Bensalem Holds Gun Buyback Event Saturday

Police pay gun owners up to $200 for assault rifle

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC10 Philadelphia - Catherine Brown

    A Bucks County community held a gun buyback event Saturday as part of a plan to get firearms off the streets and reduce gun violence.

    Several dozen gun owners waited in line inside the Bensalem Township Municipal Building Saturday for the chance to exchange their unwanted, unneeded guns in exchange for cash.

    Township Public Safety Director Fred Harran told NBC10 that he received approval from the federal government to use $80,000 in recently confiscated drug money to buy back the firearms. On Saturday, authorites were paying up to $200 for assault rifles, Up to $100 for semi-automatic handguns, and up to $50 for handguns, non-assault rifles, and shotguns.

    "It's not Federal tax money," Harran said. "It's not local tax money, it's drug dealers' money, plain and simple."

    Saturday's buyback was the second held in Bensalem Township this month. Around 200 guns were turned in at the first event, according to Bensalem Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo.

    Gun buyback events, where citizens can surrender their firearms to police with no questions asked in exchange for a few dollars, have occurred more often in the wake of this past December's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., when a gunman killed 20 children and six teachers before turning the gun on himself.

    While many have praised such events for getting into the hands of law enforcement, some say the event is a waste of time.

    "A lot of people bring in their old junk guns so they can get the cash and then they go buy ammunition or invest in a high-quality gun," said Rob Pepe of Montgomery County. Bill Howell of Levittown was more succinct, saying "I'm gonna make room for two rifles.