Miami Police will be handing over gift certificates for guns in a 3-day buyback program announced Monday.
Residents will be able to turn in firearms both legal and illegal -- no questions asked -- at Model City NET on January 19, Overtown NET January 26, and Little Havana NET on February 2.
"We have been able as of today to get about $10,000 in grocery gift cards that we will be using in these gun buybacks," said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. "We just hope that if we can get a weapon that could be used by an irresponsible person -- not even a criminal, like the kid that shot the little girl in the bus in Homestead -- that we will be able to save some lives."
Police Chief Manuel Orosa said officials were still figuring exact amounts to be given in exchange for weapons, but residents turning in handguns would likely walk away with around $50 in gift certificates for a handgun.
"And if somebody brings in an AK-47, an assault weapon, probably we can raise those figures up a little more for those kinds of weapons," he added.
A similar program held in Opa-Locka last month, just weeks after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, saw the highest turnout in the program's 5-year history.
Rev. Jerome Starling, whose Jordan Grove Baptist Church is hosting the first Miami buyback, urged residents to hand over high-powere weapons while invoking the name of Rickia Isaac, a 5-year-old girl killed by a stray bullet while walking home from the 1997 Martin Luther King Day parade.
"We don't need AK-47s, Uzis, Mack-10s," Starling declared. "We don't need these type of guns in our community. This community has to stand up and say, 'Listen, we're going be willing to turn our guns in because we are sick and tired of our loved ones being lost like this.'"
Weapons will be collected in exchange for gift certificates at the following locations:
Saturday, January 19: Model City NET (Jordan Grove Baptist Church, 5946 N.W. 12 Ave.) from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 26: Overtown NET (St. John Baptist Church, 1328 N.W. 3 Ave.) from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 2: Little Havana NET (San Juan Bosco Church, 1301 W. Flagler St.) from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
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