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Government & Politics

Police Collect Nearly 170 Firearms During Cleveland's Annual Gun Buyback

photo of gun buyback
Just after 11 a.m. Sunday, cars started pulling in to the Third District Headquarters at E. 45th and Chester Ave. for the gun buyback.

The Cleveland Police Department collected 168 firearms during its gun buyback yesterday, with people lining up almost an hour in advance for the annual event.

The 10th annual buyback allowed anyone to turn in a working handgun or semi-automatic rifle -- no questions asked -- for up to $200 in gift cards.

As in years past, several private buyers lined up nearby with signs reading “Cash 4 Guns,” looking for interesting or historical pieces. Dan Smith from Streetsboro was there, and says gun buybacks should be operated a little differently so rare pieces are not destroyed.

"We operate police auctions all the time; they sell cars and everything else. There's no reason they shouldn't be able to dispose of firearms at an auction at fair market value and make some money for the city and get these guns to people who are actually going to take care of them and be responsible with them."

Doug Friedt from Willoughby – who brought a .22-caliber long rifle which he no longer has any use for – says he prefers the buyback.

Friedt on gun buybacks

"Has nothing to do with gun control -- I'm a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. (It's)  just an opportunity to safely get rid of a gun I don't want. I really like to know where it's going. I think it's responsible to do it this way and not sell it to someone I don't know."

Cleveland police say anyone with an unwanted gun can turn it in at any time, but the buyback is the only time the department is able to offer money for the weapons. The pieces collected will be melted down by ArcelorMittal.