PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — There was an overwhelming response to a gun buyback event in Peoria this weekend.
“We had people flowing in from the fellowship hall, through our other door, I mean we had people coming from every direction,” said Susan Turner, a trustee at First Baptist Church of Peoria.
On Saturday, the Peoria Police Department collected 92 guns during its buyback event. In exchange, gun owners received a total of $17,600 in gift cards. 25-30 weapons were traded-in at First Baptist Church.
Turner continued, “Some of them wanted it for the money with the holidays coming up and some of them just wanted them off the street.”
The large number of gun owners that showed up led to the buyback ending nearly four hours early because the money ran out.
“People were still coming in afterward, we finally had to lock the doors,” Turner said.
Among the weapons collected were handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The police department also received two weapons they especially wanted to keep out of the wrong hands.
“The ghost gun, the AR-15, any weapon we take off the street that’s potentially hazardous to the public and hazardous to police officers,” said James Chiola, Special Investigations Division Lieutenant with Peoria Police Department
Those involved with the buyback say the community’s response is encouraging.
“It’s showing that people are willing to turn in firearms so they don’t fall into the wrong hands,” Chiola said.
“To see that so many in the community want to see the city safer. It’s fantastic, really,” Turner said.
The buyback was funded primarily by a private donor and the police department is working on having another buyback in the near future.
The guns collected will also be checked to make sure they weren’t used in a crime and then destroyed.