Provo buying guns off the street

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    By RODNEY ZWAHLEN

    Provo City wants more guns.

    That’s right–as a follow-up to Saturday’s opening gun buyback, city police leaders want to get more guns out of the hands of those who don’t want them anymore.

    The second buyback will be held Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Eldred Center, 270 W. 500 North in Provo.

    Alan Payne, public relations specialist for the Provo Police Department, said the department was pleased with the number of guns-53-received on Saturday.

    “It was very successful,” he said. “We were surprised at that number because it doubles the number we usually destroy each year.”

    Payne said the police department expects an even larger turnout on Thursday.

    “We’re kind of anticipating it because a lot of people found out about it in the press this weekend,” he said.

    Payne said Police Chief Greg Cooper will appear on The Doug Wright Show, KSL 1160 on Wednesday at 1p.m. to further publicize the buyback.

    The buyback, which is co-sponsored by the Provo Police Department and the Provo Housing Authority, is being funded by Housing and Urban Development. The city received $21,662 from HUD, $15,148 of which came from Drug Elimination Grant funding.

    This is not an inner-city gun buyback atmosphere.

    According to a survey taken by residents who brought in guns, over 46 percent said they did so for safety reasons. Almost 40 percent said they simply no longer used their guns.

    Most of the guns brought in Saturday were cheap handguns and sporting rifles, Payne said.

    “Most of the people who brought them in said, ‘We just want our house to be safe,'” Payne said.

    Eighty-six percent of residents brought in one gun.

    “It shows that who we are targeting is appropriate-those who just don’t want them anymore,” Payne said. “Many people don’t know how to get rid of them.”

    The buyback is an outreach of the newly formed Community Oriented Policing Program, whose goal, according to the Provo City web site, is for residents to work together with the police to form a safer community.

    “(Provo Police) Chief Cooper is very community-oriented and he is very keen on preventing any accidents from happening,” Payne said. “He’s very keen on not being on CNN.”

    To encourage residents to hand over even illegal guns, the police department is not requiring identification at the buyback.

    Residents receive a $50 gift certificate to Provo Towne Centre for each weapon they bring in.

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