Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater and Largo police collect 324 guns in Gifts for Guns initiative

Rifles, handguns, shotguns and even assault weapons were dropped off in the no-questions-asked exchange for gift cards.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Rifles, handguns, shotguns and even assault weapons were dropped off in the no-questions-asked exchange for gift cards.

CLEARWATER — In just six hours Friday, police in Clearwater and Largo collected 324 guns in their first-ever Gifts for Guns buyback initiative.

That means 324 guns that won't ever be used in a robbery or a homicide or an accidental shooting, police said.

Instead, they'll be incinerated.

"There were a lot of older guns that people had, and the common theme was that a loved one had passed away and it had been sitting around and they didn't know what to do with it," said Largo police Lt. Mike Loux.

Police collected handguns, rifles and shotguns, including one shotgun that appeared to be from the 19th century, said Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.

The program, which allowed people to trade their guns for gift cards ranging from $50 to $100, was the first initiative of Clearwater Deputy Police Chief Sandra Wilson, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement veteran who started with Clearwater in December.

"We'd like to thank the community for coming out and supporting our new crime-prevention initiative. We collected over 300 guns today, including two assault weapons," Wilson said. "We see this as a success that will potentially make the community safer."

Clearwater police at two dropoff locations collected 190 guns. Largo police took in another 134. One stolen gun was recovered and two assault rifles were turned in, Watts said. The event came with a "no questions asked" policy to encourage people to hand over the weapons, regardless of their history.

Officials with both departments were impressed by the turnout and are considering holding another gun buyback day in the future.

Even guns owned by law-abiding citizens can be stolen and end up in the hands of people with criminal intentions, police officials said.

Loux said his agency gave out about $6,500 in gift cards. The money came from forfeiture funds.

"The majority of the money we spent to keep the streets safe was … seized from drug dealers and people committing crimes," Loux said. "So, we're actually using money we got from the bad guys to protect the community from the bad guys."

Clearwater and Largo police collect 324 guns in Gifts for Guns initiative 06/10/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 10, 2011 7:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program

    Politics

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  2. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times

  3. Bucs' Ali Marpet: Move to center could pay off big

    Bucs

    TAMPA — No player works as closely with Jameis Winston as the center. Only those two touch the ball on every play. Together they make — if you will — snap judgements about defensive alignments.

     Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  4. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump

    Blogs

    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  5. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times