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College Park to initiate gun buyback program
by Bill Baldowski
January 11, 2013 09:52 AM | 2577 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, College Park Police Sgt. Jeff Hightower, who is also a certified firing range master, talks with College Park Councilman Joe Carn and College Park Police Chief Ron Fears about how weapons brought to the gun buyback site will be secured.
From left, College Park Police Sgt. Jeff Hightower, who is also a certified firing range master, talks with College Park Councilman Joe Carn and College Park Police Chief Ron Fears about how weapons brought to the gun buyback site will be secured.
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College Park has the reputation of thinking “outside the box,” especially in regard to solving problems or meeting challenges.

The city is taking that same distinctive approach in an effort to help reduce crime, especially crimes in which firearms are used.

According to College Park Councilman Joe Carn, who has spearheaded this first-ever city initiative with the support of Police Chief Ron Fears, the College Park Council has appropriated $15,000 to be used for a gun buyback program.

The program is designed where the city would pay cash to residents who bring in their firearms, regardless of type or condition, and turn them into police officers.

The exact date and location of the buyback program has yet to be announced.

Air rifles are not included in the buyback program.

“The weapons collected would then be destroyed under the direct supervision of the College Park Police Department at a later date,” Carn said.

“The concept of a gun buyback program was approved by the city council last November,” Carn added.

“We will go back before the council at its Jan. 21 meeting for final approval,” he said.

All details of the program are expected to be finalized at that council meeting and it will then be announced publically through the city’s Web site and local media.

College Park Police Sgt. Jeff Hightower, a certified firing range master who will be on hand for the buyback, explained the procedure.

“Every gun buyback station at the location of the event will be clearly marked so that those bringing in firearms will know exactly where to go and the procedure to follow,” he said, adding only those 18 and over will be allowed in the area of the buyback.

Police officials ask that weapons brought for the program be unloaded and enclosed in a bag or case, separate from any ammunition.

However, Hightower said ammunition will also be accepted for demolition but is not included in the buyback. He and other range masters at the buyback site will make sure all weapons brought in are unloaded. They will then insert an additional safety device on the weapon. The gun will then be checked through the GBI database to make sure it had not been used in the commission of a crime.

Information: (404) 766-3618.
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