Lincoln police offer gun amnesty, no questions asked
By Lindsey Berning, NewsNetNebraska
With the increased concern toward gun safety across the country after the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Lincoln Police Department is doing a public service of their own to contribute.
On March 23, members of the Lincoln community can get rid of firearms — legal or illegal — with no questions asked and no identification required. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. officers will be in the NeighborWorks of Lincoln parking lot on 23rd and Q streets to accept them.
“It’s an opportunity for individuals who have a gun whether or not it’s a pistol, rifle, shotgun, ammunition, or whatever, that they no longer want to end up having and are maintaining,” Lincoln Chief of Police Jim Peschong said.
Once gun owners get to the parking lot they can just tell officers where the firearm is located in their car and officers will take it into their possession. From there the firearms will be taken to the Lincoln Police Department and then destroyed.
Lincoln police had a gun amnesty day years ago, Peschong said. Last time they offered $50 per firearm — something they won’t do this time. Peschong expects about 50 to be turned in this year.
However successful the event is, a criminal justice professor said don’t expect crime to drop.
“These programs have been researched,” University of Nebraska Omaha Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice Samuel Walker said. “There are amnesties and buy backs and there is evidence that they have no effect on crime.”
This is common sense: the people who are turning in guns are not the criminals, Walker said. Criminals who want to own guns are not going to give them up.
“There are 15 million handguns out there in the country — so these amnesty programs are barely just a drop in the ocean,” Walker said.
Peschong said it would be good if a bunch of criminals want to turn over their guns, but he’s not expecting that to happen. It is more of a public service to firearm owners who want to get rid of their guns but don’t want to sell them to the wrong person.
“I think it’s a good thing to wind up doing because I tend to think there are members of the community that do have weapons just sitting around in their homes and possibly businesses that they would like to get rid of, but not really sure how to go about getting rid of them,” Peshong said.
“This makes it a little bit more of an advertised event to individuals that may not have even thought about disposing of a gun.”