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Gun buy back aims to get guns off the street

5:33 PM, Jan 11, 2014   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- James Young walked to table at the Evangel Temple Assembly of God with an antique gun in his hand. 

He handed his gun over to a member of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, and and he go $50 in return.  

JSO says getting guns off the street before they get stolen and used in a crime is critical. That's why it hosted its third gun buy-back today at a church on the Westside.

For Young, a Northside resident, today was about stopping Jacksonville crime. 

"A lot of it is gun related and if the guns are off the streets, we wouldn't have the crimes," Young said.

So far in 2014 Jacksonville has seen 6 murders.

Five out of this year's six took place on the Westside.

"We have a violence problem that we are trying to get ahead," said JSO's Mike Williams, director of Investigations for Homeland Security. 

For the second year in a row, the number of homicides has increased in Jacksonville, jumping from 108 in 2013 to 115. 

Its the highest number since 2008 when 144 people were killed. 

Of the 2013 homicides, 94 were ruled murders.

Now JSO is doing anything it can to prevent future murders. And it says the more guns off the street, the better. 

"These people don't want their guns in their home so these guns are then left in a truck, left in the garage and then potentially stolen and those guns then become crime guns," Williams said. 

Anyone who turned in a gun, new or old, got $50 on Saturday. 

Officers search for serial numbers for guns that have been stolen, and then melt them.

James is returning his gun because he wants it out of the house. 

He's hoping the program triggers others to hand over their firearms to police.

"I think, whatever they do, dispose of it, for someone that has it and shouldn't and in the end, they probably don't need it," 

Saturday's buyback brought in over 800 guns, bringing the total guns collected during the three buybacks to 2000. 

First Coast News

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