Guns aren’t toys: GRPD hosts buyback event

Guns aren’t toys. Photo by Anna Shvets on

Story by Zachary Avery, Editor-in-Chief

After two successful gun buyback events during 2020 in which over 250 firearms were safely relinquished from private possession, the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) have collaborated with Grand Rapids’ Safe Alliance For Everyone (SAFE) team to organize the third-ever gun buyback program in the city of Grand Rapids. This event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Burton Heights Lot on 30 Burton St. SW.

The gun buyback program is a part of the GRPD’s newly stated philosophy in reshaping and reimagining the policing in Grand Rapids. And as cohost, SAFE aims to tackle all variety of issues facing 15 to 24-year-olds in Grand Rapids, including a lack of pro-social opportunities and pervasive mental health issues. SAFE is also a funding source for other local organizations that make an effort toward violence reduction.

“Our gun buyback programs are a proactive approach to reducing the number of unwanted firearms in our community,” said Asante Cain, assistant to the city manager, in an interview with Kylie Ambu of WGVU News. “The SAFE Task Force is proud to partner with the Police Department in hosting this event and working towards our shared goal of ending gun violence.”

Advertising image shared from Grand Rapids’ official website.

In 2021 alone, violent crimes involving a firearm increased by 72% in the city of Grand Rapids. While the trend in these crimes has not always involved the death of shooting victims, it is a disturbing growth in reckless violence throughout the city. And on top of this, Grand Rapids remains in the proverbial spotlight following the tragic death of Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop with former GRPD officer Christopher Schurr. In 2022, it’s safe to say that extreme gun violence, from both civilians and police officers, is at the forefront of Grand Rapidians’ minds.

Within our own campus community, however, unlawful or unpermitted possession of firearm weapons remained at zero between 2018 and 2020. And the college itself prohibits the presence of firearms on-campus without prior written approval of both the college president and director of Campus Safety. Even then, the possession of a firearm on-campus requires very specific conditions.

If a firearm-carrier you know is wary about participating in the gun buyback, remind them that there are no questions asked or identification required. Gift cards ranging from $100 to $200 will also be given to a limited number of buyback participants.

Categories: News, The Saint