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Voluntary assault weapons buyback begins in Ludington

Courtesy of Unsplash

The city of Ludington is partnering with a citizen task force to begin a voluntary assault weapons buyback program.

On Saturday, for one day only, residents will be given the opportunity to turn in their rifles in exchange for gift cards.

The origin story of the group known as the Starfish Task Force begins roughly a year ago after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two staff members.

The group’s mission is to try and prevent a mass shooting in Ludington. Organizers says a voluntary buyback program is better than doing nothing, even if it’s on a small scale.

Ludington City Manager Mitch Foster told WCMU the community is working with the group to help manage their funds.

"They have overtime raised about $7,500, for gift cards for in exchange for the assault weapons, they've done that for advertising, as well as for trying to build a program for long term," said Foster.

Foster said the bulk of the group’s funds have come from an anonymous donor through the Mason County Community Foundation.

Ludington Chief of Police Chris Jones said the department will be collecting the assault weapons.

According to Jones, the rifles that will qualify must match the 1994 assault weapons ban definition that was phased out by congress in 2004.

"And as long as it fits the qualifications, the officer will take the weapon and give them a $300 gift card," said Jones on a phone call with WCMU. "And that'll be the end of the interaction. It's a voluntary program, we're not requiring any names or any identification."

Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.