The town of Pensacola’s gun buyback event on Saturday collected 71 guns in its first 30 minutes, using up the entire $ 10,000 budgeted for the effort.
The gun buyback at Bill Gregory Park was scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, but the city ended the event early after all available funds were spent by 9:30 a.m.
“I had no idea the arms buyback program would be so successful,” Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said at his weekly press conference on Monday.
District 7 City Councilor Delarian Wiggins proposed the program in January to raise awareness of gun violence in the city while removing some guns from the streets.
The program was a one-day, all-volunteer event.
Council approved the idea in a 5-2 vote, and Robinson proposed $ 10,000 in the city budget from the mayor’s discretionary fund to pay for the program.
Prices for the program were set at $ 150 for semi-automatic pistols, $ 125 for revolvers and $ 200 for semi-automatic rifles.
Robinson announced at his press conference that 63 guns had been purchased, but city officials later clarified that 71 guns were recovered from the event. The city only paid for 68 for the guns, as three of them were handed over without payment after funds were exhausted.
Wiggins told the News Journal on Monday that he thinks the event is a success.
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“It was a huge success,” Wiggins said, before the city specified the final number. “That’s 63 opportunities for someone who commits suicide who is no longer there. That’s 63 opportunities for someone to break into a house and steal guns, that’s not there anymore. . “
At least one person at the event attempted to sell a homemade weapon and posted photos about it on social media. Robinson said the city did not purchase the homemade weapon.
“These weren’t accepted,” Robinson said. “We actually got an email from the person who sent us something that he was upset about it. They just weren’t qualifying guns that we weren’t looking to pay for for them. I’m sorry. that we messed him up on that. But I guess he’s welcome to keep his Second Amendment and keep his guns, and we were happy to let him do that. “
Of the guns purchased, 52 were handguns and the remaining 19 were long guns, most of which were .22 caliber rifles.
Wiggins said that while he hoped the conversation about reducing gun violence in the city continued long after the program, he didn’t think another gun buyback event would come up anytime soon.
“It got people interested,” Wiggins said. “Now is the time to say, okay, now let’s sit down at the table and really discuss what’s going on in our community. What is really going on? Now what can we do to fix these issues “Because we see that the amount of gun violence, especially in the African American community, is rampant. So how do we stop this?”
Jim Little can be reached at [email protected] and 850-208-9827.