COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – They asked and the public responded. That’s what Columbus Police are saying after buying almost 100 guns Monday during the department’s inaugural gun buyback program.
Now, city officials are trying to decide whether they want to allocate more money for the program. City taxpayers provided the initial $10,000 for Monday’s purchases. The program was supposed to run three days but police ran out of cash in three hours.
“You got shotguns and rifles and stuff like that in the house, and you don’t know what to do with it, you’re already kind of a vulnerable target when it comes to house burglaries. It’s a good to get those out of the house,” said Crime Lab Director Austin Shepherd.
But the work for police has just begun. Now officers must catalogue and records-check each of the weapons. A variety of documents must be filled out and recorded before the guns can be destroyed.
“We create a receipt, a registration number which is then attached to that gun. The guns themselves, their serial numbers are searched through NCIC,” added Shepherd.
None of these guns will ever be fired again. Once the proper paperwork is filed, each one of them will be destroyed. Some guns collected weren’t too common.
“I was honestly surprised by the muzzleloader, I wasn’t expecting to see guns based on the 1770’s era, you know to show up,” said Shepherd.
All guns collected, even the historic ones, will be melted down. Columbus police would like to continue the program. They are hoping that philanthropists or religious organizations will pitch in the next time so the city doesn’t have to dip deeper into its resources.