Seattle-area leaders announce gun buyback

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SphotoEATTLE — A handful of Seattle-area leaders banded together Tuesday to announce a gun buyback program that would allow area residents to turn in their  unwanted guns in exchange $100-$200 gift cards.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Police Deputy Chief Nick Metz and others unveiled the new gun safety initiative. The program is aimed at getting firearms off the street, while engaging communities with the goal of reducing gun violence, officials said.

The first buyback will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 in downtown Seattle in the parking lot underneath Interstate 5 between Cherry and James Streets. The Seattle Police Department will monitor the buyback.

Individuals who turn in guns will receive a gift card valued at $100 for hand guns, shotguns and rifles and up to $200 for assault weapons. The gift cards can be redeemed at, who committed $30,000 in incentives for the program, and other area stores.

Along with Amazon, PEMCO Insurance SEOmoz Seattle, 5 Point Cafe and big Mario’s Pizza also contributed money for the program. Several nightlife business owners have also contributed, including, Neumos, Batch 206 Distillery and Havana have given money to the buyback program. Sponsors and private contributors contributed more than $100,000 to the program by Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

People outside of King County and Seattle will be able to turn in guns, officials said. The gun buyback program will remain anonymous. The SPD will also distribute free trigger locks for those who wish to secure their firearms safely.

Officials announcing the gun buyback said it was modeled after programs recently popping up in Los Angeles and other places across the country, largely in response to the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn.

“The gun buyback program can help us protect public health and safety and reduce gun violence in our communities,” McGinn said. “We will continue working with the police department and other agencies on a broad range of solutions to the epidemic of gun violence.”

Officials said a gun buyback program is one tool to help prevent shootings.

“If this prevents just one tragedy, it is worth the effort,” Metz said.

Former Seattle mayors Greg Nickels, Norm Rice, Charles Royter and Wes Uhlman are serving as co-chairs of the program. Community partners of the gun buyback program include Cafe Racer, a restaurant site of a mass-shooting in Seattle in 2012, Associated Recreation Council, Mount Zion Baptist church and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The last gun buyback program in Seattle was held in 1992. Cafe Racer’s owner Kurt Geissell said he likes the idea of the gun buyback. After a mass shooting at his cafe last year, Geissell said anything to get guns off the streets is a good thing. He said patrons to Cafe Racer loved the idea, as well.

“When I casually mentioned we should do a gun buyback, $1,500 came in like that,” Geissell said.

Studies in the past have shown that gun buybacks don’t have much effect on murder rates. And taking a few thousand weapons off the street is just a tiny fraction of what is out there. But police said it’s not just about getting guns away from criminals, it’s also about getting guns out of homes.

“If we’re able to take one unwanted gun out of circulation, we can guarantee at least one life will not be harmed by that gun,” Metz said.

For more information on the gun buyback program, click here.

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  • Joseph

    Hey, I'm looking for a snub-nose revolver 357mag, S&W M&P, Glock, AR15, AR10, Ruger 10/22 Take-down and an under or side folder AK47. I'll give you $150 for the handguns and $250 for the rifles. I've been a firearms owner for several years, I have my concealed pistol license. You must be willing to do a bill of sale and fill out the Washington State Firearms transfer form paperwork. Thank you.

    • Shawn D.

      I am also looking for a 40 or 45 and have all the permits required as well as a safe for them. and i will pay more than 100 for a good condition one… hit me up at Joseph, when are they gonna learn, only honest people obey the law. i doubt any felons are going to turn any in. lol

  • Gorst

    Every weapon should be checked to see if it has been reported stolen. It it is determined the weapon has been recovered it should be returned to the lawful owner. Anything less is unlawful and those participating should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

  • Defender

    I'm sure the tweakers and gang-bangers will just rush on in to reform themselves…. this is STUPID. People, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is for the GOOD GUY to have a gun! Don't jeopardize the safety of your family!!!

      • commonsense

        Actually growing up we discovered a meth lab and a grow operation behind our house, in a nice area. There were plenty of tweakers to worry about.

    • chris colon

      it,s just crazy,that people are so dumb.turning in their only life saving protection at the cost of waiting for police to arrive,when you only have seconds to either live or die during an assualt or home invasion.wake up america dinosaurs don,t roam the earth anymore,but bad guys have,do,and always will be present in our life can,t ban can only protect yourself,in the moment if you have the means with which to do that.other than that your just a sheep in a field,waiting for the WOLF.becuase by the time it takes the shepard to get towhere you are and help you your dead meat.

  • Meghan

    A study found that the previous buy back had no effect on gun violence at all. Talk about insanity. Isn’t the real issue here mental health?? How about some free psych evals?

  • Curt Lint

    Safe gun marksmanship class in high school for each 17/18 year old girl, would bring down "date-rape" to zero ! MAN-UP…Get a grip ! No gun has ever jumped up and shot a person. I suggest we "buy-back " all cell phones… some have been known to take child porn pictures……!

  • weaver

    Since it has been proven uneffective is irrelavent. People are legally buying guns like crazy right now which is putting them in more demand then ever. This sounds more like a money making scheme. Amazon and other businesses partner with the city of Seattle and offer a gift card that they will in turn get back meaning they didnt actually give away anything for the gun….but what they do have could be $100,000 (+/-) worth of guns they can turn around and resell. Amazon could start a sister business that deals in gun sales. Keep your guns and keep your family safe.

