Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn this morning said he’s already planning for another gun buyback, after an event Saturday brought in 716 firearms and resulted in two-hour lines and a traffic jam.
“We would love to do this again,” he said at a morning news conference, and is already working to firm up a date and location sometime in the next few weeks.
McGinn also called on the state and federal governments to prevent the unregulated private sale of guns, which happened on sidewalks around Saturday’s event.
He said it wasn’t clear the city had the authority to shut down the private sale of guns.
“We had a gun bazaar break out on the streets of Seattle at a gun buyback event,” McGinn said.
Still, Deputy Seattle Police Chief Nick Metz said most people who came to sell their guns did so to the police.
“A large majority chose to stand in line, to get less money than they might have in order to make sure that weapon would not be used in a crime.”
Metz said the police researched gun buybacks in other cities, including a recent one in Los Angeles, and found that they collected an average of 100 guns per hour. Seattle police took in more than 700 in about three hours, he said, swamping the staff on hand.
“This was an overwhelming response,” Metz said.
Among the weapons sold to the city in exchange for gift cards of from $50 to $200 were four guns confirmed by police as stolen, dozens considered assault-style weapons and a military-grade missile launcher that is not legal in civilian hands, Metz said.
King County Executive Dow Constantine said that dozens of homes in the region are safer because unwanted guns are no longer lying around. Any one of those, he said, might otherwise have been “used in an argument between brothers, a dispute between neighbors, or taken by an angry teenager and brought to a school. ”
He said that just because the city and county don’t have the legal authority to regulate gun possession or sales, “That should not stop us from doing those things we have in our control.”