‘Gun Buy Back’ ends early after strong response

Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 8:55 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Peoria Police had to end their ‘Gun Buy Back’ event early following a surge in demand soon after opening to the public.

Saturday, the department provided four locations around the city where residents could drop off unwanted guns, no questions asked. In exchange, depending on the type of firearm, donors would receive a gift card totaling as high as $500. The guns are destroyed afterwards.

“Any weapon that we take off the street is potentially hazardous to the public and potentially hazardous to police officers,” says Peoria Police Lieutenant James Chiola.

Within an hour of the event starting, the department ran out of money due to the surge in demand. In total, over $17,000 was spent, contributed by a private donor. Out of a total of 92 weapons, one was a ghost gun, one an incomplete AR-15, two were assault style weapons, 37 were handguns, 25 were rifles, and 27 were shotguns.

Since not all of the guns turned in are licensed, the department fires them before running them through the National Indictment system to make sure they’re not connected to any crimes.

The department says since the anonymous donor saw the strong positive response to the event, they could hold a similar event in the near future.

“Some of these people had firearms they’d had for years, but they’re afraid if someone breaks into their house and steals them, they’ll use them against them or police officers,” adds Chiola.