CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - During the annual Cleveland Police Foundation Gun Buyback event, police collected more than 150 guns, running out of gift cards within a little over an hour.
The line of cars was around the block well before the 13th annual event began at Cleveland Police 3rd district headquarters. Residents waited to hand over their unwanted guns and get gift cards in return.
Many who attend the event have similar stories, like a loved one passing away and the family member not knowing what to do with the gun.
“My father passed away and they were in my moms house and I wanted to get some money for her,” Richard said.
Richard is also a new grandfather, he like others wanted to make sure no one accidentally got hold of the gun.
“I wanted to get the gun out of the house because I have little grand kids and great-grands there and I want to keep them safe,” Ethel said.
Cleveland Police agree smart gun ownership is important.
“When guns are in the home and they belong to reluctant gun owners or they just really don’t want guns, sometimes they can be stored improperly. We do every year find incidents with kids finding guns that aren’t stored properly,” said Cleveland Police Sergeant Jennifer Ciaccia.
Officers said when a home is burglarized, often times guns are the first item thieves seek.
People who turn in guns have some incentive. When you turn over a gun you can get $100 and $200 store and gas station gift cards depending on the type of gun. This year, police ran out of gift cards around 10:30 a.m., about an hour and a half after the event began.
If you want to get rid of your gun but weren’t able to make it to the event, call you local police district to find out how.
Once all the guns are collected, they’ll remain in Cleveland Police custody before they’re taken to a facility to be melted down and thrown out.