Houstonians can exchange guns for gift cards at buyback event Saturday

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Friday, July 29, 2022
Houstonians can exchange guns for money at buyback event tomorrow
Have old guns laying around? Need some extra cash? A buyback event this weekend could leave you $50 to $200 richer!

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The City of Houston is preparing to take more guns off the street with a buyback event happening on Saturday.

They'll exchange your guns for gift cards, whether they're working or not.

The event is happening from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, July 30, in the parking lot of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, located at 3826 Wheeler Ave.

Here's how much money you'll get on a gift card for each item:

  • Broken gun - $50
  • Rifle or shotgun - $100
  • Handgun - $150
  • Fully-automatic rifle - $200

Participants will need to transport the firearms unloaded and in the trunk of their vehicle.

City leaders hope the event helps get guns out of the hands of violent criminals.

The program comes at a time when gun violence is growing - especially against children.

READ MORE: Houston city leaders hope to get guns off the streets with gun buyback program

The gun buyback program is part of the One Safe Houston initiative. About $1 million will toward gift cards to people who return their guns.

Since the start of 2022, more than 200 people have been shot to death in Houston.

"A 16-year-old girl was walking in the park, shot to death. A 17-year-old girl was shot by her brother in a double homicide. An 11-year-old was getting a jacket from his mom's car," Commissioner Rodney Ellis said. "We can't change that overnight, but we can take action by removing the guns off the street."

The program is part of One Safe Houston, which is a $45 million crime incentive. Of that money, $1 million will go toward gift cards to people who return their guns.

Earlier this year, Mayor Sylvester Turner touted the program's success and announced the homicide rate was down by just 3%.

"It's working. It's effective. It's having an impact," Turner said during a press conference in May.

But seven weeks later, there have been 256 homicides in 2022. That's three more compared to the 253 homicides at this time in 2021. In 2020, the number was 187, according to police data.

"The numbers are flat right now but we are in the middle of summer. I want the numbers to go down even more," HPD Chief Troy Finner said when confronted about the homicide rate drop not lasting long enough.

While the gun buyback program isn't the end-all solution to reducing the homicide rate, officials said it has worked in other cities.

ORIGINAL REPORT: HPD Chief Finner and Harris Co. Commissioner Ellis to announce Gun Buyback event on July 18

According to a release by HPD, the goal of the buyback event is to reduce violent crime within the Houston area in part with the One Safe Houston initiative.