From M-1 Carbines to .45 pistols, the number of guns turned in nearly overwhelmed organizers of Delaware’s first gun buyback effort.
The state had allocated $100,000 for the program, but that amount was spent buying back guns within the first hour and a half. “It’s amazing. Absolutely phenomenal,” said Lewis Schiliro, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security. “We did a lot of work in order to get the community out, so we figured we were going to get a good response, but this is actually overwhelming.”
When the buyback ran out of money, Governor Markell ordered the police staffing the event to issue vouchers that would be good for gift cards at a later date for any guns turned in.
State Police Superintendent Colonel Robert Coupe says while this weekend’s buyback was only done at two sites in New Castle County, a similar event in Kent and Sussex would likely be just as successful. “From talking to some of the people in line in New Castle, they came all the way up from Bridgeville,” he said.
State lawmakers say they’ll look for extra money to fund an extension of the program when the General Assembly returns to Dover in January. “Every gun that comes off of this street will probably save at least one life,” says State Senator Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East). “I’m extremely excited about the turnout we’ve had, it’s beyond our wildest dreams.”
Depending on the type of gun they turned in, participants in the buyback got a gift card or voucher for between $100 and $200.