Hillsborough gun buyback nets long lines & thousands of weapons - WFLA News Channel 8

Hillsborough gun buyback nets long lines and thousands of weapons

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© This homemade flute gun was among the 2541 firearms turned in today at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Gun Swap © This homemade flute gun was among the 2541 firearms turned in today at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Gun Swap
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Hundreds of people waited in long lines Saturday to unload their unwanted weapons. By the end of Operation Gun Swap, 2,541 firearms were collected including two rocket launchers.

"We knew we'd get our run of the mill handguns, revolvers, shotguns, rifles," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Capt. Chad Chronister. "We never imagined we'd get two rocket launchers."

The guns were exchanged for $75 cash and two free tickets to Lightning and Rays games. By noon, the Sheriff's Office ran out of the incentives. About 1,500 vouchers were given out instead.

"We knew in light of the recent tragedy in Newtown that it would be popular," said Chronister. "We never even imagined that it would be as overwhelmingly successful as it was."

Joseph Pimenta came to one of the five designated drop off locations to turn in a gun he inherited when his friend passed away.

"It hurts me to see kids getting killed needlessly, you know, and so that's why I turned the weapon in," said Pimenta. Not all of the guns dropped off were in working order.

"I'm turning it in because I tried to sell it," said Chuck Bowser. "I couldn't sell it because it doesn't work anymore."

Chronister said they accepted guns in all conditions, no questions asked.

The serial numbers will be run on all of the guns see if they are in the stolen database. Deputies already determined Saturday 11 of the guns were previously reported stolen. They will be returned to their owners. The rest of the guns will be destroyed.

Anyone who received a voucher can cash it in next Saturday from 9 AM- 2 PM at the same location where they dropped off their guns Saturday. Anyone with questions can contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8115.

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