Politics

Pensacola City Council Unanimously Approves Gun Buyback Program

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Pensacola will launch a gun buyback program after the City Council unanimously approved the idea Thursday night.

Under the program, the Pensacola Police Department will buy guns from anyone who offers them, with no questions asked of the seller.

The program is voluntary, and no price for the guns has been set, although city officials said earlier this week that the price might be $50 for pistols and $75 to $100 for long guns.

Guns purchased under the program will be ballistics tested to ensure they weren’t involved in crimes. They will also have their serial numbers checked against a list of stolen guns. If the gun is stolen, police will attempt to return the firearm to its rightful owners; otherwise, all of the guns purchased in the program will be destroyed

District 7 Pensacola City Councilman Delarian Wiggins proposed the gun buyback program as a way for the city to be proactive in fighting gun violence.

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said he supported Wiggins and asked if Wiggins would accept an amendment to the proposal to allow the PPD to use $10,000 for the program either from the Mayor’s Discretionary Fund or from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund.

Wiggins agreed to the amendment, which meant that Thursday’s vote would be the only vote on the program.

Several council members expressed skepticism that the program would be effective in reducing gun violence, as research into gun buyback programs in the 1990s showed that the programs aren’t effective. The Harvard Kennedy School concluded in January 2020 that gun buyback programs were most effective as part of broader efforts in reducing gun violence and can create an opportunity to educate the public.

District 3 City Councilman Casey Jones was among the skeptical council members. He said he has read that people who take advantage of the programs often have inherited guns or are coping with declining health and no longer feel comfortable owning a firearm.

“That’s a good thing, I think,” Jones said. “Unfortunately, I don’t know that th… (Read more)

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