Cedar Rapids Police Looking To Launch Gun Buyback Program

By Lee Hermiston, Reporter

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By Richard Pratt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Gun-related incidents increased by nearly 50 percent in Cedar Rapids in 2012.

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman said incidents involving guns where someone was shot or shot at or officers found evidence of shots fired went from 44 in 2011 to 64 in 2012. Jerman is determined not to see that number continue to rise in 2013.

“Basically, my number one priority for this year is to reduce the gun-related violence,” Jerman said Friday.

With that in mind, on Monday, the department will begin to solicit donations from businesses to support a gun buyback program. Jerman hopes to host the buyback by the end of the summer.

Jerman informed the city council in February of his intentions to host the buyback this spring. The event got pushed back and Jerman now says he hopes it will take place in the next four to six weeks.

The measure drew mixed results from the city council.

“No bad guy is going to turn in a gun,” City Council member Don Karr said at the time.

Jerman said this is just one of several approaches to lowering gun-related violence in the city.

“One of my strategies to address the gun-related violence is the buyback program,” he said. “The thought being you take on or more guns off the streets and those guns will not be involved in gun-related violence in Cedar Rapids.”

People participating in the buyback program will be able to do so anonymously, if they choose, Jerman said.

Jerman said they hope to obtain cash or gift cards from participating businesses.

The intention is to destroy any weapons that are obtained in the buyback, Jerman said.
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