FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KTXL) — Residents in Solano County had an opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted firearms with help from the Fairfield Police Department and other community leaders. Gift cards were given to them for the donated weapons.

Hundreds of firearms were collected at the anonymous gun buyback event Saturday.

“We’re just truly grateful to get unwanted guns off the streets. We’re not about taking people’s rights,” said Matt Garcia’s mother, Teresa Courtemanche.

Faith Partners and Community, along with the Matt Garcia Foundation, Fairfield police and the Solano County DA hosted the event at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

“Gun violence across the country, unfortunately and sadly, has increased. In our city it’s increased by five percent,” said Jeremy Profitt with the Fairfield Police Department.

In 2021, Fairfield police recovered 480 firearms off the streets. That’s a 68% increase from 2020.

Profitt said the gun buyback programs came at a crucial time.

Courtemanche’s son, Councilmember Matt Garcia, was murdered in 2008, with an illegal firearm. The shooter was convicted and is in prison.

“I just know Matt would be so happy to see his city, once again, stepping up to the plate like we always do. And trying to make a difference. To make a happy, healthy community for everyone,” said Courtemanche.

Before 10 a.m. Saturday, more than 67 weapons had already been turned in.

“This is my late father-in-law’s pistol that’s been sitting in a closet for years. We have no idea where it came from. And we were trying to find a place to get rid of it. We don’t want it in the home,” said Tom Lessig from Fairfield.

Aside from safely disposing unwanted weapons, police believe they are preventing further violence.

“It helps prevent firearms from being stolen or getting into the wrong hands,” said Profitt.