Phoenix PD to host gun buyback ahead of new law

May 01, 2013

The Phoenix Police Department will launch what it is calling the largest gun buyback program in Arizona history this Saturday – and the department is doing it with a looming deadline.

On Monday, Governor Jan Brewer signed a law that prevents cities from melting down guns collected during buyback events. It'll go into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends.

Phoenix PD plans to melt down the guns collected at their buyback event before that 90-day period ends. Sgt. Steve Martos said he expects a lot of guns to be turned in, but that the department will be able to process them before the law goes into effect.

But, Martos said, the law makes it unlikely the department will organize gun buyback events in the future.

“The whole purpose of a gun buyback event is to take unwanted guns off the street and destroy them,” Martos said. “It would be counterproductive if we had another event in which we then had to resell those guns.”

Martos said that no policy change has been made, and that other groups not bound by the law could organize a buyback and destroy guns.

The department will give gift certificates for AJ’s, Basha’s and Food City in exchange for working guns -- $100 for hand guns and shot guns and $200 for assault weapons. The buyback is anonymous, and the police will check guns for evidence of criminal use before they are destroyed.

The buy back is scheduled for the next three Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at three Phoenix locations:

-- Southminster Presbyterian Church, 1923 East Broadway Road

-- Betania Presbyterian Church, 2811 North 39th Avenue

-- Sunnyslope Mennonite Church, 9835 North 7th Street

UPDATE (5/08): Phoneix PD will only collect guns at Betania Presbyterian Church (2811 North 39th Avenue) on Saturday, May 11. The May 18 buyback event may be cancelled because the department may run out of gift certificates.