Marin gun buyback draws more people than expected as national weapons debate swells

The national debate over guns continues to swell in the wake of the recent massacre of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and as mass shootings continue in communities across the nation, seemingly unabated.

In the Bay Area, a gun buyback on Saturday organized by Marin County attracted a surprising number of people. And separately, hundreds of residents joined a march against guns across the Golden Gate Bridge.

“We expected a lot of people, but not this many people,” San Rafael Police Chief David Spiller said, looking out at a line of cars outside of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, where the gun buyback was taking place.

The county of Marin, in partnership with several local police agencies and city governments, held the buyback event. It allows people to bring in guns they no longer want and drop them off, no questions asked. The firearms are then destroyed.

San Mateo County also hosted a gun buyback on Saturday, at a parking lot in South San Francisco.

The Marin buyback event opened at 9 am By then, there were already dozens of cars waiting.

“I think people’s attitudes towards guns are changing,” said Kate Colin, the mayor of San Rafael. “After the mass shootings we’ve seen recently, I think people are wondering, ‘What can we do in our own homes?’ — What they can do is this.”

Traffic near the anonymous gun buyback program at the Marin County Sheriff’s Office.

Felix Uribe/Special to The Chronicle

Spiller said he expected the event to pull hundreds of guns off the streets.

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