Police Chief Rafael Padilla said Kent’s first gun buyback “went very well” and resulted in the collection of 82 guns.
“Many times, people inherit or become in possession of firearms that they don’t want to keep,” Padilla said in an email. “This event represents a great opportunity for community members to surrender their unwanted firearms and receive a gift card they can use to purchase something they want.”
Padilla said Kent Police gave out $8,250 in Amazon gift cards in exchange for the guns during the June 3 event at the Kent Police/Fire Training Center, 24523 116th Ave. SE on the East Hill.
The monetary amount on the gift cards was dependent on the type of gun being exchanged, such as $25 for antique firearms, $100 for shotguns or revolvers, $200 for full-automatic pistols and $250 for AR-15s and AK-47s.
“We had a wide range of firearms, including rifles, shotguns, pistols and revolvers,” Padilla said.
In addition to the 82 guns collected, police also collected eight BB guns, although no gift card was exchanged for those.
The event was for city of Kent residents only. In order to qualify, you needed to bring two forms of residency documentation, including a driver’s license and one additional proof of residency, such as an utility bill.
“The event went very well,” said Padilla, who added this was the first gun buyback Kent had ever held. “My team did an excellent job working out the setup and safety protocols and the participants were very good at following the instructions for how to surrender their guns.”
Padilla said most of the guns will be destroyed.
“About 15 of the firearms have to be run through the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network database and if there are no hits (stolen gun or associated with a crime) on the firearms, those will be destroyed as well,” he said.
Kent City Councilmember Zandria Michaud led a council initiative for the gun buyback.
“I am thankful that Kent is offering this opportunity to our residents to remove unwanted firearms from their homes,” Michaud said prior to the event. “In the U.S., gun violence is the number one killer of youth and 60% of gun deaths are suicides. With the increased use of firearms to commit tragic acts, we continue to explore additional ways to improve everyone’s safety.
“I’m honored to work with our police department in this effort and I hope we will continue to collaborate to find innovative ways to make Kent a safer community for all.”