Township to offer gun buyback program
By Kevin Elliott
In an effort to keep dangerous firearms off the streets, Bloomfield Township will be participating in the Oakland County Gun Buyback Pilot Program on Saturday, October 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Auburn Hills Police Department.
Bloomfield Township Police Chief James Gallagher said he met with several other law enforcement agencies after learning about the program from Bloomfield Township Trustee Stephanie Fakih and Oakland County Commissioner Marcia Gershenson. He said the county program will provide about $7,500 to each participating agency, which will offer gift cards for guns.
“We will give $200 value for a long gun, $100 for a handgun and $300 for any assault-type firearm,” Gallagher said. “We are hoping to get guns that would be on the streets, but we know there are lawfully owned guns at home that people just don’t know how to get rid of. With the amount of gun violence out there, we know we have to do our part.”
Gallagher said while they had tried to make the buybacks anonymous, the department is ethically obligated to investigate any criminal activities that may have occurred with a firearm.
“If there is a victim behind that gun, we need to find that,” he said. “We need to do that. We are required to, so it can’t be 100 percent anonymous.”
The buyback event will be held in conjunction with the Auburn Hills Police Department at that department, located at 1899 N. Squirrel Road, in Auburn Hills. Gallagher said the Auburn Hills location has a better designed lobby to safely take in the guns without prior notification. He said the Bloomfield Township department can accept guns anytime, but requires prior notification rather than walking into the lobby unannounced with a firearm.
“The way the (Auburn Hills) entrance is set up is ideal,” Gallagher said. “There are steps we have to take with firearms. We have to determine if it’s lawful or not, it has to be tagged, then go to Oakland County where they use their lab to fire and test it to see if it comes back to a crime.”
Trustees unanimously approved participation in the program.
The program, which was introduced by Oakland County Commissioners Marcia Gershenson (D-Bloomfield Township), Charlie Cavell (D-Ferndale) and Michael Spisz (R-Oxford), provides funding to local law enforcement agencies to cover the cost of planning, hosting and administering gun buyback events in the county.
Other locations hosting gun buybacks on October 22 include St. David’s Episcopal Church, 16200 W. 12 Mile, in Southfield (Southfield and Lathrup Village police departments); Royal Oak Police Department, 450 E. Eleven Mile, Royal Oak (Royal Oak and Berkley police departments); and Ferndale City Hall Parking Lot, 300 E. Nine Mile (Ferndale Police Department).