At it meeting Tuesday night, the council voted 3-0 with one abstention to conduct the gun buy back program Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the College Park City Auditorium, 3631 Main St.
Those approving the program were council members Joe Carn, who originated the gun buy back program idea, Ambrose Clay and Tracey Wyatt while Charles E. Phillips, Sr. abstained.
According to College Park Police Chief Ron Fears, the city has allocated $20,000 to buy back the guns and get them off the street.
Those bringing guns for the buy back program would received, in a lump-sum cash amount, $100 for those bringing in an operable handguns, shotguns or rifles while those bringing inguns fitting the federal definition of an assault weapon will be paid $150 cash for such weapons.
Those bringing in inoperable guns would even be paid $25 per weapon.
According to Carn, the goal of the program is to remove a quality of guns from College Park streets and dispose of them in a safe and permanent manner as the guns brought in would be melted down or cut up in small metal chunks.
Fears said that throughout the gun buy back program, the auditorium would be secured by police range instructors and four additional uniform officers for enhanced security.
“Two will be roaming police officers who will circulate throughout the city auditorium with two other officers assigned to the money table for additional security.
These two officers will be along side personnel from the College Park Finance Department.
Fears said the range instructors would be the primary safety monitors for the program and will evaluate the guns brought to the auditorium in regard to the amount the city would pay for them.
“The range instructors would receive and inspect the guns at a specific location just outside of the auditorium before the gun owners would be allowed to enter the building,’ Fears said.
Upon receipt of the gun from the owner, the range instructors would make sure the guns are cleared of any ammunition and the action on the gun open, Fears said.
After the range instructors have inspected the guns thoroughly, the action on the guns would be secured with a zip-tie in the open position, Fears said.
Following the event, all guns collected would be secured in the Property/Evidence Room at the police station and then taken to the GBI to be destroyed.
After addressing the council on the gun buy back program, Fears said after the vote he was confident the council would approve the agenda item.
“The College Park City Council has always been supportive of its police department,” Fears said, addition to the number of guns actually turned in and therefore, gotten off College Park streets, it would also raise public consciousness about being kept in the home and how important it is they be kept away from children.
Fears said that he would love to see the entire $20,000 city allotment from the gun buy back program to be dispersed.
“I would deem this program a true success if we dispersed $15, 000,” he added.
Although Longino said he supports this program and will follow it closely to see how many guns are actually turned in, he doesn’t see it actually getting the guns out of the hands of those who would commit criminal acts with the weapons.
“It won’t be the bad people who will be turning in their guns,’ Longino said. “However, this program gives people the opportunity to rid of their guns and make sure those guns do not fall into the wrong hands,” he said.
Stating the guns would be collected for the buy back “with no questions asked,” Carn said he hopes that the result of the program is not only less guns on College Park streets but would also be reflected in a reduced crime rate.
“The economy is still tough right now and this is a way for people to make some pretty easy cash money,” Carn said.