An anonymous donation is keeping the Phoenix gun buyback program going for one final Saturday, May 18.
Mayor Greg Stanton announced his plans for the buyback during his State of the City Address at the beginning of the year. At that time the city had been given a $100,000 donation to use for the program, which was scheduled for the first three weeks of May.
The money was used to purchase Bashas’ gift cards in various amounts which were given in exchange for working rifles, handguns and shotguns.
The response to the first week was so great that organizers ran out of gift cards after taking in 803 guns. The city did some fundraising in order to raise more funds for the second week. In two weeks the city was able to bring in a total of 979 guns.
Stanton announced Tuesday that he had received a call from an individual who was motivated by the success of the gun buyback program and who offered a $100,000 donation to keep the program going for its scheduled third week.
Because of the donation Stanton said he anticipates the third week of the program being as successful as the first. The Phoenix Police Department will collect guns beginning at 9 a.m. at three locations: Southminster Presbyterian, 1923 E. Broadway Road; Betania Presbyterian, 2811 N. 39th Ave.; and Sunnyslope Mennonite Church, 9835 N. 7th St.
Any firearm that is a handgun, shotgun or a rifle will be exchanged for a $100 gift card. Any assault weapons, which are defined on the Arizonans for Gun Safety website, azfgs.com, will be worth a $200 gift card.
Those interested in turning in a gun are asked to bring it empty and in a case, if possible, and place it in the trunk or backseat of your vehicle. Officers at the locations will give further directions.
The guns will all be checked to see if any are stolen. If stolen, the gun will be returned to its rightful owner. The ballistics of each gun will then be checked and added to national registries to see if any of the guns have been used in crimes. Any guns that can be used for training purposes will be used by the Phoenix Police Department, while all others will be melted down.
The state Legislature recently passed a bill that in the future would force any group doing a gun buyback program to re-sell those guns rather than melt them down. Stanton said his feeling is that decisions of what to do with those collected guns should be made by local law enforcement, as it is currently.
It’s unknown if the city will do more gun buyback programs in the future.
“As mayor of this city I could not be more proud about how this city has responded to this program,” Stanton said. “Their participation has been overwhelming. Now, leaders in this community that have the financial wherewithal have stepped up to the plate to support this incredibly important program. Good things will result from this generous donation.”
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