OPA LOCKA (CBS4) – A week after the fatal mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, the Opa locka police tried to make their streets safer with their fifth annual gun buy back program.
“I brought two rifles and two handguns,” Antwon Caldwell told CBS4’s Summer Knowles.
“I brought a handgun. I just felt it needed to be off the street,” said Tanya Williams.
Caldwell and Williams were just a few of the dozens of gun owners who decided to turn in their firearms to police on Saturday at the New Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church.
“My cousin had his gun stolen and it was never recovered so who knows where that is,” said Williams.
“I just brought them in because I wanted to get them out of the house,” said Caldwell.
So what do police do with the guns turned in?
“If they are stolen we do the recovery and contact the agency that reported it and they come get it and get it to the owner and all of the rest are melted down except for a couple we’ll donate to some museums,” said Detective E. A. Crawford.
Gun owners who brought in weapons were paid anywhere from $50 to $150 – no questions asked.
During the four hour event, more than 100 guns were turned in including an illegal 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. It’s a very dangerous weapon and we’re very happy to get it off the street,” said Crawford.
Crawford believes the elementary school shooting in Connecticut was a motivating factor for many gun owners to turn in their firearms.
“I think it is why we have had such a great turnout, because people are saying ‘I don’t want this in the house anymore’,” said Crawford.
At the end of the event, Crawford said they paid out $5,000 for 103 guns, six of which had been reported stolen.