Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington told residents at a 2nd Ward meeting Thursday night that a planned gun buyback program will offer “market price”  for some high-end firearms.

With $17,000 raised from donations to fund the program, Eddington said, it will be able to offer full price for guns like AK47s, “those guns that are exceptionally dangerous.”

Gun buyback programs in Chicago and elsewhere have been criticized for offering a flat $100 for any working weapon turned in, with critics saying that’s not enough to get people to turn in guns that are actually likely to be used in crimes.

“One of the most difficult things is to get criminals to turn in their guns,” Eddington said. “It’s like offering $100 to a plumber to turn in his tools — it ain’t gonna happen.”

He said the city is only interested in buying Evanston guns, “not junk from Kankakee.” To that end, people turning in weapons will have to show some proof that they live in Evanston — which could be a utility bill or something similar.

“But we just want the gun,” the chief said. He said police won’t check whether the person turning in the weapon has a firearm owners identification card, making it legal to posess the weapon.

And he said that while weapons will be checked against a database of ones known to have been used in crimes, there’ll be “no tracing the gun back to the individual who turned it in.”

But he said he knows that a lot of the weapons likely to be collected will be ones unlikely to ever have been used in a crime — “something that’s been in Uncle Ben’s drawer forever, or a shotgun that’s been in the closet, even though the owner hasn’t been hunting in 15 years,” Eddington said.

But even getting those weapons should cut down on accidental shootings, the chief added.

Eddington said officials will have a meeting today to work out details of the program. The mayor, he said, wants to have the gun buyback before Thanksgiving. A local church will probably be used as the turn-in site.

People turning in guns will be given gift certificates, Eddington said, most likely ones redeemable at Target or other stores in Evanston, in an effort to keep the money circulating in town.

Related story

Will gun buyback program help?

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Market price, eh?

    $17,000.00 and they'll pay market price?

    So if one person turns in a Barrett Ma170 .50 with Leupold Scope, that will drain nearly the entire budget.

  2. Gun “buy-back”

    Yep…those gun buy-back progams have done wonders to reduce the rate of gun crimes in Chicago…


  3. I don’t see this as a waste of money

    I don't see this as a waste of money. If one criminal is shot trying to steal someone else's gun (to sell) it will all be worth it.

  4. A great arbitrage opportunity

    I should use my law enforcement discount to buy a bunch of Glocks and then go up there to sell…  More fun than selling at a gun show, and I don't need the ATF to bless it. 

  5. “Buy back?”

    How can they "buy back" something they never owned in the first place?

    Plus, an AK-47 is no more dangerooius than any other semi-automatice hunting weapon like an AR-15 which is a modern sporting rifle..

    1. Ready, Fire, Aim

      Like most government proposals this is a policy 'to do something.'  The Council hopes it will keep the voters happy and mean they don't really need to take action to solve the crime problem.  'Government for Show.'

      Instead it will mean more guns will be imported into Evanston from areas where cheap guns are easily available or stolen from ressident of Evanston and other cities so they can be sold to the city.  Thus putting more money in the pockets of the gang members.

      The Council wants to think there are only a few 'bad apples' and that they will turn in their guns and go straight—yes but straight to more guns. When will they wake up to there being pockets [some large] in Evanston that breed crime and crack down.  We are not [I hope] like Chicago where there are many centers of crime and gangs.  Here the police can just look at the reports and know where the areas are.  But then someone would claim that is stereotyping areas and being unfair. 

      Will the city wake-up ?  I would not hold my breath.

  6. Question

    Nothing against Chief Eddington, because he runs an excellent police department, but he reportedly said, "But even getting those weapons should cut down on accidental shootings". I can't remember an accidental shooting in Evanston in recent history. They all seem to be pretty much intentional.

    How many accidental shootings have incurred in Evanston over the last 10 years?

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