The Grand Rapids Police Department says it is proposing a gun buyback program as a way to address a string of shootings throughout the summer.
Police Chief Eric Payne will ask the City Commission on Tuesday for funding from the Safe Alliances for Everyone Task Force. If the proposal is approved by city commissioners, $20,000 would go towards the program and the promotion of it.
“This program will help us get illegal guns off the street and provide community members who no longer want to have legal firearms in their home a place to safely dispose of them,” Payne said in a news release Friday.
The department announced the proposal Friday afternoon, just a couple of hours before a shooting killed one and critically injured another. This was the 23rd homicide of the year, surpassing previous years.
Grand Rapids Police Sgt. Dan Adams was asked about the buyback program at the scene of Friday's fatal shooting.
"I think that a gun buyback program is one tool that obviously the department and the city is looking into and moving forward with to try to affect this violence. It is completely unacceptable for the city," he said.
Grand Rapids Police said as of June there have been 474 "gunfire incidents" this year, which includes any time a gun is believed to have been discharged. There were 871 incidents in 2019.
The amount offered for each gun would depend on the firearm. In other communities that have offered these programs, it ranges from $50 to $200.
The program will be discussed during the city's fiscal committee meeting on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. and its city commission meeting at 7 p.m.
A gun buyback program has been brought up by city leaders in the past and received varying support.
Last month, community members, who have repeatedly called on the city to try different approaches to resolving ongoing gun violence, launched an effort to raise money for an anti-violence model called Cure Violence. GRPD said earlier this week that the Cure Violence model, or something similar, will also be part of its approach.
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