PHOENIX - Participation was so high for the Phoenix Police Department's second gun buyback program that they ran out of grocery store gift cards.
Sgt. Steve Martos said that the department collected 176 guns at the buyback event held at Betania Presbyterian Church at 2811 N. 39th Avenue in Phoenix. Those who turned in guns were able to receive a gift card to a local grocery store.
Martos said participation was so high that they ran out of gift cards, but people still dropped off their unloaded guns.
Martos said that the event started one hour early as there were a line of people waiting to turn in unwanted guns.
Last week, the department collected 803 guns in their first gun buyback program. That consisted of over 440 hand guns, 162 shot guns and nearly 200 rifles.
But there were other options for gun owners across the street from the buyback event. Gun buyers offered cash for firearms.
Some of them bought the guns to save a piece of history.
"I found a WWII rifle from Germany, very nice firearm," said Darr Kadlubowski.
Others bought the guns to sell them. And some just couldn't stand seeing them destroyed.
"A lot of people believe that there's harm in these weapons. But I believe if you look down these streets on both sides today, the people out here buying these weapons aren't criminals," said Gordon Heap.
These gun buybacks could be the last for Phoenix. A new bill signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer goes into effect this summer.
It states that all Arizona cities and counties that hold gun buybacks will soon have to sell the weapons instead of destroying them like Phoenix police usually do.
"I think the success of last week and this week speaks to what the community thinks of the events. And so we think it's vitally important for us to collect guns that are no longer wanted, and perhaps prevent an injury or them getting into the wrong hands," Martos said.
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