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So You’d Like to Turn Your Guns Into Gift Cards (Updated)

The Seattle Police Department is partnering with King County, local businesses, the Seattle Police Foundation, and community groups to get guns off Seattle’s streets by trading unwanted weapons for useful gift cards.

The first gun buyback is scheduled for Saturday, January 26th from 9 am to 3 pm, in the parking lot underneath Interstate 5 between Cherry and James Street.

For every handgun, shotgun, and rifle you turn in, you can earn a gift card worth up to $100 from companies like

You can double down on that deal by turning in any guns classified as “assault weapons” by the state of Washington Seattle Police Department, earning up to $200 for each assault weapon.

This isn’t a trick, and this isn’t a sting. Whether you’re turning an anti-tank missile launcher you “found” in your basement, or your Gammie’s old .45, the buyback is anonymous with no questions asked. SPD won’t take pictures of you as you drop off guns or ask you to sign anything.

Some other things you should know:

Please treat all guns you bring to the buyback as if they were loaded, unless you are familiar with the firearm and are able to unload it yourself. When you arrive at the gun buyback, a uniformed officer will contact you, make sure the gun is safe, and direct you towards the gift cards.

Once you turn in a gun, it becomes property of the Seattle Police Department and will be destroyed. No take-backsies.

Turn in as many guns as you like, but we reserve the right to limit the number of gift cards we hand over to one person. If you show up with 1500 guns, you might not walk away with $150,000 in gift card swag.

The department will check see if any of the guns are reported stolen and, if we end up recovering a previously stolen firearm, we’ll make every effort to return it to its rightful owner.

You can also drop off un-used ammunition or fireworks at the buyback location.

We’ll be announcing dates for additional buybacks around Seattle and King County in the near future, so stay tuned.

You can watch a press conference announcing the buyback here:

We’ve had some questions about which guns will be considered “assault weapons” (eligible for up to $200 in gift cards, given out at SPD’s discretion) during this month’s gun buyback.

While the state doesn’t have anything on the books defining “assault weapons”, here’s what our in-house gun experts came up with for the purposes of the gun buyback:

  1. A semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of the following:
    1. A folding or telescoping stock
    2. A pistol grip that protrudes beneath the action of the weapon
    3. A bayonet mount
    4. A flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor
    5. A grenade launcher
  1.  A semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of the following:
    1. An ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip
    2. A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer
    3. A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned
    4. A manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded
  1. A semiautomatic shotgun that has at least 2 of the following:
    1. A folding or telescoping stock
    2. A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon
    3. A fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds
    4. An ability to accept a detachable magazine

If you’re unsure whether or not one of your guns is an assault weapon, that’s OK. We’ll have on-site SPD experts at the ready during the buyback to help out. Just remember: be careful, and handle all firearms as if they were loaded.