Alexandria, La. (Feb. 15, 2020) — Alexandria Police Department officials and officers from Louisiana State Police, in conjunction with the SafeAlex program, collected 147 guns turned in by area residents as part of a gun buyback program held Saturday at the old Fire Station No. 2, located at 1105 Broadway Ave. Officials collected 39 handguns and 108 rifles/shotguns.
“Gun-related violence is a serious issue. We held this event today to help increase awareness of the need for better gun safety and to give individuals an opportunity to turn in guns that, for whatever reason, they no longer want in their home,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “This is just one piece of a broader effort to encourage residents to get involved in helping reduce crime and gun-related violence in our communities. If doing this today means that one of the guns we collected doesn’t lead to a tragedy, then it was worth the effort. It is not a total cure, it’s just one part of a bigger process.”
Officials paid $50 for handguns and $100 for rifles that were turned in. Total payout was $12,750. At the time the program was announced, the city committed to fund the buyback program while indicating private donations and sponsorships would be encouraged. The funds used to pay for the guns collected Saturday came from private donations and from the SafeAlex program, which is funded by fines and court fees.
“As the Mayor said, it is about increasing awareness of proper gun safety and trying to do what we can as a city and a police department to prevent a needless tragedy,” said Alexandria Police Chief Jerrod King. “It is about saving lives. We will never know if one of these guns would have been used, whether accidentally or intentionally, to take a life. We can’t prove that. But if one would have, and this event prevented that from happening, then we made a positive difference today.”
Public Safety Commissioner Daryl Terry said the benefits will extend beyond the guns collected Saturday. “As the Mayor indicated, this is about increasing awareness of gun safety,” Terry said. “We want to encourage responsible gun ownership. The hope is that as a result of the discussions and attention created by having this event, our residents who do own guns will have an increased awareness of the importance for proper gun safety. Using gun locks, making sure guns are stored safely where children can’t find them. It’s a good reminder of the safety practices responsible gun owners know they should follow. Again, if by having this event we get one gun owner to take steps to improve their gun safety and we prevent a tragedy, then we did some good.”
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