Hundreds respond to gun buyback event

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SEATTLE —

The Seattle Police Department started their first gun buyback program in 20 years Saturday morning and hundreds of people showed up to the event.

 

The program is a $100,000 campaign in the latest attempt to cut violence by getting guns off the street.

 

In 1992, the Seattle Police Department started the gun buyback program. People turned in 1,171, which was only an estimated 1 percent of the guns in Seattle.

 

For Saturday’s event, Seattle police worked with King County and other sponsors in hopes of getting many people to turn unwanted guns into gift cards.

 

The event started at 9 a.m. and was expected to go until the 3 p.m., but the response was so big that the Seattle Police Department ran out of gift cards and had to end three hours early.

 

Police said if people turn in a handgun, shotgun or a rifle, the exchange will be a $100 gift card from places like Amazon.com.  For assault weapons, it would be a $200 gift card.

 

“Twelve gauge shotgun repeater weapon, some people would call them street sweepers,” said Chief John Diaz of the Seattle Police Department.

 

Once a gun was turned in, it becomes the Seattle Police Department’s property, and they intend to destroy it.

 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Rick Price spoke with a few people who turned in their guns.

 

“I don’t know, slow as it’s going, I don’t know if they’re making much of a dent in here, but it’s a good idea,” said Stan Pasin.

 

“I think for two reasons it was good to get it out of the house. One, there’s no accident that could happen now, and two, if there were to be a burglary, the gun is not there,” said Jack Jolley.

 

“For every gun that you can get back, that’s just one less gun. I know that there’s a lot more out there,” said Annette Tyson.

 

There were some people who didn’t support the event.

 

Collector Robert Haugh doesn’t think the criminals are giving up their guns.

 

“They’re wasting a lot of time and money for something that won’t do any good as far as crime goes,” said Haugh.

 

According to Seattle police, hundreds of guns were collected but the final count will be released Monday.

 

The Seattle Police Department said they hope to hold another gun buyback event soon.