BOYNTON BEACH, FL — For the first time in the agency's history, the Boynton Beach Police Department is asking for your guns.
The department is hosting a gun buyback event on Saturday to provide an opportunity for community members to safely and legally get rid of unwanted, functional firearms.
The event will be on Saturday, June 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Boynton Beach Church of God House of Kingdom Worship, located at 135 Northeast 7th Ave.
Police Chief Michael Gregory tells WPTV the event has been in the works for quite a while, but the pandemic and other factors delayed it until now.
“This crime prevention initiative is the latest in our on-going efforts to reduce gun violence in the City of Boynton Beach and keep unwanted guns out of the hands of criminals,” Police Chief Michael G. Gregory said.
While the goal is to take guns off Boynton Beach city streets, the chief says they will not turn anyone away. "Perhaps a loved one has passed and they have no need for it anymore, service person who had left something behind here, now they are no longer with us and they want to dispose of those firearms, this is a legal venue to give folks who are interested, and its all voluntary, to have a legal venue to dispose of these firearms," Gregory says. "We know crime doesn't stop at our doorstep and it travels across the region so if what we take off the streets here can help save a life next door, that's fine with me."
There is no quota for the event, but Gregory is hoping for a strong turnout. "We'll take everything we can get, even getting one or two handguns off the street that are no longer wanted or no longer needed at home is a win for us and we'll be happy to accept that," he says.
Gregory says while gun violence appears to be down in the city this year, any shooting is one too many.
"We're probably a little lower than last year, anecdotally. In my mind, any gun violence is too much gun violence, so I don't want to equate it to just numbers, we want it less every year until we don't have a gun violence problem anymore, if such a world exists, that's our goal to get there," said Gregory.
The chief says no questions will be asked, and no ID is required of anyone turning in a firearm at the event. However, the gun must be unloaded with the safety engaged, and in a bag, box or case in the trunk of your car. No walk-ups will be permitted.
Participants will receive a $100 gift card for each functional handgun and a $200 gift card for each functional rifle/long gun on a first come, first served basis. The gift cards are to Target and Walmart.
Officers will not accept BB, pellet, airsoft guns or non-functioning firearms.
This event is intended for the general public, and commercial firearms dealers are not eligible for gift cards.
Once surrendered, the chief says they will check to see if the gun is stolen. If so, they will try to return it to its rightful owner. If not, it will be destroyed.
The chief says they will also be giving out gun locks to anyone who needs one, and gun safety information.
For more information on the event, click here.