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Detroit Gun Buyback Program Nets 800 Weapons

Detroit Free Press via YellowBrix

September 03, 2010

DETROIT – All of the $20,000 donated for a gun buyback program held Thursday by the Detroit Police Department was spent and thousands more were committed in vouchers to cover the more than 800 guns turned in, police said.

Sgt. Eren Stephens said the no questions asked program at Second Ebenezer Church on Dequindre exhausted the $20,000 donated by the event’s cosponsor, Continental Management.

Of the 478 people who turned in guns, about 200 received vouchers for cash, which the department expects to cover through donations from other businesses and organizations, Stephens said. She said she couldn’t say how much the vouchers totaled, but said they added up to thousands of dollars.

Many residents brought guns that they had kept in their homes, but some no longer had use for or just wanted disposed. Interim Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. said every gun turned in will be destroyed and is one less gun that could potentially be stolen if there is a home invasion.

“We know that there are too many firearms that end up in the wrong hands,” Godbee said.

People who turned in a non-operational gun got up to $25, an operational gun fetched $50 and two or more operational weapons fetched $100. Guns turned in ranged from a variety of handguns, rifles and shotguns to a Civil War-era revolver.

Waiting in line at the church to hand over an old .38-caliber revolver given to him by his father, Troy Graham said he turned it in, in part, because he doesn’t believe the gun is registered.

Someone once broke into the 45-year-old Detroit resident’s house and stole a gun from his closet. He said he didn’t want the same thing to happen with the revolver.

“All I could do is file a police report,” Graham said.

Though she was glad to see the turnout, Yolanda McCants, a Detroit resident who worked as a volunteer at the event, said she wished she had seen more young people returning guns to get them off the streets.

“We could do more,” said McCants, vice president of the community relations council for the DPD’s Northeastern District. “The community could do more.”

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