HONOLULU (KHON2) — It’s been about two decades since the state has run a gun buy back program on Oahu.
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On Saturday, the state opened two locations for people to dispose of their firearms, no questions asked. One was at the state health department parking lot on Punchbowl, and the other was at DOT Waianae Corporate Baseyard.
Both locations were set to open at 10 a.m., but had to open early due to the number of cars waiting to drop off firearms.
A long line formed around Kinau Hale and traffic started to slow on Punchbowl right around 10 a.m. on Saturday as car after car rolled through and officers asked what kind of guns they were disposing off.
No other questions were asked.
“I got two riffles, a shot gun and a hand gun,” said one Honolulu resident. “I wrapped them in trash bags because they’re rusted and the handgun has registration, but the owner is my uncle and he passed away so I don’t really need it.”
Many people weren’t expecting such a big turnout.
“I’m surprised, I even came early, and I had to park illegally behind some sheriffs but they let me park over there and then they opened up early,” said Dave who dropped off an old firearm.
The turnout in town was mostly kupuna who told KHON2 they didn’t want their grandkids getting their hands on the guns. There was an 80-year-old man who disposed of six firearms because he said he didn’t want to burden his family with the guns when he passed away.
Others didn’t want extra guns they don’t use anymore getting into the wrong hands.
“I’m bringing it in for peace of mind, I don’t like to worry about someone breaking into my house and do something with it,” said one resident.
“We’ve been holding on to our guns for over 40 years,” said Oahu resident Ken Madison. “We don’t use them anymore, we don’t shoot them anymore so we heard about this event and figured we might as well do our duty.”
No identification is required, and no questions other than the type of gun being dropped off is asked.
People received either a $100 or $200 gift card depending on the type of firearm being brought in.
Any one person could bring in as many guns as possible but was limited to receiving the maximum of three gift card. Automatics, semi automatics and ghost guns would receive the highest amount in terms of gift cards.
At the Waianae location, officials said a sawed off shot gun was turned in.
in west oahu a sawed off shot gun was turned in
“What we’re really trying to do is prevent a firearm from being used in an accidental shooting, a suicide or any kind of gun violence and if we can take one firearm off the streets, that’s a positive thing we’re trying to do,” explained Jordan Lowe, Director for the Department of Law Enforcement.
He said gun violence is becoming a daily occurrence.
“We always felt Hawaii might be immune to gun violence because we have so much aloha but as you can see, it’s here, and its unfortunate but it’s our responsibility to stem the problem and we cant do it alone,” Lowe said.
All guns turned in on Saturday were checked to see if they were stolen.
“If they are in fact stolen, we’re going to try and get them back to the owner, otherwise they will be disposed of,” he added.
He said the event went well and they hope to do another buy back program in early 2024 which will include neighbor islands too.