The second of three recently scheduled Miami gun buyback events was held at an Overtown church Saturday -- with people turning everything from handguns to shotguns to assault rifles.
Seventy-nine firearms were obtained during the four-hour buyback at St. John Baptist Church at 1328 NW Third Ave., police said. An AK-47 assault rifle that was turned in was among the weapons that officers were glad to see off the streets, police Sgt. Freddie Cruz said.
“Here we have a perfect example of what we need to get off the streets: It's a sawed-off AK-47 with a 40-round clip,” Cruz said.
“Now this is 40 rounds that can take 40 lives in less than a minute, and when they run out of ammo, they have a bayonet over here that can penetrate two people at a time,” he said.
Miami police say guns that are turned in are destroyed.
Anyone who dropped off a weapon got their choice of gift certificates to Winn-Dixie supermarkets or Walmart, courtesy of Dade Medical College. But police were handing out a different item to those who brought in assault rifles: Two premium 100-level Miami Heat tickets for a weekend game in the month of March, police said.
No questions are asked about the firearms, even if they were used in a crime, police said.
“If we start asking questions, people will not come and they won't trust us,” police Chief Manuel Orosa said.
An assault rifle turned in by Cecilia Cooper and Ronnie Dumas got them the tickets to a Heat game.
“My uncle passed away, and he left a rifle in the house and we found it,” Cooper said. “So we just wanted to get it off the streets and out the house, too.”
A sawed-off shotgun was turned in at the event after an 8-year-old boy reportedly found it outside his Little Havana elementary school and gave it to his father.
Saturday’s event in Miami follows a buyback held at Jordan Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City on Jan. 19, when a record total of 130 guns were turned in. A buyback in Opa-locka on Dec. 22 also resulted in more than 100 collected weapons.
Miami's buyback program has been a joint effort by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, police Chief Manuel Orosa, the Rickia Issac Foundation, local churches and businesses, officials say.
The third Miami buyback is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday, Feb. 2, at San Juan Bosco Church at 1301 W. Flagler St. in Little Havana.