DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Within 45 minutes of a Durham County gun buyback program starting, cars lined up outside Mt. Vernon Baptist Church on Saturday.

People were selling their old and used guns to the Durham County Sheriff’s Office in an effort to fight gun violence in the city and county.

“Time and time again I was asked when are you going to do a gun buyback and so here we are,” Durham County Sheriff Clarence F. Birkhead said.

Based on reports from the Durham Police Department, there have been more than 180 shootings in the city so far this year compared to this same time last year.

“We can not accept homicides and shootings as the norm — and I know the Durham Police Department is committed to that and certainly the Durham County Sheriff’s Office,” Birkhead said.

He said there has been a demand from the community since he has been in office to make the streets safer and get guns out of the wrong hands.

This was the first time sheriff’s office initiated this type of event and it doesn’t go unnoticed by community members.

Many people turned in their guns Saturday for a number of reasons.

“My brother died and had two guns and I don’t like guns so I decided to get rid of them by selling them,” Thomas Brown said.

Cecelia Carroll was a victim of gun violence in the 1980s and said she has no reason to be afraid anymore.

“I was married. I was in a domestic violence situation in 1986 and my husband at that time one Saturday night he shot me,” Carroll said. “He is the reason I bought it. Because when I moved out of the house I had to keep myself safe but I no longer have to do that.”

Those who gave up their guns were rewarded based on the value of the gun.

“Long-gun is 100 bucks, handguns are 150 bucks and assault rifles are $200,” Birkhead said.

He also said with the guns being in law enforcement custody they are less likely to be stolen and used during a crime.

“This is a direct result of the community asking us to be proactive in getting guns off the streets and getting unsecured guns out of homes and out of vehicles because when those home invasions occur or those vehicles are broken into, a lot of guns are stolen,” Birkhead said.

Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity also attended the event to inform people about why they should dispose of the old weapons the right way.

“The last thing we need is for a gun that may be old but still deadly,” former law enforcement officer Sullivan McCurdy said.

Birkhead said depending on the number of weapons taken Saturday they may hold another event.

They’re also awaiting the process to petition the court for an order of destruction for some of the weapons purchased Saturday.