The cornucopia of weapons ranged from BB guns and pistols to shotguns and semi-automatic rifles at a gun buyback hosted by police in Hollywood.
Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, a total of 65 firearms were swapped for Publix gifts cards worth $75 to $250.
A line of vehicles wound around police headquarters, at 3250 Hollywood Blvd., as soon as the gate opened.
One man turned over nine rifles he inherited from a relative’s estate. Another man said he would rather turn in his gun for a gift card than risk selling it online to a stranger whose intentions are unknown.
Irving Mercado, 30, of Hollywood, handed over a bolt-action shotgun that he said his family had lying around for a few years.
“It was found in an old property my father purchased and we just didn’t know what to do with it,” he said. “From my research, it had actually been recalled because it’s dangerous to fire. The bolt might actually come out and hit you in the face.”
The anonymous, no questions asked, voluntary, non-political event was organized by Fewer Firearms Fewer Funerals Now, known as 4F Now.
“We all got together right after the shooting and thought about what we could do … to make safer communities,” said member Douglas Eaton, whose daughter survived the rampage that killed 17 students and staff, and wounded 17 more.
“We’re raising money to fund gun buybacks, raising awareness, and we’re partnering with several organizations that have similar values,” he said.
In September, 4F Now collected 129 firearms at its first gun buyback, which was held in Coral Springs.
Group member Debbie Hixon attended both. Her husband Chris Hixon, the Stoneman Douglas athletic director and wrestling coach, was killed protecting students.
“We’re not trying to infringe on anybody’s Second Amendment rights,” she said. “We just want guns that could get into the wrong hands [such as] somebody committing suicide or a crime.”
Several things can happen to the firearms that are collected, said assistant Police Chief Manny Marino.
If they were reported stolen they could be returned to the owner. If they were used in a crime they could be kept as evidence. If they are in good working order they could be used for police training purposes or issued to the SWAT team. But the bulk are disposed of.
“For the most part, all the weapons will be destroyed,” he said. “They’ll be melted.”
Parkland parent Peter Hutton hopes the effort inspires and grows.
“Our goal here really is to create a national buyback day,” he said. “My goal is a million guns. If we could get municipalities all over the country participating one day a year, that would be a good start.”