City police end gun buyback early after expending funds

More than 1,700 weapons collected after six days

$146,400 paid out

Metro

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June 08, 2005|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

After gathering more than 1,700 guns, including 32 assault weapons, city police announced yesterday that they had ended their gun buyback campaign after six days. "What I see here is community support," said Baltimore Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm, speaking during a news conference in a room where many weapons were displayed. "The participation from the community was absolutely incredible."

During the anonymous turn-in program started last week, police dispersed $146,400 to people who turned in weapons, officials said. They stopped because they had spent all of their allotted funding, which was money seized from drug dealers. The program was scheduled to run through June 15.

Mayor Martin O'Malley had criticized such programs when he took office in 2000, but he said last week that he supported Hamm's effort as part of a broader plan to build relationships with communities.

The guns will be tested to see whether they can be tied to any crimes, police officials said, although officers will not know who turned in the weapons. After the tests, the guns will be destroyed.

Some of the 1,712 guns were on display yesterday, including American and British rifles from World War I and World War II, as well as a 1903 Springfield rifle.

Police said they also received an 1880s Remington Derringer, which is palm-sized. Two elderly women turned in assault rifles owned by their husbands, police said.

Officials promoted the program as a way to get weapons off the street so they can't fall into the hands of criminals or children.

"People don't have a place to get rid of guns," said Maj. Michael Tabor.

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