HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - Several gun buy-back programs have popped-up across the country since the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says it's been planning a district-wide buy-back for months. The February 2nd gun buy back was in the works well before the school tragedy unfolded.
Now they are hoping for an even bigger response.
"The Sheriff wanted to provide everyone in Hillsborough County an easy and convenient way to get rid of unwanted firearms. We also felt that by people getting rid of firearms it would be less firearm that would end up on the street as a result of a burglary to a house or some type of car," said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Captain Chad Chronister.
Chronister says participants will be able to trade all kinds of guns for gift cards.
The Sheriff’s Office is working to find corporate partners for the event.
East Tampa neighbors say a gun buy back program in 2011 was huge success in their community. The Tampa Police Department says it netted one-thousand guns and community leaders were pleased those were taken off the streets.
"I actually went down to the site to see what kind of guns were being turned in and everything was turned in-- I mean assault rifles, sawed-off shotguns, hand-made weapons," said Diane Hart, President East Tampa Business and Civic Association.
County Commissioners will also take up the issue in just days. One commissioner is pitching an annual gun buy back and a memorial tribute to victims of gun violence.
But a 2004 National Research Council study says there's no hard evidence gun buy-backs actually work. Critics are already weighing-in.
"Frequently the people turning them in are going to be elderly. They're not criminals. They're just people who don't want the firearm and that's certainly their choice but it is not an effective means of taking firearms out of the hands of criminals," said Shawn Penwell, Manager Shooting Sports.
Other critics call gun buy backs a feel good movement that aren't effective saying bad guys don't give-up their guns and many of those collected aren't in working order.
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