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Gun buyback on the chopping block

Police took guns off the streets of Jacksonville Saturday as part of their gun buyback event in Arlington. (Brittany Jones)
Police took guns off the streets of Jacksonville Saturday as part of their gun buyback event in Arlington. (Brittany Jones)
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Updated: 1/10 6:36 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says Saturday's gun buyback event at the Evangel Temple Assembly of God will be the last one scheduled, unless it can secure more funding.

The JSO has already recovered more than 1,000 firearms since it started its gun buyback program in June 2013.

For responsible gun owner Dan Maloney, the events puts him a little more at ease.

"Older people like myself may have two or three guns they don't use anymore and just sitting back in the closet and don't want to get rid of them. But if someone broke in and stole them, they could be a potential hazard," said Maloney.

According to Director Mike Williams of the JSO, of 1,221 firearms recovered, 22 were stolen weapons.

"We have one that we recovered that was stolen in 1972, it's been out there a long time," said Williams.

Tomorrow's event will be funded by the Delores Barr Weaver Fund but after that the popular program will be on the chopping block.

At the JSO's most recent gun buyback held in October, the agency recovered 682 guns. It paid $50 for each firearm, that's $34,100 which is roughly how much the JSO would need to hold another event. Because no taxpayer money is used, the JSO depends on community based foundations to donate the money.

According to Williams, aside from preventing the guns from getting into the wrong hands, the program also serves a greater purpose.

"It does keep that conversation going about gun crime and violence in the community. We have a violence problem in Jacksonville so anything we do to keep that conversation going is a good thing for us," said Williams.

The gun buyback will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Evangel Temple Assembly of God on 5755 Ramona Blvd. The JSO asks that you make sure your gun is unloaded and stored in the trunk when you arrive.

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