Kicks 4 Guns buyback program aims to take guns off streets

Orange County Sheriff’s Office holds event in Pine Hills

PINE HILLS, Fla. – The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to get more unwanted guns off the streets.

The agency on Monday held a Kicks 4 Guns event in Pine Hills, which saw a recent string of shootings that killed a 9-year-old girl, an Orlando TV reporter and a woman.

Sheriff’s officials handed out $50 gift cards to anyone who turned in a gun.

In a tweet, the sheriff’s office said, “NO questions and NO ID required!”

The event took place until 7 p.m. at Pine Hills Community Church at1305 N. Pine Hills Road in Orlando. Afterward, deputies reported that 87 firearms had been collected during the event.

Monday’s offering appears to be a one-off from the annual 10-county Kicks 4 Guns program that was started more than 20 years ago by Crimeline and REAL Radio 104.1.

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“It’s basically a gun buyback program for those folks that have guns in the house that they no longer have a need for, a want or desire to keep,” Sgt. Tim Nazzaro, of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, said last year.

The only requirement was for the gun owner to ensure that the weapon is unloaded. If the gun is not secured, participants are asked to store the firearm in the trunk of a vehicle so a deputy can safely remove it.

In years past, handguns, rifles, a sawed-off shotgun and a hand grenade were turned in at a Kicks 4 Gun location.

Bill Blessing was one of the many who came to the Pine Hills Community Church on Monday to turn in his gun.

He said he’s had it for more than two decades and no longer needs it.

“I didn’t want someone breaking into my house and take it and some bad be done with it so it’s better to have it off the streets then it is to have it in your possession if you’re not actively using it at the range or something like that,” Blessing said.

Deputies said more than a dozen guns were turned in just within the first few hours of the event.

“We are going to check to see if they’re stolen, if it’s stolen, we’ll return it to the owner, if it’s not stolen it will be submitted for destruction and those guns will be destroyed,” Sgt. Sergio Uribe with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

“You take away the opportunity from a potential criminal getting a hold of a weapon and then who knows what they do with that gun they can you know commit a violent crime or potentially kill someone so if we can prevent that, then that’s a good thing for the community,” Uribe explained.

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About the Authors:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!