After several months of planning, the Augusta Housing Authority and Richmond County Sheriff's Department are planning to begin Augusta's first gun buyback program later this month.
The Nationwide Gun Buyback Project is sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Augusta Housing Authority reprogrammed $10,000 of its Drug Elimination Program funding from the fiscal year 1999 grant to get an additional $4,700 from HUD to use in the buyback.
Every person who turns in a gun that meets the federal definition of a firearm will receive a $50 gift certificate to Wal-Mart for each weapon.
Before establishing the logistics of the Richmond County gun buyback, Capt. Jim Griffin of the sheriff's department talked with police officials in other cities about their experiences with similar programs.
Safety at the events is a concern for officials and the possibility that individuals might steal guns from other citizens to turn them in for the gift certificates, Capt. Griffin said.
No other cities that have had similar programs have had problems with weapons being stolen prior to a buyback, Capt. Griffin said.
The three scheduled buybacks are for Aug. 2 at the Weed and Seed Safe Haven in Barton Village, Aug. 23 at Gilbert Manor and Aug. 26 at the sheriff's department substation at Southgate Shopping Center.
Reach Mark Mathis at (706) 823-3227.