GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – After dozens of guns were stolen in the City of Green Bay last year, police are taking a new approach to get unwanted or illegal guns off the street.
Through a new program, called Goods for Guns, you could get paid for turning in those kinds of guns, with no questions asked.
We don’t hear about it often, but Green Bay Police say dozens of guns are stolen every year, mostly from residential areas.
In 2015, 60 guns were reported stolen.
In 2014, nearly half that number, 33, were taken.
The year before, 80 were reported stolen.
So far this year, that number stands at 35.
In most cases, police say they were snatched in crimes of opportunities from people’s homes.
But it was a spike in violent crime involving guns in the spring that pushed police to search for a solution.
“What can we do to reduce that number? What can we do for the community, for that person who has the illegal gun? What can we do for that person who has a gun from their grandparents from the war that there’s really no reason for them to keep that?” says Green Bay Police Captain Kevin Warych.
The answer is Goods for Guns.
This Saturday, December 3rd, police will collect unwanted or illegal guns, no questions asked, in the Sam’s Club parking lot off West Mason Street in Green Bay.
In exchange, the person receives up to a $50 gift card, paid for from a $2,000 grant from the Brown County Crime Prevention Foundation.
“This whole program is designed about safety, about community safety, about removing these guns off the street,” explains Warych.
If the guns are stolen, police will return them to their owners.
They’ll dispose of the rest.
The police chief says a similar program was successful in Los Angeles, but it’s never been tried around here.
They hope the anonymity of the program will encourage people to participate.
“We are big supporters of the second amendment. We’re not here to take people’s guns away. That’s not the point of the initiative. The whole point is for the people in the community, that they can turn in an illegal gun or an unwanted gun with no questions asked,” says Warych. “We want those illegal guns, those guns that people don’t want. And we really want to take guns off the street.”
The buyback program will take place in the parking lot of Sam’s Club, 2470 W. Mason St., on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Guns must be unloaded and wrapped in a bag or case. People are encouraged to keep their firearms in the trunk of their vehicle and pull up to the GBPD Command Post. Officers will remove the firearms from the trunk and give you the gift card.
Police will also hand out free gun locks.