SALT LAKE CITY — In light of recent mass shootings in the United States, the Salt Lake City Police Department held its first-ever gun buyback Saturday.
SLCPD Chief Mike Brown said the purpose was to remove guns off city streets and promote safe neighborhoods.
"Something so small as turning in a gun can have huge consequences down the road," he said. "I mean, if in the wrong hands, one gun, one bullet, can have devastating consequences.”
Officers gave out gift cards for guns; $50 for each firearm and $100 for an assault rifle — no questions asked and no ID needed. The guns will be stored and then later destroyed or turned into the police museum or police crime lab.
“I've been able to stand here and talk with some of the people and they said, 'Look, I've been waiting for an opportunity like this, where I could safely feel that the gun is going to be destroyed or disposed of,'" said Chief Brown.
However, a Saturday’s four-hour event, there were some other groups out offering community members even more money for their guns, but for a completely different reason. June Boston, a gun rights activist, offered to buy people’s guns for twice the amount of money police were offering.
“The state's doing a gun buyback program, which is a well-intended, but I believe ultimately useless effort," she said. “I'm buying these guns so I can use them to take people who don't know much about firearms to the range.”
Boston will give the guns to members of the LGBTQ+ community, who are too often targets, she said.
“I've had several incidents where having a gun on me has demonstrated to a group of assailants that I was not unarmed or weak, or not an easy victim," said Boston. "It actually enables us to stand on equal ground more because we're able to defend ourselves and not rely on any other power to do that for us.”
SLCPD will announce the results of the gun buyback by the end of the weekend. If you missed Saturday’s event but would like to turn in a firearm, you can still do so and get a gift card by calling 801-799-3000. Officers ask that your gun is unloaded and in a safe storage container when you turn it in. You can find more information on the department's website.
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