Dane Co. gun buyback nets 500+ guns
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Hundreds of people showed up at the Alliant Energy Center on Saturday to exchange their guns for gift cards as part of a gun buyback initiative hosted jointly by the Dane Co. Sheriff’s Office and the Madison Police Department.
On Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office revealed 577 weapons, including a crossbow, were surrendered during the “Gifts for Guns” event. It noted that over 250 vehicles passed through in the four hours they were open. So many people, turned out, in fact, that NBC15 News received multiple reports from people frustrated by the long lines.
“Too often, firearms can get into the wrong hands,” Sheriff Kalvin Barrett explained. “By providing this opportunity for citizens to safely turn in unwanted firearms and possibly prevent a tragedy.” The Sheriff’s Office statement did acknowledge that they will never know if the guns now off the street would ever have been used to cause injuries or deaths; however, Barrett pointed out that it is now certain that they will not be.
In its statement, the Sheriff’s Office broke down the types of weapons that they received, which included:
- 333 long guns, including rifles, shotguns and 11 assault-style rifles
- 95 handguns, including revolvers and semi-automatic pistols
- 93 pellet/BB/paintball guns
- 1 Cross Bow pistol
- 55 homemade weapons (3D, Slam guns)
- And 380 lbs. of misc. ammunition
While people were allowed to surrender their guns with no questions asked, the Sheriff’s Office noted that each weapon’s serial number was cross-referenced to see if it had been stolen. None of them were.
The Sheriff said Tuesday authorities are still gathering information on how many were unregistered and added specific numbers will be revealed at a later time.
$43,380 in Gift Cards
In all, organizers distributed more than $43,000 in gift cards, which could be spent on gas or groceries, to people handing in guns. Law enforcement had budgeted $50,000 for the event, with $32,000 going towards the cards and the rest being used to pay for the event, including the overtime that went to those who participated.
Local businesses and community organizations, including Madison Gas and Electric, Tellurian, Robinia Courtyard, Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and the NAACP Dane County Branch 36AB, and some private citizens chipped in over $8,000 more. Additionally, the Boys and Girls Club gave $1,400 more that was needed to make sure no one was turned away.
The amount people were given in exchange for their firearms was based on the type they were turning in. Prior to the event, the Sheriff’s Office detailed how much each weapon would be worth.
While tens of thousands of dollars in gift cards were available, not everyone who wanted to give up their weapons took one, the Sheriff’s Office noted.
|Assault Style Rifle||$250|
|BB Guns/Pellet Guns/Facsimile firearms||$10-$25|
“Performative Theater at the Taxpayer’s Expense”
Not everyone was supportive of the buyback program. Prior to the event, Barrett’s opponent in November’s race for Dane Co. Sheriff, Anthony Hamiton, criticized the event.
He described the buyback as “performative theater at the taxpayer’s expense… so that a political appointee can pull the wool over the public’s eyes,” and questioned if the money spent would be effective. He alleged that gun buyback programs have been shown not to work.
Hamiton claimed that for the $50,000 spent on gift cards and other expenses, the Sheriff’s Office could have conducted a warrant roundup or tried to recover stolen cars. He said that amount would have paid for a week’s worth of overtime for those operations.
In response, Sheriff Barrett said in part, “We look at this as a success and we will continue to focus on ways of keeping people safe and focusing on solutions to problems and not simply identifying problems in a very public way.”
Following the event, Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi complimented the initiative and thanked the Sheriff’s Office for putting it together.
“We’ve seen all too often that when guns end up in the wrong hands, there can be devastating consequences,” he said. County supervisors had also signed off on the event.
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