  • Citizen98107

    If they can pick up a few guns and prevent some accidents, what's to complain about? Everyday there's accidental shootings by careless gun owners. Screw the National Rambo Association. Even the former chief of police, Gil Kerlikowske, lost a hand gun because he left it in his car – what a doofus.

    • chris c

      i served my country in the military 1966-69,i also protect my family.what do you do run around in pink tights,and scream for help by a good guy with a gun.

    • imagunowner

      Ok you don't seem to realize something. The ones turning in the guns are the "responsible" gun owners. The ones who had their guns registered legally, probably keep them locked up in a safe when not in use. The irresponsible ones are not going to turn in their weapons, they probably possess them illegally. Those are the guns that are going to kill someone, not the ones locked up properly. So really what are they preventing? Not a damn thing, instead they are dearming the innocent so the thugs have a better shot at their jewelry boxes and cars.

  • ConcernedCitizen

    National Rifle Association may not be perfect, but neither is the Mayor. Amazon, PEMCO and others who support this buy back plan risk far more than publicity. Money talks and unfortunately, these businesses have lost my money.

  • Citizen98107

    Tasteless new movie for the NRA groupies is called Bullet to the Head starring Sylvester Stallone. I wonder what the plot might be???? Deep meaningful entertainment for sure. Yup.

  • daddyfatsac206

    I thought the government doesn't like competition? Criminals will rob us while we are at work & then the government will rob us after we get our 40hrs in! Lets all give up our guns & then hop on the train to the concentration camps… oops I mean FEMA camps! WHAT DO YOU BELIVE IN?? STAND UP & FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS!

  • Ryan

    You hope to prevent tragedy by having law abiding citizens turn in their firearms for pennies on the dollar? You guys think the sociopaths are standing in line to turn in their guns?

    Great men are governed by morals, good men by principle, average men by laws, and criminals by nothing.

  • Meghan

    But seriously, where is the mental health reform??? That’s what needs to happen! If there had been help for these people we might not be having this discussion to begin with!

    I would like to point out that at the same time as the Newtown massacre, the same thing happened in China, but with a knife. If the weapon here had been a knife, would we be buying knives back? Would ALL sharp objects be required to have a license and regulated? I know comparing guns and knives is apples and oranges but I think we are missing the main issue, mental illness!

  • W T Sherman

    Paying $200 for an "assault rifle" worth up to $1,500 makes as much sense as offering to clean our air by buying Escalades and Tahoes for $50! ONLY law-abiding citizens participate in gun-buyback idiocy and by doing so they make criminals and crazies SAFER! Are the so-called "leaders" of Seattle and its populace REALLY so stupid?

  • Citizen98107

    Gun owners seem to be overcome by paranoid delusions and a Clint Eastwood complex. Guns turn small problems into something worse. Like the road rage incident in north Seattle last fall. The shooter was a gun nut itching to kill. Did you see the video clips of him running an obstacle course firing away like a cowboy movie. Oh brother, what a jerk.

    • imagunowner

      It's not the guns that kill people, its the looney with his finger on the trigger. Not everyone with a gun is paranoid. I own a gun, only time it has been shot was in a range, otherwise it sits in a locked safe. There are two types of gun owners. The type wanting to protect themselves from the type who is just too damn ignorant to own one. Don't judge gun owners. If they want gun control then they need to straiten up our mental health department and collect the loonies off the streets instead.

  • daddyfatsac206

    Gun buy backs make as much sense as a FOOTBALL-BAT!!! Do you think some gang banger is going to take his pistol in for 100.00??? They can make 100.00 by robing with that gun. Thats their bread & butter! In the mean time law abiding citizens will be turning over their firearms for a gift card to Amazon (WHICH I HAVE PURCHASED MULTIPLE TACTICAL ITEMS FOR ASSAULT WEAPONS FROM!! LOL) Amazon helps sell extended clips for firearms! Where do the guns go after they get turned in? They get re-sold! Do your research! Tabacco kills how many people a year? How about you buy that back! Waste of time & taxpayer $ for the city to even consider this!

      • daddyfatsac206

        If I was to tell you I was an officer for S.P.D. what would you say? The police cant be everywhere all the time! Who are police officers anyways?? American citizens who decide to serve & protect the public… besides firearm training & dealing with scumbags all day.. I am the same as you just am NOT GOING TO BE A TARGET!

  • warren

    But police said it’s not just about getting guns away from criminals, it’s also about getting guns out of homes.
    And there it is folks the sole reason for the buybacks. To disarm the populace so they are easier to control . Freaking sheeple deserve all they get at the end.

  • Guest

    Useless posturing politicians. How about collecting the names of the whackadoodles committing violent crimes in our neighborhoods instead.
    The lack of intervention for violent mental illness is the REAL problem here. These people act up long before the tragedy occurs, & often the family desperately tries to get help for them. The Newtown shooter's mother, who was the first victim, was trying to institutionalize him. Loughner's father was fortunate he was not harmed trying to stop his son that day. Too many other families are victims of violence from the mentally ill & are crying out for help. Our homeless populations are catch basins of the mentally ill cast off from families who cannot endure their abuse & these people swell our prison populations by cycling in & out.
    It is time to reopen the institutions. I would rather pay for medical commitment of these people than watch the funerals of more children killed by them.

  • scooterkiller

    can i turn in five guns for five gift cards and i will be that much closer to a 50bmfg or how bout 15 guns and i can get a new ar15 or ar10