Maybe you’ve been moved by the national school walkouts organized after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Perhaps you inherited a few handguns after a relative passed away. There are plenty of reasons people might want to forfeit a firearm, says Cleveland police Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia, who runs the department’s gun buyback program. “We take unwanted guns and ammo all the time,” she says.
That’s because no matter your stance on the Second Amendment, a gun improperly stored can be dangerous. An estimated 350,000 guns are stolen every year in the United States. Half of school shootings by a minor involve a gun stolen from a parent. And last year, there were 285 incidents of children accidentally shooting themselves or others after picking up an unsecured firearm. “People end up storing them in drawers or under the mattress or on top of the fridge and think kids can’t get it,” Ciaccia says. “Kids are crafty and innovative and get curious.”
So we asked Ciaccia for a few ways to get rid of an unwanted weapon that ensures it doesn’t end up on the streets.
Hand It Over To Police
Guns can be surrendered to the Cleveland Police Department all year. Experienced gun owners may bring the weapon to a police station after first calling the non-emergency line (216-621-1234). Officers prefer the gun be stored in a box or bag in the owner’s car trunk. Upon arrival, leave the gun in your car and notify on-staff officers, who will collect the weapon, which should be unloaded and stored separately from the ammo. If you’re uncomfortable handling a weapon, an officer can collect the gun from your home.
The city’s annual Gun Buyback day, held in late summer or early fall, rewards owners of surrendered handguns and semi-automatics with $100 and $200 grocery and gas cards, respectively. Rifles and shotguns are accepted but not rewarded. For officers’ safety, police ask participants to put the unloaded weapon in a clear plastic bag and a second container such as a gym bag. Then, lock the contained weapon in the trunk of your car. ArcelorMittal melts the weapons, which typically total about 150 per year.
Make It Inoperable
Despite what you’ve seen in viral videos, Ciaccia doesn’t recommend modifying the firearm without the guidance of a certified professional. If you’d like to keep the gun as a memento but want to ensure it cannot be fired, some armories may render the weapon inoperable by plugging the receiver, removing the bolt assembly or welding the chamber. “Occasionally people want to do this to old-style heirloom guns so it won’t fire and can’t be used against you,” she says.
in the cle
8:00 PM EST
October 17, 2018