Last month, the Glendale Police Department received approval from the City Council to host its first-ever gun-buyback event, aimed at curbing gun violence in the city.
In addition to trying to reduce criminal activity, officers hope to prevent the use of unwanted and unused guns in accidental shootings. They’re hoping the event will entice gun owners to dispose of firearms they don’t want or use anymore.
“The main benefit is removing unwanted firearms from the community, including those that could potentially fall into the wrong hands,” Glendale Police Lt. Danny Carver said.
Carver said residents can anonymously hand over their firearms, which will be destroyed by officers. In exchange, gift cards will be distributed to participants.
During his presentation to council, Carver said other cities comparable to Glendale have destroyed between 180 and 200 guns per event.
“It’s an easy solution for those who have handguns and rifles but don’t want them anymore and don’t know how to dispose of those firearms,” Carver said.
Before the guns are destroyed, officers check their serial numbers to determine if a weapon has been stolen. If it was stolen, officers will try and contact the previous owner to see if he or she wants the gun back.
Otherwise, all guns turned in will be destroyed.
“Unwanted firearms are not a good thing. A firearm is a tool. If you have no use for the tool, why do you want it?” said Glendale Police Sgt. Dan Suttles.
Carver said the program’s biggest drawback is that weapons used in criminal activity could be destroyed in the process.
Mayor Zareh Sinanyan said he asked for this item to be added to the meeting’s agenda.
“To be honest, I’m having difficulty remembering which terrible gun-violence incident prompted it,” Sinanyan said. “We are constantly experiencing these.”
Sinanyan mentioned the July 21 standoff between Los Angeles police officers and a gunman at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake. The gunman engaged in a deadly gun battle with police, with a woman killed during the standoff dying from an officer’s bullet.
“This brings forth, once again, the importance of eliminating as many of these firearms from the streets as possible,” Sinanyan said.
“Overall, the pros outweigh the cons,” Suttles said. “If you’re a gun owner, you should be responsible. If you don’t want it, there should be a way to get rid of it.”