OPA-LOCKA (CBSMiami) – A week after the fatal mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, local police were particularly fired up in urging citizens to turn in their guns.
The Opa-Locka Police Department’s fifth annual gun buyback program was their chance to be paid cash – just in time for Christmas – for their unwanted guns.
“I brought two rifles and two handguns,” said gun owner Antwon Caldwell.
Gun owner Tanya Williams said she felt her gun needed to be off the street. Caldwell said he brought his in “to get them out of the house”.
Dozens of gun owners made the decision to turn in their guns at the event, held at the New Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church.
Gun owners simply brought their weapons to the event, a police officer took them out of the vehicle, secured it then paid the gun owner – no questions asked. The trade-in typically netted gun owners between $50 and $150.
If the guns are stolen, Opa-Locka Police take care of them.
“We do the recovery and contact the agency that reported it. Then, they…get it to the owner and all of the rest are melted down, except for a couple (that) we’ll donate to some museums,” said Opa-Locka Police Detective E.A. Crawford.
The event lasted four hours, but in just the first hour alone more than 30 guns were collected, among them a sawed-off shotgun.
“What they do is cut the barrel and stock down and it makes it easy to hide in the pants leg under a jacket.Iit’s a very dangerous weapon and we’re very happy to get it off the street,” said Det. Crawford.
In addition to the department’s no-questions-asked policy and the money, Det. Crawford believes the recent school shooting in Connecticut was another factor that contributed to a large turnout.
With Tanya Williams, she was right. When asked why she came to the event Saturday, she said it “definitely” played a role.