Michigan City police buy back weapons

2013-12-20T13:49:00Z 2013-12-20T23:47:29Z Michigan City police buy back weaponsStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 20, 2013 1:49 pm  • 

MICHIGAN CITY | People in Michigan City walked away Friday with money for some last-minute Christmas shopping just for turning in a gun.

Stacy Sacks handed over an 1887 .25 caliber defender, a revolver she remembers being stored in the family's basement in LaPorte while growing up.

Her father has since died and she felt the money could be put to better use than the old weapon.

"That could go a lot further for us than a gun," Sacks said.

It's the seventh year the "More Buck for Your Bang" program has been held by Michigan City Police.

The program, which has taken well over 500 guns off the streets, continues Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Walmart gift cards worth $50 are given for each handgun and a shotgun commands a $25 gift card.

The guns must be unloaded when taken to the police station, said Sgt. Chris Yagelski.

In the first hour alone on Friday, 17 guns had already been collected by the police.

Raymond Higginbotham, 57, of Michigan City handed over an old 12-gauge shotgun given to him years ago by his wife's uncle.

The gun was no longer safe to use because of a faulty firing pin that could cause the weapon to explode if used.

"It was just sitting in the closet," he said.

R.J. Draves, 74, came in from LaPorte with a .32-caliber pocket handgun he stumbled across while cleaning out his gun cabinet.

"I can't remember where it come from. It's a little gun and I've never used it," said Draves.

Yagelski said the rifles and shotguns are taken to a steel mill to be melted down while the handguns will be put into a four foot tall glass display case already containing well over 400 firearms that came from previous More Buck for Your Bang exchanges and busts on the streets.

One of the guns in the cabinet in the main lobby of the police station is a machine gun similar to what John Dillinger probably used in the 20s, said Yagelski.

The purpose of the display is to educate people about the dangers officers face daily.

One of the guns collected Friday was a Smith & Wesson that came with the original 1955 box and warranty.

"There's a variety of just about everything," said Yagelski.

Yagelski said the department obtained $3,000 worth of gift cards, and if they run out before the program is over more can be obtained.

The program is funded by several local companies along with the LaPorte County Prosecutor's Office.

"They're all embracing the idea," said Yagelski.

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