One hundred and fifteen.
That’s how many firearms were surrendered Saturday during the Solano County Gun Buyback 2018 event held at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo.
The buyback event was presented by the Vallejo Police Department in partnership with the Robby Poblete and Eric Reyes foundations.
Pati Navalta-Poblete underscored what Saturday’s event truly meant.
“A father brought in a firearm today that he found in his son’s room,” she explained. “The son is experiencing mental issues currently so that really does show that programs like these aren’t just about bringing in a grandparent’s broken firearm.”
Navalta-Poblete, started the Robby Poblete Foundation in honor of her son, who was shot and killed in 2014. Robby Poblete was shot by a firearm obtained illegality, so the foundation’s mission to reduce gun violence by removing unwanted guns, which have the potential of being stolen and used to commit crimes, from the community.
Once turned in, the weapons are dismantled, melted down, and then given to artists, which craft various art pieces, as part of the foundation’s Art of Peace program.
The foundation was a major sponsor of the gun buyback event in 2017 which brought in 66 handguns, 111 rifles, and three assault rifles, according to the foundation’s website.
Vallejo Police Capt. John Whitney said there was still interest from the community to surrender firearms this year.
“We had people lined up this morning, before we began accepting firearms,” he said. “Within the first 15 to 20 minutes we had 50 guns surrendered.”
Whitney explained that the firearms are not checked to determine if they have been used in any crimes. He said that is part of the no-questions-asked guarantee offered with the buyback.
“Our ultimate goal is get the guns off the street,” he added.
Isabel Reyes agreed.
“This is really awesome,” she said inside Exposition Hall, while a slew of rifles and handguns were processed by technicians. “It’s going really well, the amount of surrenders has been steady.”
Like, Navalta-Poblete, Reyes isn’t a stranger to losing a son to gun violence. She founded the Eric Reyes Foundation in honor of her son, after the senior at Jesse Bethel High School was shot and killed Feb. 6, 2016 on Springs Road.
The foundation was established to work with at-risk youth.
Individuals who turned in a rifle or shotgun were eligible for a $100 gift card for each weapon surrendered. Likewise, $200 gift cards were handed out for each handgun or assault rifle handed over during the event.
Thank you: Times Herald