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Seattle's first gun buy-back in 20 years set for Saturday

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:50:06 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 25 2013 01:12:42 PM CST
assault weapons
SEATTLE -

Seattle's first gun buy-back in more than 20 years is set to happen Saturday - with gift cards being offered for each weapon.

In the wake of mass shootings around the nation - from the school massacre in Connecticut to the deadly rampage at a cafe in Seattle last year - guns have been getting a lot of attention, and so have controversial efforts to buy back weapons.

Some say it just doesn't work - that criminals with guns are in no rush to turn them in.

But Seattle is going to give it another try, much like the city did in 1992 when there was an out-of-control gang problem, somehow hoping violent crime will take a hit.

"Police will take possession of the weapon and offer a gift card in return, depending on the type of gun," says Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. "No photos will be taken; no questions will be asked."

Participants will receive a gift card worth up to $100 for each handgun, rifle or shotgun turned in.

Assault weapons can be worth twice as much. And additional gift cards will be given for high-capacity magazines that come with the guns.

A program supported by Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is donating money to back the effort to get weapons off the streets.

The outreach program, led by Carroll, called "A Better Seattle," has contributed $10,000 to support the gun buy-back push, but it's still unclear just how many weapons will be handed over.

Nearly $120,000 to buy back the weapons and ammunition also has been raised by the Seattle Police Foundation, nonprofits, the University of Washington Medical Center and private businesses such as Amazon.

"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," says King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The buy-back starts Saturday morning at 9 and contnues until 3 p.m. The location is between James and Cherry streets near downtown in a parking lot right under Interstate 5.

The weapons need to be unloaded when they're turned in - preferably stored in the trunk or a locked box.

Police say those who are not driving to the location should not walk up with a gun in their hands. Instead, they should get an officer's attention well before entering the location.

The last time a buy-back program was held in Seattle - in 1992 - about 1,10 weapons were turned in. Most of the collected guns are typically melted down.

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