OPA-LOCKA, Fla. – The Opa-locka Police Department held its bi-annual Gun Buy Back program Saturday.
With the Newtown school massacre still fresh on many minds, officers collected over 100 guns in four hours. By comparison, 58 guns were collected in June.
The program's goal is to curtail growing levels of gun violence in the North Dade area by removing weapons off the streets and out of circulation.
"What we are trying to do is get as many weapons off of the road in particular during the holiday season," said Detective E.A. Crawford.
Officials said the city bought over $4,000 worth of guns, including six stolen weapons, at New Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church.
Twice a year for the past five years, Opa-locka police have purchased firearms anonymously from community residents - no questions asked - as part of the program.
The police department usually collects guns before the 4th of July and Christmas, when people tend to use their guns the most, police said.
"So what we do is you bring in a firearm, no questions asked, and we give you the money in exchange," said Crawford.
The Gun Buy Back program is dedicated to late Rev. Dr. Arthur Jackson, Jr. of New Shiloh Baptist Church, who originated the program in Miami-Dade County. Rev. Dr. D.L. Powell and New Shiloh Baptist Church joined the Opa-locka police for this year's program. Rev. L. B. Roundtree, Sr. and New Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church partnered with the city to provide a location for the program. Rev. Dr. L.T. Walthour II and St. Andrew Missionary Baptist Church have sponsored the Gun Buy Back project with the Opa-locka Police Department for the past five years.
The Opa-locka Police Department works in partnership with New Shiloh Baptist Church, St. Andrew Missionary Baptist Church, The Florida Highway Patrol, The Miami-Dade County Police Gun Bounty Program and other partnering agencies and businesses to offer the city's Gun Buy Back initiative, city officials said.