King County gun-buyback event collects 716 firearms

January 29, 2013

By Staff

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 29, 2012

King County and partner agencies collected 716 firearms and distributed $68,000 in gift cards during a gun-buyback event Jan. 26.

The operation, held in downtown Seattle near Seattle Police Department headquarters, collected 348 pistols and 364 rifles — including three “street sweepers,” or shotguns with a high-capacity magazine capable of holding a dozen 12-gauge shotgun shells.

Though private buyers set up near the event site, officials said the public overwhelmingly chose to participate in the gun-buyback program. State law permits private gun sales between Washington residents without a background check, even though a background check is mandated for retail gun sales.

“This event provided a safe place for citizens to turn in guns they no longer want,” King County Sheriff John Urquhart said in a statement. “It is a much better choice to remove an unwanted gun from a home rather than leave it where it can be stolen and used in a crime.”

Organizers distributed up to $100 in gift cards for rifles, handguns and shotguns, and up to $200 for assault weapons.

“The response to Saturday’s gun-buy-back program indicates that public awareness and public will are building to prevent gun violence and promote gun safety,” Dr. David Fleming, Seattle-King County Public Health director, said in a statement. “These are public health issues and our local, state and federal governments can take actions to make our neighborhoods and residents safer. A public health approach to gun violence could help change the fact that Americans are victims of gun violence more than people in any developed country in the world.”

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