(CBS4) -- The third in a series of gun buyback events last weekend in Denver brought in 50 firearms, according to one of the organizers, and 358 guns have been collected over the course of three such events.
"A gun buyback in itself is not going to solve gun violence," acknowledged Aurora City Councilman Curtis Gardner, one of the sponsors of the gun buyback events.
But Gardner, a gun owner himself and a registered Republican, said the gun buybacks have a distinct purpose.
"We're reducing the availability of guns that can be stolen and used in crimes in the future."
The coordinated series of eight buyback events, put on by the cities of Aurora and Denver and the Denver Broncos, began in March and will conclude in October.
Gardner acknowledges what research has shown.
"It's not the criminals coming to turn in their guns. What we're hoping to do is reduce the number of guns that could be stolen and aren't stored properly," he said.
People turning in handguns receive $150. An assault-style rifle is worth $250.
In the first two events, Gardner said 15 assault-style firearms were collected. He said, in one case, weapons were turned in by a 13-year-old boy, who found two guns when he was riding his bike near a middle school. In another, a mother turned in a handgun her son had used to take his own life.
All weapons are immediately disabled and destroyed and are turned into garden tools.
"It's harm reduction in action," Gardner said.
But Lesley Hollywood, a Colorado gun-rights activist, called the gun buyback events "not just ineffective but dangerous." She suggested criminals may be turning in old, antiquated or non-working guns, getting paid for them, then using the money to buy newer guns.
"Is there a solution in this that's actually making things better," asked Hollywood. "Or are we putting more guns and better guns on the street? There are very true unintended consequences."
According to a news report from 2013, a buyback in Tucson, Arizona collected about 200 firearms, many old or inoperable. Nearby, gun dealers set up tables and offered cash for guns that were in good enough condition to resell, according to the article.
There are five more local buyback events scheduled.
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