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More than 100 firearms turned in for Glendale police’s inaugural gun buyback event

More than 100 firearms turned in for Glendale police’s inaugural gun buyback event
Glendale officers Minas Tsolakayan, left, and Gonzalo Zendejas investigate rifles turned in for the department's first-ever gun buyback program held on Saturday. (James Carbone)

The Glendale Police Department took in 101 unwanted firearms over the course of five hours on Saturday during its first-ever gun buyback event.

Fifty-three pistols, 28 rifles, 10 shotguns and 10 assault weapons were handed over to officers.

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While the final tally was below the department’s initial expectations, which was somewhere between 160 to 180 guns, the event was still considered a success.

Sgt. Dan Suttles, a department spokesman, said the expectations were partially based on gun buybacks in other cities similar in size to Glendale.

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“When we came up with that number, we were kind of taking a shot in the dark because we’ve never done one before,” he said.

Regardless of the number, Suttles said the event was still a success because it gave people an opportunity to safely dispose of their unwanted firearms.

In return for the weapons, Target gift cards were given to participants.

With a limit of three gift cards per person, participants received a $100 card for each handgun, shotgun or rifle they turned in, while a $200 card was given for each assault weapon.

Suttles said there were 220 gift cards on hand for the event. He said department officials are still figuring out what to do with the cards that weren’t given away.

“We’re going to look at different programs we could utilize them for, whether it’s our Cops for Kids program or Toys for Tots,” he said.

A majority of the weapons recovered by the department were old, rusted guns, according to Suttles, with some of them dating back to World War II.

However, a few of the firearms were contemporary guns that were no longer used or needed.

“One guy stated he bought a gun so many years ago and never even shot it,” Suttles said. “It was a good gun. There was nothing wrong with it at all, and it was still in the box ... He just never used it.”

Although the department made sure the guns weren’t stolen, officials did not check them for any past criminal use.

Suttles said it was a way to not deter people from participating in the buyback.

The guns are slated to be destroyed early next year, and the department is looking into the feasibility of holding another event in the future. Any final decision will require input from the Glendale City Council.

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