City, County join in Gun BuyBack program

HOUSTON – As part of his One Safe Houston initiative, Mayor Sylvester Turner is holding a Gun Buyback program to reduce the number of guns on our streets. The City – County Partnership will reduce the number of Unwanted Guns on our streets.

To make Houston’s homes and streets safer and free from violence, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Office and Police Chief Troy Finner announce a gun buyback program that will take place July 30. With no questions asked, residents can turn in firearms in exchange for gift cards in the amount of $50, $100, $150 and $200 – depending on the type of gun. It’s part of a coordinated effort to reduce violent crimes.

The event, in partnership with Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis, the Houston Police Department, and Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, will take place from 8 a.m. – noon on Saturday, July 30, at 3826 Wheeler Ave.

Gift Cards will be available as follows:

$50 Gift Card for nonfunctioning firearm

$100 Gift Card for rifles or shotguns

$150 Gift Card for handgun

$200 Gift Card for an automatic rifle

The no-questions-asked Gun Buyback program is open to all members of the public. People should unload the firearm before arriving at the collection site and place it in the trunk or the rear of their vehicle. HPD personnel will remove the gun from the vehicle and ensure the firearm is unloaded and rendered safe. Once the weapon is collected, the person donating will receive a receipt to exchange for a gift card.

One Safe Houston is a $53 million investment aimed at crime reduction. The comprehensive violence reduction initiatives link research-based strategies to improve public safety and reduce the harms caused by violent crime.

The initiative focuses on four (4) key areas:

–Violence Reduction and Crime Prevention

–Crisis Intervention, Response and Recovery

–Youth Outreach Opportunities

–Key Community Partnerships

Mayor Turner, Commissioner Ellis, and event partners will announce additional Gun Buyback program details on Monday, July 18.

“We can’t solve the gun violence epidemic overnight, but we can take action right-now by removing guns from the streets,” Commissioner Ellis said. “Gun buyback programs create an incentive for residents to turn in their firearms. I would argue there are two incentives: one is a gift card, the other is creating a safer community.”

Said Mayor Turner: “The Gun Buyback program is part of my One Safe Houston initiative. Our goal is to get unwanted guns off the streets to prevent their use in a crime or an accidental shooting. I thank Commissioner Ellis, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and the Houston Police Department for the partnership. But we cannot have a successful event without the public participating in making our streets safer.”

With no questions asked, residents will be able to receive a $50 gift card for every nonfunctioning gun, $100 for a rifle, $150 for a handgun and $200 for an assault rifle. All firearms must be unloaded and in the vehicle’s trunk.

This program is part of a broader strategy recently implemented by Harris County to get at the root causes of crime. The County’s Violence Interruption Program works with trusted and trained community messengers to de-escalate local conflicts, provide pathways out of gangs, and provide resources and support in terms of jobs, substance use, health and education.

The County’s Holistic Assistance Response Team (HART) sends trained first responders to assist people struggling with issues related to mental health, substance use, or homelessness so they can receive help they need. This also eases the burden on law enforcement by allowing them to focus on serious violent crimes.

“We need your help to spread the word about this initiative,” Commissioner Ellis said. “Other cities have removed hundreds of unwanted firearms, eliminating the chance of these weapons cycling through illegal networks or being discovered by a curious child or teenager at someone’s home.”