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Sarasota Police want your unwanted guns

A picture of a dark handgun with information about Sarasota Police Department's gun turn-in events
Courtesy Sarasota Police Department
A picture of a handgun with information about Sarsota Police Department's gun turn-in events

The SPD is hosting two "Done with the Gun" events Saturday. And they will accept all guns and ammo, no questions asked.

Last year, CBS News put out a story on gun ownership by state, as of 2021. It used data from RAND Corporation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on federally-registered guns. But that list didn’t include handguns or AR-15s.

Still, Florida came out number two on the list, with nearly 519,000 registered weapons, second only to Texas.

The Florida Department of Health said in 2021, 20 people died from “unintentional gun discharges.” Hundreds more went to the hospital with gunshot injuries.

Guns are seemingly everywhere, and Sarasota’s Police Department is trying to keep them out of the wrong hands. This weekend, they are asking locals and visitors alike — who don’t want their guns to turn them in, no questions asked. No record will be kept of the transaction.

"We're not looking to take peoples' guns," SPD spokeswoman Genevieve Judge said. "But this is in a situation, perhaps a family member has passed on, has left a firearm and passed it down to generations, but perhaps that person doesn't want it anymore — this is an opportunity for them to come in and turn it in."

SPD is offering gun locks in exchange for guns that are turned in, or you can just show up and ask for a gun lock.

Judge said they will take all manner of guns and ammunition. Whether they work or not, even antiques, replicas, pellet and BB guns.

“Even if there's a situation that someone has an illegal firearm, they found a firearm, somebody gave it to them to try to get rid of it. We're not asking any questions, we'd just rather have someone turn in these firearms, so we eliminate the risk of having it stolen, misused, or God forbid, having it accidentally discharged inside a home where there's a child around,” she said.

In a press release, the SPD said people who want to turn in a gun must bring it unloaded, with the safety on, and have it inside of a bag, box, holster or gun case, and come with the gun in the trunk or back of the vehicle. A police officer will retrieve the gun. The guns will be taken to be destroyed and Sarasota Police Department’s bomb squad will get rid of the ammunition.

The two drop-off locations for the gun turn-in and gun lock giveaway event will be:

  • Sarasota Police Headquarters, 2099 Adams Lane, Sarasota
  • Sarasota Police Substation, 1782 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Sarasota

Judge said 30 guns were turned in during their first such event, last year.

I love telling stories about my home state. And I hope they will help you in some way and maybe even lift your spirits.