MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - It's been a tough few weeks in Minneapolis with multiple shootings. Many of them deadly. As part of efforts to make the community safer, a gun buyback rally took place Saturday. The event, sponsored by Pillsbury United Communities and the City of Minneapolis, was a huge success.
It's a street corner like far too many in Minneapolis where guns have been before, but never quite like this.
"I didn't want it anymore, and they gave me a heck of a lot more than a pawn shop or gun shop would have given me for it," a buyback participant said.
Andrew and dozens of others sold back their guns on Saturday all part of the first City of Minneapolis gun buy back in over 10 years.
"Us as a police department are doing no investigation into who is dropping off the guns. People come in, they drop the guns off and they leave," Officer Corey Schmidt said.
In return for dropping off their guns, sellers got a Visa gift card ranging in value from $25 to $300.
Most who came by were just hoping to get something for guns they rarely use. In return, Minneapolis Police is banking that taking unwanted guns off the street will help reduce gun violence.
"We are doing everything we can, finding new and inventive ways, working with our community to reduce crime," Officer Schmidt said.
The buyback, originally slated to last until 6:00 PM, was stopped early.. High demand exhausting funds as more than 150 guns were collected. The guns will now go to artists as part of a unique project police and activists hope will highlight the impact of gun violence.
“We actually get to have a conversation through art about guns and gun violence," Officer Corey Schmidt said.
The art project is being called Art Is My Weapon. Art installations featuring the guns collected should begin popping up in Minneapolis over the next few months.
For more information on how to contribute financially to support the buyback and also how you can participate as an artist at visit www.ArtIsMyWeapon.org.