Gas cards for guns fuels 'overwhelming' buyback program in Sacramento

The Sacramento police department offered $50 gas cards to people who turned in guns. They ran out of the cards in 45 minutes on May 21, 2022. Photo: Sacramento police department

An offer to get a free $50 gas card in exchange for turning in a gun unleashed an overwhelming response in Sacramento over the weekend. 

The Sacramento police department quickly burned through its supply of gas cards as people turned in unwanted firearms on Saturday.

The department collected 134 weapons and within 45 minutes of the event's start posted that they had run out of the gift cards.

As part of the buyback, the Sacramento police collected an assault weapon, components from ghost guns, and other "illegally configured firearms," according to a Facebook post.

Fuel prices have been soaring and the average price of gas per gallon was $6.02 in Sacramento County on Monday, according to AAA. The opportunity to get some relief at the pump possibly contributed to the success of the event.

The department said there are many reasons that people voluntarily gave up their guns.

"Among the other reasons, community members most commonly cited a lack of experience or knowledge with firearms, lack of knowledge of the legality of the firearms, or an inability to safely store the firearms as the main reasons for participating in the exchange," the department said in a statement.

Gun buyback programs are nothing new with police departments and offer people a way to dispose of firearms with no questions asked.

"As a department we will continue to use innovative ideas to increase the safety of our community, said Chief Kathy Lester. "I truly believe violent crime prevention is a shared responsibility and today's overwhelming community participation is evidence of the success we can achieve together."