Dembowski thanks Sheriff’s Department for successful Gift Cards for Guns event

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Gun buyback held in Burien April 1
Photo courtesy KCSO
On Saturday, April 1, 2023 the King County Sheriff’s Office hosted the first Gift Cards for Guns event following legislation and funding passed by the King County Council aimed at reducing gun violence. 

The program enables people to turn in unwanted firearms voluntarily and safely in exchange for gift cards worth up to $300. In total, 287 firearms were turned in Saturday, with deputies handing out gift cards totaling $36,525.

King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski worked to include $100,000 in the 2023-2024 King County budget to fund the program and applauded the success of the first event.

“Residents told our deputies over and over how much they appreciated the opportunity to safely and securely dispose of their unwanted firearms without any concern about how the guns might be used in the future if they were sold in the private market,” Dembowski said. 

“I appreciate the professionalism and service to our community from the Sheriff’s department and their team who ran this program, and value their work using a range of law enforcement strategies to keep our communities safe.”

Studies have repeatedly shown that guns in homes are more likely to lead to accidental shootings, assaults, or suicide attempts than to be used effectively in self-defense.

“Voluntary buyback programs can be effective at lessening that risk,” Dembowski said. “While other public safety strategies are meant to address guns used in crime, this particular strategy is about safety at home and reducing the risk of firearms injuries and deaths.”

"Our communities in King County, like communities around the country, have experienced a painful spike in gun violence since the start of the pandemic,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “We know that it will take a comprehensive, public health response to address this urgent crisis. Offering residents a safe, consistent option for returning unwanted firearms and ammunition is an important part of that public health approach."

Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall was also proud of the work at Saturday’s event.
“As your Sheriff, I am committed to doing everything I can to reduce gun violence in King County,” Cole-Tindall said. “The Gift Cards for Guns program is an important step in making our communities safer through a simple, voluntary process. I’m proud to support it.”

The breakdown of types of guns turned in was:
  • 11 AR-15/AK-47
  • 68 Pistols
  • 46 Revolvers
  • 70 Shotguns
  • 75 Rifles (not AR-15)
  • 8 Muzzle loading
  • 7 Antiques
  • 2 Other
Residents wishing to turn in a firearm who were unable to make it to the buyback event can call the King County Sheriff to schedule an appointment to voluntarily turn over a firearm. A second event is being planned for later this year.

Rod Dembowski represents the cities of north King county on the King County Council.


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