GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department and the city’s SAFE Task Force hosted their third gun buyback Saturday afternoon.
A line of cars wrapped around two parking lots as gun owners surrendered firearms anonymously with no questions asked. For each gun, people were paid between $100 to $200 depending on the type of gun returned.
“They’re guns I don’t use,” said Steven Noordyke. “I don’t shoot and I don’t plan on shooting in the future. Christmas is coming up and I figured that’s a little more important for my family and for my daughter.”
During the first two campaigns, GRPD bought back 267 firearms. This year, police have collected more that 360 illegal guns off the streets of Grand Rapids.
“This is part of another measure of crime prevention,” said Captain Terry Dixon, GRPD. “We are trying to retrieve as many firearms off the street as we can. And also, we’re reimagining and rethinking policing so these guns don’t fall in the hands of people who should not have them.”
Organizers with the SAFE Task Force also handed out gun locks to those who have other guns. Marrian Barrera-Young, with SAFE, said a gun lock could be the matter of life or death.
“We’ve had so many kids that were playing with guns and shot themselves,” she said. “Just this year it was two kids who died… [the guns] were not locked and they were playing with them and it went off and it took a life. You can’t take that back.”
Noordyke said the gun buyback program is offer safe than the alternative.
“It can be sketchy,” he said. “You go to meet someone in the parking lot and you don’t know who they are or where they’re coming from. They have the right permits and documents, but you never know what’s going to happen.”
The event is funded through a $40,000 contribution from the SAFE Task Force. More than fifty firearms were collected from this event.