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Gun buyback program aims to get guns off Grand Rapids' streets

pic of gun buy back logo
City of Grand Rapids
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The gun buyback event will be hosted on Saturday, September 17 at 30 Burton St. SW from 1-3pm. Residents will receive a gift card ranging from $100-$200 for each firearm exchanged.

Safe Alliances for Everyone (SAFE) Task Force and Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) will cohost a gun buyback program Saturday, Sept. 17. The event at the Burton Heights Lot, 30 Burton St SW, takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. No appointments are necessary.

It’s the groups’ third gun buyback event since 2020, part of ongoing efforts to reduce violent crime in the city. Funded through a $40,000 contribution
from the SAFE Task Force, residents will receive a gift card for each firearm turned in — ranging from $100 for revolvers, shotguns and rifles, to $200 for assault-type rifles and semi-automatic handguns. Black powder firearms will also be accepted for disposal, but no gift cards will be given for the exchange.

Firearms must be in "good working condition" to qualify for the exchange. Individuals are asked to transport unloaded weapons in the trunk of a vehicle. Organizers said quantities of gift cards are limited and subject to availability.

"Our gun buyback programs are a proactive approach to reducing the number of unwanted firearms in our community,” Asante Cain, assistant to the city manager, said. “The SAFE Task Force is proud to partner with the Police Department is hosting this event and working towards our shared goal of ending gun violence.”

During the last two buyback events, 267 firearms were collected. GRPD said it’s also taken more than 360 illegal guns off the street this year through enforcement efforts.

“This program will help us continue to get guns off the street and provide community members who no longer want to have firearms in their home a place to safely dispose of them,” GRPD Chief, Eric Winstrom said. “Removing these weapons will make the community safer by limiting access to firearms by those emboldened to use them in criminal acts.

Some argue against the effectiveness of gun buyback programs. A 2021 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research said reports found no evidence that gun buyback programs reduce gun crime.

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