Tucson Shootings Spark Gun Buyback

Jan 9, 2013

Two years after the Tucson killings that left six people dead and suspended the career of a congresswoman, the city inaugurated a gun buyback program for citizens to turn in their weapons.

A Tucson police officer inspects a rifle that was brought in by a gun owner on Tuesday during the buyback program.
Credit Michel Marizco

A police officer opened a small wooden box in the hands of a man in line. "Do you have this locked inside the case?" he asked as he pulled out an old semiautomatic pistol.

The man holding the gun is one of about 100 people who lined up Tuesday morning to turn in a weapon. The buyback program was initiated by a Tucson city councilman.

"Let me take a look at it and I’ll be the one checking it for you today," the officer said.

Those who participated in today's event received a gift card to Safeway. That’s the grocery store chain where the killings took place two years ago.

Like most in line today, Matthew Wenger brought an old dismantled handgun.

"They’re providing $50 gift cards for what we were told was worth about $25," he said.

This was also the day that retired Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband launched a political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions. In an opinion piece in USA Today, Giffords and her husband said they want to raise money to counter the influence of the gun lobby.

The Tucson buyback program wasn’t without it’s detractors. Kitty Moran is a proud gun owner. She stood on the edge of the event with a large sign. It read: “I’ll pay you double for your gun.” She doesn’t think an event like this leads to safer communities.

Kitty Moran offered to purchase the guns from the owners herself rather than see them destroyed.
Credit Michel Marizco

"Criminals are not going to want to come to a police station and willingly hand over their gun. That’s just not going to happen,” she said.

The Tucson Police Department said it collected about 200 guns. They were to be destroyed Tuesday afternoon.