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Baltimore Police: $163,000 spent on gun buyback that yielded over 1,000 firearms — and a rocket launcher

A Baltimore gun buyback program has yielded 1,089 firearms which they spent $163,000 so far, interim police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said Friday.

A third buyback event is scheduled from noon to 8 p.m. Friday at the Perkins Square Baptist Church, 2500 Edmondson Ave. The totals are from two previous events.

The firearms collected so far include 509 handguns, 273 rifles, 245 shotguns — and a rocket launcher. Tuggle said the department has reached out to military and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to trace the rocket launcher’s origin. The city paid $500 for it.

A spokesman for Mayor Catherine Pugh said Friday that $250,000 has been made available from miscellaneous general expenses in the general fund budget to cover the costs of the program.

Some have questioned the effectiveness of such events, which often result in the collection of broken and antique guns that are not being used in crimes in the city. Also, because submissions are anonymous, non-city residents could also receive cash for guns. But Tuggle said guns used in Baltimore violence are often from other jurisdictions.

“This is originally designed for city residents, however we know that a number of guns we found, in a lot of the violence that happens in Baltimore, comes from the surrounding counties,” he said.

Destroying guns that could be used in crimes or stolen by perpetrators is the city’s top priority, Tuggle said.

“If they’re not in existence, they’re not in the home, they can’t be used, they can’t be stolen. They won’t contribute to our violence,” he said.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/janders5

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