Augusta's Gun Buyback Day at Antioch Baptist Church nets 44 unwanted firearms

Saturday, Aug 2, 2014 9:46 PM
Last updated Sunday, Aug 3, 2014 2:23 AM
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Leroy Young turned two unwanted guns into a tank of gas Saturday as he took part in the third annual Gun Buy­back Day at Antioch Mis­sion­ary Baptist Church.

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Dany Menard checks guns and rifles at the gun buyback event at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Of the 44 guns collected, 39 will be sent to Atlanta to be destroyed.   SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Dany Menard checks guns and rifles at the gun buyback event at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Of the 44 guns collected, 39 will be sent to Atlanta to be destroyed.

Travis Highfield
Twitter: @tbhighfield
E-mail | 706-823-3339

The Augusta resident was among the first dozen to show up to the event, carrying a shoe box under his arm. Inside were two handguns – a .22-caliber and a .32-caliber – that belonged to his late wife and mother-in-law.

Now that he lives in a nicer part of town, Young said, he felt no need to hang on to the guns, especially with his grandchildren darting in and out of the room where they were stored. Besides, he could use extra cash since his car gets just 12 miles to the gallon.

“I have a guzzler out there and it eats that stuff up,” he said, and he feels better knowing the guns would be off the street for good.

Despite the constant rain, Saturday’s event, held by the nonprofit group Future Successors, was its most successful yet.

Just 30 minutes in, coordinator Niki Watson had just five gift cards left to exchange for guns. She began with 26, valued at $1,600.

About 15 minutes later, the cards were all gone.

“I would say that we’re seeing a more diverse crowd,” she said. “It’s still an older crowd. It’s not as young as I’m trying to target, but we’ll get there.”

Watson, an Augusta native living in New York, started the event after noticing a spike of violent crimes involving younger people.

This year’s event brought in 44 firearms, four more than last year and double the take at the first event.

Once the unloaded guns were found to be in working condition, donors were given Visa gift cards valued between $50 and $70. When the cards ran out, Wat­son broke out her checkbook and spent an additional $500 to collect the rest.

Richmond County sheriff’s deputies were on hand to run serial numbers to check whether the guns had been stolen.

Five of the guns were turned over to the sheriff’s office because the numbers had been filed off. The other 39 will be sent to Atlanta to be destroyed.

Dany Menard, an Atlanta firefighter and gun owner who volunteered at the event, said it is a great way to make sure guns stay
in the right hands. He said he doesn’t think gun owners should feel threatened by the event.

“We’re not opposed to anyone’s Second Amendment rights because I’m a firm believer in my Second Amend­ment rights,” he said. “But I strongly believe that each gun should be in the hands of responsible parties. If the guns are not in the hands of a responsible person, that’s when you have issues like gun violence and misuse.”

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reader54 08/03/14 - 07:49 am
Just wondering if they take a

Just wondering if they take a ballistic profile to determine if any guns match with the data base of unsolved shootings before destroying possible evidence of use in a crime?

nocnoc 08/03/14 - 12:11 pm

They can't destroyed HERE in RICHMOND COUNTY.
Our Blow Torches cut stuff up just as well as Atlanta?

BTW: I see the concerns many of us expressed were
at least stated to have been addressed.

BTW: 39 sent 5 kept = 44 so NONE were previously stolen?

nocnoc 08/03/14 - 12:13 pm
BTW: can we get a UPDATED PHOTO

of the weapons collected instead the 2 year old photo with the UZI?

gargoyle 08/03/14 - 03:42 pm
Gun buy backs are easy

Gun buy backs are easy Bloomberg money for up and rising social entrepreneurs . Way easier than tackling the Drug and Gang problems that account for 80% of the homicides according to the CDC .

Travis Highfield
Travis Highfield 08/03/14 - 04:14 pm
Watch the video, nocnoc...

Your questions have been addressed there.

hoptoad 08/03/14 - 06:40 pm
He said he is for the Second

He said he is for the Second Amendment, just wanted guns in the hands of responsible gun owners. I doubt any were turned in by criminals if they had been used in crimes and could be traced back to the person who committed the crime.

Were all those guns (even the ones with serial numbers filed off) legally owned? Why does a responsible gun owner have guns with serial numbers filed off?

Frank I
Frank I 08/03/14 - 11:12 pm

I didn't see anyone there with an FFL?
"When the cards ran out, Wat­son broke out her checkbook and spent an additional $500 to collect the rest"
She violated Federal law if she ponied up any of her personal money to purchase a single handgun.

GodisSoGood 08/04/14 - 11:40 am
Excellent way to remove

Excellent way to remove illegal weapons from the streets. This accomplishes way more than a law forbidding law-abiding citizens from carrying concealed weapons. Great work, Antioch.

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