Returning unwanted firearms can be as easy as placing an unloaded weapon in a shoe box, then exchanging it for a gift card – no questions asked.
That’s the idea behind the second annual Gun Buyback Day to be held at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday.
Niki Watson, the event’s organizer and founder of Future Successors in Augusta, said the goal of the buyback is simple: Stop gun violence.
“We’re trying to eliminate the gun violence that has been going on not only in Augusta, but in the world,” she said. “We try to provide programs and reliable resources to eliminate violence in a young kid’s life.”
The event, put on by Future Successors, collected 22 guns in last year’s buyback, proving to be more successful than Watson had planned.
“I had enough money for 18 (guns),” she said. “But you always hope that it will be bigger and better than the year before. We had 22. I’m hoping to get 50.”
Guns weren’t tested for functionality last year, but Watson said that this year guns will be tested by weapons specialists to ensure they are in working order before the exchange.
As long as handguns are brought in unloaded and inside a shoebox, participants will qualify for gift cards ranging from $50 to $70.
The buyback isn’t limited to handguns, however. Rifles and shotguns also can be exchanged.
Watson said the guns are handed over to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the serial numbers to identify any firearms that have been reported stolen. No stolen guns were recovered at last year’s buyback.
Watson said the event uses a no-questions-asked policy to create a less hostile environment for the gun owners.
“A lot of these people don’t know the history of their guns,” she said. “Maybe they found it and they’re probably too scared to turn it in. If it’s no questions asked, it makes it easier to get these guns off the streets of Augusta.”
The buyback will start at 11 a.m. Saturday. Gun locks will be provided for rifles and handguns.