Mar 28, 2023 - News

Police Department's gun buyback program yields 30 firearms

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Salt Lake City Police Department said it collected 30 firearms from its gun buyback program over the weekend — a substantial decrease from a similar event held last year.

Details: The police department and Salt Lake City Police Foundation held a no-questions-asked gun buyback program last Saturday in an effort to decrease the number of firearms in the community and to reduce gun violence.

  • Police offered $50 gift cards for firearms and $100 gift cards for assault-style weapons. Before the event, the police department said it had approximately 150 gift cards to give away.
  • Police said they retrieved 10 revolvers, seven rifles, six shotguns, four pistols and three assault-style rifles during the three-hour event.

Flashback: Last year's event yielded 103 firearms.

What they're saying: Mark Wian, a sergeant in the police department's public relations unit, told Axios the time of year and general awareness of the event may have contributed to this year's decrease in collections.

  • "As we do with every event, we'll go back to see how we can improve," Wian said via email. "That said — we do view this as a success. Even if we had just one firearm turned in, it would have been a success."

Between the lines: Research shows gun buyback programs on their own aren't effective at culling violent crime. They could, however, help educate communities about how to reduce gun violence.

The big picture: Salt Lake County saw a 41% increase in fatal firearm assaults between 2016 and 2020, per data from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.


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