DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — People in Durham County on Saturday traded in guns for cash.
The Durham County Sheriff’s Office hosted its second gun buyback program of the year at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church and Durham County Stadium.
Saturday’s effort collected more than three times the firearms compared to the April gun buyback program also hosted by the sheriff’s office.
There were 295 guns handed in. A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said money ran out and people were turned away.
People traded in long guns for $100 each, handguns for $150, and assault-style rifles for $200.
“This is all about encouraging gun safety and really getting guns out of the hands of those individuals who want to voluntarily surrender them to us so they will not end up on our streets,” said Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead. “This initiative is all about trying to save as many lives as possible from gun violence, and trying to curb some of the shootings that have occurred in Durham.”
A National Bureau of Economic Research study looked at gun buyback programs across the country and the FBI’s National Incident Based Report System and found no evidence that gun buyback programs reduce crime.
CBS 17 asked Birkhead if the buyback program is the best way to use resources given the study’s findings.
“At this stage of the game with the number of shootings that we’ve had throughout Durham city and Durham County, we should try anything,” Birkhead said.
He said it’s an opportunity for the community and law enforcement to do their part and turn in guns that are no longer desired — so they don’t end up on the street.
Birkhead said the department set aside $35,000 for Saturday’s event, he said $5,000 was a donation from someone. He said the rest is taken out of the sheriff’s office budget.
James Forman turned in his 9mm that he’s owned for nine years.
“I’m always having problems with it when I take it to the range, so I might as well get rid of it if I can’t shoot it,” Forman said.
Gunsmith Sheridan Halfacre built eight “ghost guns” he was attempting to sell back. Ghost guns are homemade firearms that don’t have a commercially applied serial number.
“I’ve test-fired them, it was a proof of concept, it worked, I don’t need them anymore,” Halfacre said.
Birkhead said all guns need to have serial numbers on them and be in working condition. The department runs the serial numbers to see if the gun was stolen or used to commit a crime.
According to the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, out of the 94 guns turned in at the April event, 25 percent were used in crimes, 18 percent were stolen, 7 percent were returned to an original owner for reasons such as being lost, and 50 percent were destroyed.
The sheriff’s office will request an order from a judge allowing Saturday’s guns to be destroyed.