Organizers take in 22 firearms at Augusta gun buyback

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By 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Niki Watson was trying to find a solution to a new problem: What would she do when the money ran out?

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Niki Watson organized a gun buyback event at Antioch Baptist Church in Augusta. Gun owners could trade their firearms for a $70 Visa gift card with no questions asked. Watson collected 22 guns on Saturday.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Niki Watson organized a gun buyback event at Antioch Baptist Church in Augusta. Gun owners could trade their firearms for a $70 Visa gift card with no questions asked. Watson collected 22 guns on Saturday.

The Gun Buyback/Peace Day she had organized was more successful than she expected. By 1:30, she had collected 13 handguns and rifles, but had only five of the promised $70 gift cards and 2½ hours to go.

She did receive donations from Deon Grant and Sizemore Person­nel, she said, but the turnout at Antioch Baptist Church was greater than she expected. She was determined not to turn anyone away.

In the end, she took in 22 guns and wrote five personal checks to make up for the shortfall.

“I had enough to cover this year, but for next year I would like for businesses to start donating now, to start reaching out to me now,” she said.

Anyone was welcome to turn in a gun – no questions asked – in exchange for a $70 Visa gift card.

Watson said the people who showed up surprised her.

Organizers expected to see mostly young black men, but more women, older people and whites turned in guns than they expected.

Though Watson didn’t ask, she said many people told her they were turning in guns they didn’t use anymore and wanted to get rid of before they fell into the wrong hands.

That was why John Watson turned in his single-shot 12-gauge shotgun.

“I thought it was the best way to, not really dispose of a gun but to get one from getting into the wrong hands without trying to sell it to a pawn shop, where you don’t know where it goes,” he said. “At least here, we know it’s going to be off the streets.”

Richmond County sheriff’s deputies disabled each gun as it came through the doors. Investigators recorded the serial numbers on all of the guns to make sure they had not been stolen.

“All the guns will be taken to our property room. Any guns that are not stolen will be stored there until we can properly dispose of them,” Investigator Darrell Turner said. “Any guns that are stolen, we will try to reunite those weapons with their owners.”

Watson, an Augusta native who graduated from Westside High School in 1999, now lives in Queens, N.Y. She was dismayed that much of the news reaching her from home was about people in her age group being shot, and she decided to do something about it.

She said she hopes the event will continue and have more support next year.

“I had to do something,” she said. “I don’t even live here. I live in New York City and I came here to help out my hometown. People in Augusta are not stepping up.”

Comments (11)

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HighSociety
1840
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HighSociety 08/05/12 - 02:59 am
1
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I understand the purpose of

I understand the purpose of this, but I'm keeping my guns.

seenitB4
72765
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seenitB4 08/05/12 - 04:09 am
3
0

Guns

My guns are staying with me....I feel I need them now more than ever.

Drain Bamage
41
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Drain Bamage 08/05/12 - 09:04 am
1
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Who turned in what

I'd like to know how many "Thugs" turned in their guns.....I'll keep mine

Common.sense
454
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Common.sense 08/05/12 - 10:20 am
0
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If any business supports this

If any business supports this buyback please list them. I do not wish to financially support a business that buys into the idea of a program like this "getting guns off the street". The only guns its getting off the street are the ones law abiding citizens need, or broken ones that hoodlums can't use.

Common.sense
454
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Common.sense 08/05/12 - 10:26 am
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John Watson

If you are selling your firearm to a legitimate pawn shop your gun would be bought by a law abiding citizen.

The more you know ...

My math must be a little bit rusty.

13 by 1330, 5 cards left for 2.5 hours, 5 checks written should equal 23 guns not 22.

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 08/05/12 - 01:01 pm
1
1

Missing The Point

I am not suprise that someone is not missing the point. Some people in the Augusta area are missing the point. This is about making this better for us all. I understand her point and it's a shame that people here don't open there mind.
Yet, you have businesses that are in Richmond County who don't pay taxes and you support them. That's how silly some people are here. You want to talk down to someone who come home to make a different when so many of you'll are here and do noting to make Richmond County better but say silly things

Common.sense
454
Points
Common.sense 08/05/12 - 04:21 pm
1
0

How is disarming law abiding

How is disarming law abiding citizens better for all of us? Train them, help them obtain the proper methods for the storage of guns. Don't leave them defenseless when the animals come for them. My mind is open. I don't have blinders on and I realize that there are dangerous people around us everyday. Maybe one day you will realize the same thing.

itsanotherday1
34724
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itsanotherday1 08/05/12 - 07:08 pm
0
0

I agree with Lynn's point.

I agree with Lynn's point. Though this won't make a diddle in the big scheme of things, at least the lady's heart is in the right place. Maybe one of these turned in would have become a stolen one.

Little Lamb
40166
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Little Lamb 08/05/12 - 10:09 pm
0
0

Relations

Is John Watson any relation to Niki Watson? Just askin’.

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 08/06/12 - 01:25 am
0
1

Well My Eyes Are Open

My eyes are more open then most people. Having been apart of the USMC family, my mind and eye see things much clearly then most. Some of the things RC community need to work on, how we can educate our young people better without them thinking that if they don't attend a magnet school they wouldn't be entitle to a good education. I was at the RCBOE meeting about a week ago, I only saw 2 parents at that meeting speaking out about they wants to do away with after-school tutoring. Yet, here is person who came back to Augusta to help her people. When alot of her people who are here don't even get up to speak out.
RC families should stay on city board about all these business owners who don't pay there taxes to RC, but take there money back to there community. Make the city leaders to list these businesses who haven't paid there taxes.
That's why we are voting for a "New Sheriff" leader to hopefully improve RC for us all.

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 08/06/12 - 10:16 am
0
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Guns

Our guns staying with us as well. I hope a lot of those older folks didn't give up their firearms because they needed the money.

Lynn, you have some business owners that have not paid their taxes for whatever reason. They usually list them in the paper yearly.

Then you have businesses that don't pay taxes, it was part of an incentive to entice them to come here and open up shop. We have quite a few of them.

Why would parents "wants to do away with after-school tutoring?" Is that a bad thing now?

We are voting for a new sheriff because Sheriff Strength is retiring he has held that position for the last 11 years...

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