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WEDNESDAY, September 28, 2022
Texans surrender over 700 guns for gift cards at Houston gun buyback event

Texans surrender over 700 guns for gift cards at Houston gun buyback event

SUNDAY, July 31, 2022

Residents of Houston, Texas surrendered more than 700 guns to police in exchange for compensation during a gun buyback program on Saturday, according to the Houston mayor's office.

A line of cars stretching more than 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) led to Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, where Houston police officers removed guns from vehicle trunks and in total, drivers were given nearly $100,000 in gift cards valued at $50 for a nonfunctioning gun; $100 for a rifle or shotgun; $150 for a handgun; and $200 for a fully automatic rifle.

The public was permitted to submit guns anonymously, although police did research each firearm to check if it was stolen or connected to a crime.

Wadie Spikes and his wife Bridgette had three guns to give away: a bolt-action rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle. Spikes said he was afraid the guns, which are family heirlooms, might fall into the wrong hands

“If you got guns laying around your house, and they not locked up and somebody breaks into your house, they’re gonna get the guns that are not locked up, that’s easy,” Spikes said.

The event was hosted by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis. Turner said roughly 2,500 guns have been stolen from vehicles in Houston since the start of 2022.

David Gibson, an environmental geologist who brought several handguns, said the theft was a serious concern.

“You’re not really getting rid of guns that people are probably gonna use, you’re getting rid of guns that could be stolen and then used by a criminal,” Gibson said. “So when you look at it that way, I think it’s a great idea.”

During a press conference Saturday, Turner said the overwhelming turnout would mean more gun buyback events in the future.

The program is funded by $1 million from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Houston’s gun buyback program is part of greater public safety by Turner initiative called One Safe Houston, in which $53 million in federal funds is invested in violent crime prevention.