Among those 111 people are killed
  • On an average day 100 Americans are killed with guns 
  • Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed in a gun homicide than people in other high-income countries
  • 60% of firearm related deaths in the US are suicides
  • The US accounts for just 4% of the world’s population but 35% of global firearm suicides

Gun violence in California

  • More than 3,100 gun deaths per year - 7.8 Gun Deaths Per 100K
  • On average someone is killed with a gun every three hours in California
  • The direct costs of gun related hospitalizations in California was estimated at $87.4 million dollars in 2010 - 65% of which was shouldered by taxpayers

Gun violence in County of Santa Clara

  • People in San José owned approximately 250,000 guns in 2020 - figuring 50,000 to 55,500 household own guns
  • 122 Gun violence restraining orders, GVRO, were issues in 2019 - nearly four times increase from the prior year
  • More than 750 assaults and robberies were committed with a firearm in San Jose in 2019
  • Annually, more than 200 people are killed or injured by gunfire in San José
  • Annually, San José spends at least $7.9 million responding to shootings
  • Law enforcement agencies in County of Santa Clara took nearly 300 ghost guns off our streets in 2021 - more than double from the prior year 

Youth impact

  • Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens
  • Every day, 22 children and teens, ages 1-17, are shot in the United States - Among those five die from gun violence
  • 3 million children are directly exposed to gun violence each year, resulting in death, injury, and lasting trauma
  • 1 in 3 homes with children have guns, many left unlocked or loaded 

Guns used for hate and domestic violence

  • 25 million US adults have been threatened or non-fatally injured by an intimate partner with a firearm
  • Nearly 1 million women alive today have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner
  • The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increase the risk of the woman being killed by FIVE TIMES
  • Women in the United States are 21 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries.
  • Every year, an average of 10,300 hate crimes involve firearms - 28 hate crimes involve a firearm each day
  • Nearly a fifth of hate crimes are based on sexual identity and gender identity bias. LGBTQ+ are more likely to be targeted for a hate crime more than any other group 

[Source: and Brady Campaign - County and City Reports]

Learn more about the Gun Violence Restraining Order law - Speak for Safety website.  

Supervisor Otto Lee - Mark Tiernan
(669) 309-3219 | [email protected]

County of Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen - Chris Arriola
(408) 792-2978 | [email protected] 

Milpitas Police Department - Captain Morales
(408) 586-2400 | [email protected] 

More photos