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City of Seattle

January 8, 4:30 PM click here to comment > 18

Seattle and King County to launch gun buyback program

Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Police Deputy Chief Nick Metz, Dr. David Fleming of Public Health – Seattle & King County, Renee Hopkins of the Seattle Police Foundation, and Reverend Aaron Williams of Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church today announced a new Gun Safety Initiative, including a gun buyback program. Former Seattle mayors Greg Nickels, Norm Rice, Charles Royer and Wes Uhlman are serving as co-chairs of the program.

The countywide gun buyback initiative will provide a monetary incentive to individuals who turn in firearms, while engaging our communities toward a common goal of reducing gun violence. The first gun buyback will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2013, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, in downtown Seattle in the parking lot underneath Interstate 5 between Cherry and James Streets.

“This gun buyback program can help us protect public health and safety and reduce gun violence in our communities,” said McGinn. “We will continue working with the police department and other organizations and agencies on a broad range of solutions to the epidemic of gun violence. I want to thank Amazon, PEMCO, the 5 Point Café and Big Mario’s Pizza, SEOMoz, and other sponsors who are making this program possible. ”

“If we can prevent just one child, one innocent bystander, from being the victim of a random accident, or the target of an unstable person, it will be well worth our time and effort,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

“This is an opportunity for people to get unwanted guns out of their homes. We hope that people will take advantage of this opportunity to safely dispose of those unwanted, unused, and forgotten guns that we know are lying around. If this prevents just one tragedy, it is worth the effort.” Chief Metz

“The Sheriff’s Office remains committed to providing a safe place for citizens to turn in guns they no longer want. It is a much better choice to remove an unwanted gun from your home than to leave it where it can be stolen and used in a crime,” said King County Sheriff John Urquhart.

“The Seattle Police Foundation is proud to partner with the Seattle Police Department and many other community partners to improve the safety of our community by removing unwanted guns, helping ensure wanted guns are safely secured and providing vital gun safety educational information to our community,” said Renee Hopkins, executive director of the Seattle Police Foundation.

In partnership with the Seattle Police Department, other law enforcement agencies in King County, community and faith based organizations, the gun buyback effort will set up locations throughout Seattle and King County where individuals can turn in firearms anonymously, with no questions asked.

Modeled on successful gun buyback programs across the country, the Seattle/King County gun buyback program will consist of an anonymous process in which individuals can turn in their unwanted weapons. Law enforcement officials will not be taking pictures of participants, nor will they be logging license plate numbers or running ballistic tests on the guns that are turned in. In exchange for dropping off a weapon, individuals will receive a gift card valued at up to $100.00 for hand guns, shotguns, & rifles, and up to $200.00 for assault weapons (as classified in the State of Washington).

The Seattle Police Department will also be distributing trigger locks for those who wish to secure their firearms safely. These will be available at each of the five precincts during normal business hours.

The Seattle Police Foundation has committed $25,000 to the Gun Safety Initiative, and will serve as the program coordinator. Since this morning, Nick and Leslie Hanauer have pledged $25,000 toward the gun buyback program and UW Medical Center pledged $10,000. Corporate sponsors include Amazon, which has committed $30,000 in gift cards that will serve as a monetary incentive for those turning in a gun. Funding from other corporate sponsors, along with that of the Seattle Police Foundation, will go toward the purchase of gift cards from other local vendors besides Amazon. PEMCO has contributed $5,000, and SEOmoz, a Seattle-based search engine and social optimization software company, has contributed $10,000. The Seattle Nightlife and Music Association is a community partner, and Association members have contributed to the gun buyback program, including:

• David Meinert of the 5 Point Café – $500
• Jason Lajuenesse of Big Mario’s – $500
• Neumos – $250
• Quentin Ertel of Havana – $250
• Jeff Steichen, Batch 206 Distillery – $100
• Marcus Lalario of 95 Slide, Lil Woody’s, and Alive and Well
• Michael Meckling, Jason Lajuenesse of Moe Bar, Barboza
• Jessie Summa-Kusiak of Skylark

Eli Lilly has contributed $1,500 in advertising. Nucor Steel has agreed to make an in-kind contribution and will melt down the guns turned in. The Seattle Police Foundation will continue to solicit contributions to support the gun buyback effort.

