Earlier in the week, District 2 Commissioner, Ken Russell announced the program with a tweet describing the buyback event to "support Ukraine and take guns off the streets."
As gates opened on this warm Saturday morning, three cars lined up. One of the first donations was delivered in a blue plastic bag and appeared to be a hand-made weapon of pipe and tape.
The "no questions asked" aspect of the event is meant to encourage getting weapons off the streets, according to Commissioner Russell. “No guns will be sent to Ukraine that are not appropriate or not wanted or not useful in their efforts against defending against Russia," says Russell. He has partnered with the State Department and an exporter to be able to ship the approved firearms to the Ukraine.
The buyback program has its skeptics among gun enthusiasts in Florida. Leadership at Florida Carry Inc, a non-profit organization that promotes gun rights, believe the practice is deceptive.
"I think it's a bait and switch. What the Miami Police Department is not telling people is they have four options that they can do with firearms that are turned in," said Florida Carry board member, Kevin Sona, "they can keep them, they can destroy them, they can lend them to another department or they can sell them and any sales, the funds from those sales have to go back into the Florida school funding."
Sona and another program skeptic carefully documented the event with photos and video. "Glory for Ukraine" one man yelled, while claiming the department and the city officials were dishonest in saying they will ship the weapons to Ukraine. Commissioner Russell spoke to the group in an effort to assure them officials are trying to contribute to defense efforts in Ukraine and keep guns off the streets in Miami.
The Miami-Dade Police Department told Reuters via email, that a resolution from the City of Miami passed on June 9 directs officials to "take any and all action to work with federal authorities to ship any functional weapon received through the city’s Gun Buyback program to Ukraine for use in the conflict against the Russian invasion." While the police department does not possess a license to export firearms, the city's resolution says it may include procurement of an export license in order to stay within Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) along with the Department of State's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls in regards to any and all exports of firearms. Commissioner Russell confirmed to Reuters the exporter with which they are partnering possesses those necessary licenses to comply with federal laws.
Those who chose to give away their guns said they want a safe way to get rid of them.
"My brother in law passed away and I thought that this was the safest way to get rid of guns because I don't do guns," said Anna, who preferred not to share her last name. "I've been storing them in a safe place until the gun buyback program surfaced again."
Published : Aug 09, 2022
Published : June 19, 2022
By : Reuters