College Park, Ga. - The City of College Park spent $20,000 Saturday to buy and destroy several hundred guns in a buyback program. Hundreds of people lined up for hours to wait. Some said they came out for the cash, others to send a message.
"I don't really care what your motivation is," said College Park Police Chief Ronald Fears. "But I think one less gun in the home the better."
There was also a perfect example of the free market in action. About a dozen gun collectors showed up to work the long line to try to buy guns before the city did-often for a higher price.
"We're coming down here to make sure that some nice antiques don't get destroyed," Frank Poole of Franklin County said. "I've seen guns come through here today that were 150 years old and some that were brand new."
A private sale on the sidewalk is a perfectly legal transaction in Georgia, no background checks required. Poole said in most cases he couldn't understand why people would give up their only mode of personal protection, but he said he did respect their motivation.
"One of the gentlemen I talked to today said, 'I'm bringing this because I've got a child in the house and I don't want him to injure himself,' You can't argue with that, that's just being practical," Poole said.
With more than 300 million guns in the US, Chief Fears said it will take more than a few buybacks to make an impact. But he said different approaches should be on the table.
"I don't think taking the guns in gun buybacks is the only answer, I think there are a lot of things you'll have to do to make the homes safer, to make the streets safer," Fears said.
"But this is a start-this is a step in the right direction."