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300+ guns surrendered during buy-back event in Winston-Salem

Hundreds of guns collected, all in an effort to combat gun violence.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Winston-Salem Police Department collected 367 guns this past weekend during a buy-back event.

Winston-Salem mayor, Allen Joines their city, like most, has been seeing an increase in gun violence. Event's like this, are a part of a multi-faceted approach to deal with that. “I think it just demonstrates that the city is very concerned and serious about addressing the gun violence issue. We can’t do it with a single event such as the gun buy-back but it’s one piece of the whole mosaic of addressing gun violence,” Joines said.  

Reducing gun violence and increasing community safety were the goals of this buy-back event and those goals were reached according to organizers. “So, this was a wildly successful event, Saturday. People began lining up at 7:30 in the morning and as you know the event didn’t start until 9 am. Traffic lines were very long. I don’t think any of us expected the overwhelming turnout,” Winston-Salem police spokesperson, Kira Boyd said.

The city was given $50,000 as part of the coronavirus local fiscal relief fund. The bill recognizes that one negative outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an increase in violence. The Relief Fund authorizes recipients to spend some of the money on efforts to reduce violence. So, an allocated $5,000 from that was used to pay people for donating their guns back. $200 were given for assault rifles, $150 for handguns, and $100 for long guns like shotguns and rifles.

The drive-thru event lasted 4 hours and the $5,000 were paid to people in just over two hours since the start of the event. Winston-Salem Police said many people, even after all of the money was given out, still surrendered their guns until the end of the event. In total, 133 cars drove through the event donating 252 handguns, 108 long guns, and 7 assault rifles.

Winston-Salem police said people were able to anonymously turn in guns with no questions asked but some willingly told officers why they were getting rid of their guns. Many said they didn’t want to become victims of crime and one person said they needed money for Christmas presents.

Winston-Salem police said none of the guns surrendered Saturday were reported stolen. They also said the guns they did collect will be destroyed in accordance to state laws.