Delaware’s Gun Buyback Program

Delaware’s new gun buyback program goes into effect this Saturday in Wilmington, and today, state and city leaders, clergy and law enforcement came together to get the word out.

In front of Tabernacle Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral, Governor Jack Markell said the program will allow citizens to turn in unwanted firearms in exchange for gift cards, which act like cash.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep people safe, and the gun buyback is an important step,” said Gov. Markell. “This is the state, the city and the community working together with law enforcement. If we take one gun off the street and safe one life by doing this, it will be worth it.”

This past summer, the Governor signed a bill into law establishing the Community Firearm Recovery Program, setting up a $100-thousand fund to be used for Saturday’s event.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Delaware State Police’s Colonel Robert Coupe says assault rifles are worth a $200 gift card, a rifle or shotgun nets $100 and a handgun, $150.

“If a citizen brings in a weapon, they’ll come to the church, they will see a uniformed presence there, however, there will be no questions asked; they don’t have to give their name, no identification,” said Col. Coupe. “We ask that it be, if it’s a handgun, that it’s secured in a clear, plastic bag, that it’s unloaded and safe; if it’s a long gun, a rifle or a shotgun, or an assault rifle, we would ask that they wrap a clear plastic bag around the trigger guard area.”

Police also ask ammunition be stored in a separate clear plastic bag.

Once the weapons are turned in, Col. Coupe says officers will run a check on the guns’ serial numbers. From there, one of three things could happen, according to DSP:

Stolen firearms will be returned to their rightful owners
If weapons are linked to a crime, the firearms will be stored in evidence for three years and could launch a possible investigation 
If guns are not stolen, they will be taken to steel mill to be melted down

The buyback will take place this Saturday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at two locations in Wilmington:

Ezion Fair Baptist Church, 1400 B Street
Canaan Baptist Church, 3011 New Castle Avenue

“It is my hope that the gun buy-back program will help not only Wilmington, but each of Delaware’s counties, towns and cities to eliminate guns that could fall into the hands of criminals,” said Wilmington Mayor James Baker.

Col. Coupe says, depending on how well Saturday’s event goes, and if there’s enough money left over, the state will plan a second buyback event, likely to be held somewhere downstate.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal