COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following the lead of Cleveland and Cincinnati, the Columbus Division of Police hosted its first gun buyback event Saturday. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Columbus Division of Police held its first "Community Safety Day," a gun buyback event like the ones in Cincinnati and Cleveland
  • The event was drive-through style and allowed citizens to pull up, hand over their firearms to police and get a $50 gift card
  • Firearms underwent a background check to see if they had been used in previous crimes
  • Guns will be held for 90 days before being destroyed

The "Community Safety Day" event was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

First Assistant Chief of Police LaShanna Potts said it was an early success. 

"I can tell you the citizens have turned out," said Potts. "We’re so appreciative of them coming in, some didn’t even take a gift card, they just wanted the guns out of their house."

She said the goal of the event is to work to reduce gun violence in the city. 

"Our focus was on every handgun, every shotgun, every rifle that’s out of someone’s hands, saves a potential victim," said Potts.

The drive-through-style event allowed citizens to pull up, hand over their firearms to police and get a $50 gift card in exchange.

Police Sgt. R. Bronson Constable said that's where the work begins.

The guns were then inspected, tagged and run through the system to make sure they weren’t stolen. 

"We might be able to tie these to some crimes that we’ve had in the past, or if we get a stolen gun, we’ll get it back to the owner," said Constable. 

Later, they’ll go through a background check, then they will be placed on a 90-day holding period until they're destroyed in a steel mill. 

"They’ll never see the streets again," said Constable. 

He said a variety of guns were turned in. 

"We got a lot of shotguns, which are usually used as home defense weapons. We have a lot of older shutguns, which were used for hunting. We did get quite a few small, what I call ‘night-stand handguns,’ that people put in their nightstands for home protection."

Potts said she’s appreciative of the turnout. 

“We’re going to be doing many, many more,” said Potts. “We had citizens that came out early and they all had one initiative: to get the guns off the street, so we thank them.”

The event was held at the Columbus Fire Training Academy. ​