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D.C. Weapons Handed Over

A citywide program paying $100 for every gun turned over to police was so popular in the nation's capital that the department quickly had to dig up more money for it.

In just the first half-hour Monday, people handed over around 400 guns at the seven police district offices, said assistant chief Terry Gainer. That's half as many firearms as normally are confiscated in the District of Columbia in a year, he said.

By day's end, 1,164 guns were turned in for payment, police said.

Shortly after the program began, Gainer said, police decided to spend an extra $25,000 for what was to have been a $100,000 program. By Monday night, they had decided to add another $100,000 to the program.

People who turned in guns did not have to give police their names and were granted amnesty from the city's law barring people from owning handguns or other illegal firearms, police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said.

But he said guns would be tested to see if they can be traced to crimes in the district.

In a similar program in Northeast Washington's district this month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helped pay for the $50,000 spent because it's a section of Washington with several public housing complexes.

It proved so successful that police opted for the citywide program, paid for with money and assets confiscated from drug dealers. Some officers say the gun buyback is a great way to spend money that otherwise would be used for such things as police equipment.

"These guns, we know, will never hurt anyone else again," said Cmdr. Rodney Monroe. After being test-fired, the guns will be melted down.

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