Federal Way’s gun buyback runs out of gift cards early

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Hundreds of unwanted firearms were turned in Saturday in Federal Way’s first ever gun buyback.

Federal Way’s city coffers are $25,000 lighter as a long line of gun owners turned in their weapons for a gift card. It’s the latest city to hold a gun buyback in an effort to remove guns from the streets.

They ran out of money early, about a half hour before the buyback ended.

But it is no surprise. The line around the parking lot was so long, some people waited for two hours or longer to get turn their weapons in for a gift card.

“My father passed away around 10 years ago,” said Ila Evans-Thompson. “And I found a gun in his briefcase.”

Evans-Thompson, who lives in Renton, waited in the line that snaked around the parking lot at Federal Way City Hall — in her possession, a weapon she did not want.

“I have two grandbabies now,” she said. “And I’d always wanted to get rid of that gun. So, this was the opportunity.”

In that, she had lots of company.

“My mother-in-law passed away about 10 years ago,” said Andy Santo Domingo, “and going through her belongings didn’t realize she owned a little handgun.”

Santo Domingo, a Sumner resident, had an unwanted gun, too.

“And I’ve been meaning to do this kind of a thing for quite some time,” he said.

“Oh, this is a great idea,” exclaimed John Butts of Federal Way. “Absolutely great idea because it gets guns off the street, out of people’s houses that probably someone might end up stealing someday, end up on the streets. Just glad to get rid of them.”

Like so many communities, South King County has seen an uptick in violent crime.

Last month, two armed men broke into a Federal Way mail salon after allegedly bursting into a smoke shop in Pacific.

They are still on the run.

Federal Way’s mayor says he pushed for this gun buyback, believing it will make a difference.

“We really want to avoid not only crime in the community,” said Mayor Jim Ferrell. “But also to prevent tragedies with young kids getting hold of firearms that are not secured or people going through issues.”

No matter what, they won’t have access to these.

The mayor says the money for the buyback came out the police department’s budget.

He says some guns will be melted down, but not all. Some could be repurposed by the local police department. And each one will be fired, with the bullet entered into a database to determine if it was used in a crime.

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