INDIANAPOLIS- 181 firearms were turned in by community members during a gun buyback event in Indianapolis Saturday.
In exchange, they received more than $19,000 in gift cards.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indy Public Safety Foundation helped with the event in an effort to curb violence in the city.
The buyback was the first IMPD has helped support since 2012.
IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said getting these guns off the street, with no questions asked, would help curb violence during what may be another record-breaking year for criminal homicides.
Hundreds of people showed up Saturday to the MLK Center parking lot on the city’s near north side, returning 181 guns over the course of the event.
People received a minimum of $100 in gift card per gun; higher-caliber guns exchanged for as much as $200.
IMPD said officers paid out more than $19,000 in gift cards for guns they received Saturday, ranging from small 9 mm guns to an AK-47.
“We focus on homicides and nonfatal shootings and how this might impact that, but we also have suicides by guns, we have accidental shootings by guns,” said Roach. “A lot of these guns that are used in crimes are taken in burglaries. It’s people that don’t want these; they are bringing them in. So it’s an opportunity to get guns that might end up in cars and cause harm to someone or even one of our officers. So, this is a safety measure for all of the community.”
Organizers said Saturday’s event might have saved one woman’s life.
“She’s an elderly woman,” said the Rev. Wayne Moore with Olivet Baptist Church. “She said she had thoughts of suicide. So she came today to give up her weapon, and when she gave up her weapon, she gave up her money and said give it to somebody else that can use it, because today her life was saved by having this gun amnesty program.”
Once the guns are processed and cross-checked with IMPD’s incident database, they will be destroyed.
Roach said the buyback in 2012 uncovered two stolen guns.
All the money for the guns was provided by the Indy Public Safety Foundation, Mothers Against Violence and private donors.