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Update: Arlington leader pleased with initial gun-buyback effort

Planning already is in the works for a second event
Some of the weapons turned in during a June 8, 2024, gun-buyback effort sponsored by the Arlington County government.

[Update, 6/14/24:]

Updated to correct source of funding for gift cards given out to those who turned in weapons.

[Original coverage, 6/11/24:]

The Arlington government’s inaugural gun-buyback effort drew enough community interest that the government ran out of gift cards for those turning in weapons and shut down operations several hours early.

While that meant that not everyone was able to be accommodated, county leaders said it was a positive debut.

“I am very pleased to see that our first event was so successful – in fact, well beyond expectations,” said County Board Vice Chairman Takis Karantonis.

He called it a “leap forward” in gun safety and dealing with the issue of unwanted weapons in the community.

The event was held June 8 at Arlington Assembly of God church. Initially designed to run from 8 a.m. to noon, the event offered gift cards in exchange for weapons. Those turning in weapons received gift cards worth $150 for rifles, $200 for handguns/shotguns and $250 for assault-style weapons.

County officials quickly ran out of gift cards because of the number of weapons turned in. The event did stay in operation a little while longer, accepting weapons from those interested in turning them in without receiving compensation. At 9:30 a.m., operations ceased.

While proclaiming it a good start, “t success also gives me pause, because it revealed just how many residents do have firearms in their possession that they are willing to dispose of,” Karantonis said. “The number of residents from Arlington and Falls Church who took advantage of this opportunity is indicative of how much more we need to do to accommodate this demand.”

The $20,000 in funding was raised through donations facilitated by the Arlington Community Foundation. The proposal had been brought to county officials by the office of commonwealth’s attorney and the advocacy group Moms Demand Action.

Planning has begun for a second event, with details to be announced later.