SEATTLE - Seattle and King County officials announced a new gun buyback program that will have people handing in their unwanted guns in exchange for Amazon gift cards.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn joined former mayors Norm Rice and Charles Royer, and police and community leaders to announce Seattle's first gun buyback program in 20 years.
The program will pay citizens for the voluntary surrender of firearms – no questions asked - with the goal of reducing gun violence.
The first buyback will occur in downtown Seattle in the parking lot underneath Interstate 5 between Cherry and James Streets on Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. More dates and locations around Seattle and King County will be announced in the future.
People surrendering weapons will receive the following:
- Up to a $100 Amazon gift card for handguns, shotguns and rifles.
- Up a to $200 Amazon gift card for assault weapons as classified in the state.
Officials said the buyback is anonymous process. Police will not be taking pictures of participants, logging license plate numbers or running ballistic tests on the guns that are turned in. The guns' serial numbers will be run to see if they are stolen. If so, police will try to contact the owner and see what they want to do with the gun.
The Seattle Police Department will also be distributing trigger locks for those who want to secure their firearms. They will be available at each of the five precincts during normal business hours.
Seattle's last major gun buyback in 1992 was started by a group called Stop the Violence after three teenagers were shot during one weekend in Seattle. Two of them died.
During the buyback, Seattle police collected more than 1,700 firearms, paying $50 to each person who turned in one or more guns.
The money came from a community fundraising effort.
In the first four days of operation, the buy back ran out of money twice, paying out about $60,000.
Even so, a physicians' study following that buy back discovered that the program collected less than one percent of the guns in Seattle and had no significant impact on rates of gun crimes in the city.
The study concluded that a much larger number of guns would have to be collected to have much of an impact.
The Seattle Police Foundation committed $25,000 to the new Gun Safety Initiative and is coordinating the program.
Corporate sponsors include Amazon, which committed $30,000 in gift cards that will serve as a monetary incentive for those turning in a gun.
Other companies and community partners supporting the new buyback plan include Five Point Café, Jason Lajuenesse of Big Mario's, Jeff Steichen of Batch 206 Distillery, Nate Miles of Eli Lilly, Neumos, Nick and Leslie Hanauer, Nucor Steel, PEMCO, Quentin Ertel of Havana, SEO Moz, UW Medical Center, Associated Recreation Council, Café Racer, Jessie Summa-Kusiak of Sylark, Mount Zion Baptist Church, Marcus Lalario of 95 Slide, Lil Woody's and Alive and Well, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Nightlife and Music Association, Steven Severin, Michael Meckling and Jason Lajuenesse of Neumos, Moe Bar and Barboza.
The Seattle Police Foundation will continue to solicit funding for the program.
The guns that are collected will be melted down by Nucor Steel.
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