The Seattle Police Department last held a gun buyback program in 1992. Members of the public interested in donating to support the program can do so online via the Seattle Police Foundation website at

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Posted by: Robert Cruickshank


Comment from Phil Carvo
Time January 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Dow Constantine had it half right. You must stop the person who is not stable. Get people mental help when they need it, not a month down the road. That is the problem. Not gun control. You are only taking guns out of the hands of lawful citizens, not criminals and unstable people. Your buy back program is totally a waste of taxpayers money.

Comment from Julius
Time January 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm

This is a waste of time and resources.

Comment from Bob Cisco
Time January 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm

A gun buyback program is a waste of time. The real solution to reducing violence is to modify the violent behavior of people. We should also have a better healthcare system, since nothing really stops some mad man from knifing people in public like the fellow did in Japan some years ago, Akihabara massacre, where he killed 7 people in a mere couple of minutes.

Comment from Mat
Time January 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Phil is exactly right. People that will take advantage of this will be turning in guns that either don’t work or are probably not a threat to society. Focus on getting the real danger out of Seattle. I will not bring my wife and children downtown. The panhandlers are more aggressive than ever. Genuine mental illness is apparent on every single corner. It is like being in a 3rd world country and frankly I want to have a gun on my person for protection when I am in downtown Seattle. While I believe this idea comes from a good place I think it is not practical to think it will do any real good.

Comment from concerned citizen
Time January 11, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Thank you for taking this important step toward making our community safer.

Comment from Chuck
Time January 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm

This is an excellent way to reward people for turning in unwanted guns. As the Mayor points out, even if a single innocent life is saved by the program it will worth the effort.

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Time January 11, 2013 at 7:26 pm

[…] the Seattle Police Foundation, and Reverend Aaron Williams of Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church announced a new Gun Safety Initiative, including a gun buyback program. Former Seattle mayors Greg Nickels, Norm Rice, Charles Royer and […]

Comment from mary paterson
Time January 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm

The gun buy-back program is not a waste of taxpayers’ money, but a ray of hope. Let us open up many more rays of hope as well. Let the Seattle Police Department end all its uses of excessive force, right now. Let the Seattle City Council pass the Jobs Assistance Ordinance. Let the Washington state legislature tax the wealthy and wealthy corporations to fully fund education, public transportation, and health care, and let the wealthy be proud to pay such taxes. Let Seattle, King County, and Washington free all prisoners of non-violent crimes. Let us all of us reach out to one another, across all divides, so that we know for sure we are not alone, that we are here to help one another not just to survive but to thrive.

Comment from Austineats
Time January 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm

This is only a waste of resources until a thief steals a gun and then uses it on one of your loved ones. No gun, is a safe gun.

Comment from Levelplayfield
Time January 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm

While we’re at it, how about habitual drinking drivers turn in their license and car.

Comment from pat
Time January 11, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Absolutely ridiulous!

Comment from Marco
Time January 12, 2013 at 6:45 am

I don’t think that this is a waste of time and resources or taxpayers money. Majority of the money came from donors. This is totally voluntary, they are not forcing anybody but instead an opportunity to come together, show your support and show how much you care about your community. there is just too much violence nowadays. I think that we should exhaust our resources to try to calm things down. Continue to take guns off of people that are “not stable”, PEACE, LOVE and HOPE….

Comment from William
Time January 12, 2013 at 9:40 am

Please give a list of successful buy back programs. From my study, violent crime stats didn’t change for the better in any of those places. Correct me if I am wrong.
Also what was discovered was that punks turned in non-functioning or extremely unsafe guns, then took the money and bought working guns.
Also, scams were uncovered where several people in that system were caught funneling good/historic guns to the side for their own collections or sale.
These are facts that can be discovered with very little research. Where are the City’s facts and resources that show this does anything except make some people “Feel” better?
Not just trying to be an anti-mayor guy. Just looking at this through a clear lens.

Comment from Celia
Time January 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm

The more guns that are removed no matter where they come from, the less chance that a gun will fall into the wrong hands.
Mental illness is not synonymous with being a criminal. It is that very kind of uneducated thinking and misconception that causes the kind of problem we see in the general public perception of mental illness which continues to keep mental health care isolated from health
care. The head and the body are two parts of a whole and
must be treated as such, until they are, we will continue to fail and we will continue to have tragedies such as we have had in this past year.

Comment from education week
Time March 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Who pays for that in the end? Does sound good though. here in Germany we have no guns thank god

Comment from Top Gun Reviews
Time May 24, 2013 at 7:29 am

If they’re doing it for the safety of children, the safety lock is a good move.

Other than that, these buyback programs are questionable.

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