Gun buyback event draws hundreds

People receive $50 as JSO helps to get guns off the streets

By Kumasi Aaron - Reporter/The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Hundreds of people in Jacksonville are $50 richer this weekend after turning in their guns to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at Saturday's gun buyback event.

Fifty dollars for a gun sounded like a pretty good deal for hundreds of people who came out to the event. In total, JSO said 683 firearms were collected at the event in Arlington.

It's part of an effort to get guns off the street, raise awareness and connect JSO with the community.

One by one JSO officers checked and cleaned the hundreds of guns, all turned in by people anxious to get rid of them in exchange for $50.

One woman that came out said she was there for the cash.

"For the money! My husband didn't want the gun anymore," Patricia Heinrich said. "It was in the garbage so I sold it."

For others there, the decision to come out to the buyback event was about more than money

"Well, I had some old firearms laying around the house and with having grandkids, I decided to get rid of them," Victor Floyd said. "With them growing up, kids are real curious about things that go on with firearms and I decided to take them out of the house."

Whatever the reason, JSO said they're glad so many people showed up to Arlington Baptist Church to bring in their unwanted guns, no matter the condition, and no questions asked.

Event goers took the cash and JSO takes the guns away to be melted.

This is the second gun buy back of the year. The first one took 500 guns off the street and the second one took in more than 300 in just the first two hours.

Sheriff John Rutherford said the events like these are important.

"It creates in the community an awareness of gun violence and the issue of guns in the community, and getting guns out of the wrong hands."

The guns turned in are legal weapons, not those used in crimes.

JSO has another program for that, the gun bounty, which gives a $1,000 reward for anyone who anonymously tells officers about an illegal gun, and officers recover it after an arrest.

"You can bet, the drug dealers carrying guns, and the bad guys that are carrying guns, they're not going to come in here and sell their guns for fifty dollars," Sheriff Rutherford said. "I gotta go take their guns away. Their illegal guns."

It's just one of many ways JSO and the community can come together in hopes of safer streets.

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