Residents with unwanted firearms and ammunition can turn them over to the Austin Police Department on Tuesday during the first of a series of no-questions-asked gun surrender programs.
The point of the program is to prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands, Police Chief Brian Manley said – not to identify people turning them in.
"We merely want to get weapons that are no longer wanted off the streets, out of the homes, and destroyed,” he said.
Manley said similar programs in the past have been successful.
Manley noted a recent gun study released by APD that showed the number of stolen or lost firearms jumped from 766 in 2017 to 967 in 2018. About half the guns lost or stolen in 2018 were taken from a vehicle. He advised gun owners not to leave guns in cars.
"We have been talking in Austin for a while now about the increase we're seeing in both violent crime, as well as the use of firearms in those violent crimes," he said. "It is far too easy for someone to break into a vehicle; it only takes a few seconds. And if you've left a firearm accessible, the likelihood that [the] firearm ends up in the wrong hands is high."
Residents can drop off guns and ammunition from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Robert T. Martinez substation at 812 Springdale Rd. People are asked not to bring any guns into the station; Manley said officers would retrieve unloaded weapons from vehicles. He asked anyone walking to the substation to carry their guns in a bag.
The program will be offered on four other days:
- April 28, 2020
- July 28, 2020
- Oct. 27, 2020
- Jan. 26, 2021