Atlanta Police Department to buy back guns at Saturday event

FILE — A pistol user at a firing range is shown in a file photo. (Callaghan O'Hare/The New York Times)

FILE — A pistol user at a firing range is shown in a file photo. (Callaghan O'Hare/The New York Times)

The Atlanta Police Department wants to get guns off the streets and out of the wrong hands.

On Saturday, the department will again host a “Gun Buyback” in the Atlanta Civic Center parking lot on Piedmont Avenue. As part of Mayor Andre Dickens’ “One Safe City” initiative, those wishing to get rid of guns can sell them for cash from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The city will pay $50 for handguns and $100 for long guns. The weapons must be real and can be missing small parts, according to police. A single component of a gun, such as a barrel, will not be accepted.

The city is asking citizens who no longer want the guns to bring them so they can be disposed of safely, Interim Chief Of Police Darin Schierbaum said Thursday.

“Maybe they don’t have the ability to secure them safely, there are children present or there are other reasons they don’t want them in the home,” Schierbaum said. “We see this as an effort to be able to prevent other acts of gun violence.”

Atlanta officers have investigated approximately 26 unintentional shootings this year from people handling guns, and five of those involved children, Schierbaum said. The department has also seen an increase in domestic violence shootings since July, he said.

The Atlanta Police Department will buy back guns Saturday in the parking lot of the Civic Center.

Credit: Atlanta police

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Credit: Atlanta police

Walk-ups will not be accepted at the event. Those wishing to sell a gun must remain in their vehicles, police said. No personal information will be collected from those selling guns, the department said.

Gun buyback events have taken place in recent years throughout the country. According to the California-based nonprofit Gun by Gun, the buybacks are an effective step toward preventing gun violence, which kills 85 Americans each day.

“Gun buybacks create an opportunity and an impetus for individuals to form coalitions, start dialogue, and take action towards addressing gun violence in their community,” the organization states on its website. “At scale, this can contribute to cultural changes that are difficult to accomplish through policy.”

Buyback events have proven controversial, even prompting the New York attorney general to change rules after a participant used a 3D printer to make gun parts in bulk, according to the Associated Press.

The seller then turned in his handmade guns for $21,000 in gift cards. The seller, who identified himself by a pseudonym to the AG’s office, said he traveled from West Virginia to a gun buyback Aug. 27 in Utica, New York, to take advantage of a loophole in the program.

James’ office said it responded to the exploited loophole by giving buyback personnel more discretion to determine the value of weapons being sold. All 3D-printed guns accepted by the program must be capable of being fired more than once, according to the new rules in place.