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Austin police to host gun buyback program

Austin police are about to pay up to take guns off the streets.

Austin police are about to pay up to take guns off the streets.

On Wednesday the Highland Cove Apartments on Reinli Street were peaceful. Flowers bloomed where crime scene tape hung almost two months ago to the day.

Apartment manager Ana Maria Tejada remembers helping 54-year-old Samuel Jones move in. In late March, residents told us they heard shots fired. Several days later, police ruled Jones the sixth homicide victim of the year.

It was devastating to hear about it, said Tejada. He was a very quiet man, so it was like, 'Whoa.' It was surprising.

In hopes of reducing such violence, APD is offering cash for guns.

Firearms in the hands of irresponsible people are dangerous. Guns themselves aren't dangerous; it's the people in possession of them, said APD Chief Art Acevedo.

People can bring an unlimited amount of guns to the Austin Cornerstone Church at 1101 Reinli Street on Saturday June 5th from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Air guns,BB guns or replicas will earn you a $10 debit card. Handguns and rifles go for $100. Assault rifles will earn you $200.

Bring your unloaded weapons in a plastic or paper bag. Put your ammunition in another. No ID is needed and neither is an explanation.

Unless it's something that was obviously stolen from somewhere like an anti-tank weapon, no questions will be asked, said Acevedo.

Each gun will go through ballistics testing. If a weapon is connected to a crime, officers will open an investigation. All others will be destroyed.

Tejada hopes what ends up here will trace back to the murder of Samuel Jones.

That would be very good if we could find out anything about the gentleman, what happened to him, she said.

The Greater Austin Crime Commission has allotted between eight and ten thousand dollars for the program. The money comes from private donations.

APD may keep some guns if they have historical value. The department will soon open a museum at the training academy.