Courtesy of EPD
Firearms seized at the scene of a methamphetamine bust last year.
The Eureka Police Department took almost 50 guns off the streets last weekend in a two-day buy back program that gave people a chance to surrender their firearms, no questions asked.
Capt. Steve Watson said a total of 48 guns — 26 handguns, 12 shotguns and 10 rifles — were turned in during the event, which EPD is thinking about replicating in the future. Watson said he’ll be briefing the Eureka City Council on the program at Tuesday’s meeting.
The proactive approach to getting guns off Eureka’s streets comes as EPD is encountering firearms at a staggering rate. As a Journal cover story
last year revealed, EPD was seizing about six guns per 1,000 city residents, a rate dwarfing those of more violent cities like Chicago, Oakland or Baltimore.
Last weekend’s buy-back program — which saw the department hand out more than $1,500 in gift cards to a couple of dozen people in exchange for their firearms — was designed to combat that, and help get guns off the street. No public funds were spent in the buy back, Watson said, as the gift cards were made possible by a $1,000 donation from Redwood Capital Bank, $500 from the Southwest Rotary of Eureka and a few hundred dollars from the Eureka Neighborhood Watch group.
The buy-back also came on the heels of EPD’s Project Safe Eureka Expo, a two-day event designed to promote gun safety and security at the Bayshore Mall. As also reported on our “Strapped
” cover story last year, Eureka sees a very high rate of firearm thefts, which EPD Chief Andy Mills believes contributes greatly to the high rates at which his officers encounter guns in the hands of people who can’t legally possess them.
For more on the buy back, tune in to Tuesday’s Eureka City Council meeting, which will conclude with Watson’s presentation.