SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – An upcoming gun buyback event in Spartanburg is what the city is calling, a way to address gun violence from a Spartanburg perspective.

“I think it’s important right now because we are living in a time where we hear a lot about gun violence and we as a local municipality aren’t able to do much around guns and gun control, but this is one thing we can do for a certain group of people,” said Meghan Smith, Spartanburg City Council.

This comes as Spartanburg Police Department said gun thefts are increasing nationally, and here in the city.

“Thus far this year we’ve already had over 40 guns stolen from or taken with vehicles that were taken and this is putting guns out of the hands of folks who are suicidal or kids playing and accidentally shooting someone or you have people who will get the guns and use them for some kind of criminal means,” said Chief Alonzo Thompson, Spartanburg Police.

Gun serial numbers will be checked to ensure they’re not stolen, and any stolen guns will be given back to the rightful owner. Participants will receive $100 in VISA gift cards for handguns or long guns and $150 for high-powered weapons. The city said the money is coming from the city’s budget and businesses and community members who volunteered to donate.

“Yes, it is tax dollars that are being spent and that’s okay because we spend our tax dollars every day on keeping our community safe,” said Smith.

Identification is not required for anyone participating in the event.

“We’re in the life saving business so anything we can do to save lives and reduce pain and suffering that’s what we’re going to do,” said Thompson.

Moving forward the city said they hope to continue hosting gun buyback events and receiving financial contributions to increase incentives, in hopes to increase effectiveness.

“We are not anti-second amendment but we are for responsible gun ownership,” said Thompson. “For those who do not want to have possession of those firearms in their homes we will be happy to take them.” 

The drive-through event will be at Spartanburg City Hall from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. this Saturday.

Non-functioning weapons and unwanted ammunition will also be accepted for safe disposal but will not be traded for gift cards in return.