Last year’s gun buyback pilot program in Wilmington was overwhelmed by the number of people turning in weapons that one state lawmaker wants to make it permanent.
More than 2,000 guns were turned in at a pair of Wilmington churches during last year’s buyback effort, with firearms ranging from hand guns to assault weapons being turned in.
Because of the tremendous interest in the pilot program, State Senator Robert Marshall, D- Wilmington West, wants the effort expanded beyond the city of Wilmington. “There were residents of Sussex county, Kent county, along with all of Wilmington and New Castle County residents turning in weapons that were unwanted. So this would be a step in developing a long term permanent gun buyback opportunity for local police.”
Under Marshall’s plan the Joint Finance Committee would still need to make appropriations to fund the program every year, but the framework for a permanent program would remain in place. “The bill will create a permanent fund administered by a committee composed of those in law enforcement, state homeland security that would be able to award a local police department state funds towards a gun buyback program.”
Last year’s program was so successful, the number of guns outpaced the amount of money used to fund the buyback. The initial $100,000 was paid out in exchange for guns within the first hour and a half. The state was forced to hand out vouchers that could later be exchanged for money from reserve funds.