The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is hosting an event Sunday in North County where people can trade in firearms — no questions asked — for gift cards worth $100 – $200 apiece.

The Guns for Gift Cards event aims to get unwanted guns off the streets and out of homes where they may not be secured. The event will be held at MiraCosta College in partnership with the county District Attorney’s Office, and the cities of Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar.

Sheriff’s Lt. Christopher Lawrence said many people may have firearms in their homes, in collections or used in hobbies, that they don’t use anymore and they don’t want to have them lying around. An event like this one is a safe way to get rid of them.

Sometimes the guns are linked to criminal activity.

“We do sometimes get firearms that have been stolen or have been used in crimes, and it’s an opportunity to get those off the street as well,” he said.

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At the trade-in event, people who bring in weapons will be asked to keep the unloaded firearms in the trunk of their respective vehicles. Sheriffs deputies will provide instructions and take things from there.

Because of the no-questions-asked policy, department authorities said they expect to receive some “ghost guns” — firearms that can be assembled by the owners from parts and do not have serial numbers.

Lawrence said the Sheriffs Department collects unwanted firearms regularly, but the Sunday event offers the opportunity for people who turn in guns to get something in return.

“We will always take a gun from the public off their hands that they want to get rid of at any of our stations,” he said. “This is just an event that gives you a little more incentive because you’re going to get a gift card for it.”

The Sheriffs Department usually sees about 300 firearms returned at Guns for Gift Cards events across the county, Lawrence said.

The upcoming event at MiraCosta College, located at 3333 Manchester Avenue in Encinitas, will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Handguns, rifles and shotguns can be traded in for a $100 Target gift card each and assault weapons can be traded in for a $200 Target gift card. The weapons must be functioning and not loaded.

Non-functioning guns will also be accepted but they cannot be exchanged for a gift cards.

All of the firearms turned in during the event will be destroyed.

Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com

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