- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - The city of Cedar Rapids will hold its first gun buyback in 20 years, but a lack of donations is limiting the scope of the program, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

The buyback will be Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. at the City of Cedar Rapids Service Center. People who turn in guns that aren’t stolen will receive $100 gift cards to the Hy-Vee grocery chain.

Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said the department raised only $1,700 in donations during a yearlong fundraising campaign, after determining that taxpayer money shouldn’t be used for the effort.

She said that means only the first 17 people turning in guns would qualify for gift cards, unless more funding rolls in at the last minute.

By contrast, a federally-funded gun buyback in Cedar Rapids in 1994 ended with more than 500 guns taken off the street.

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman has pushed for the program as a way for citizens to get rid of unwanted guns, saying it will be a success if one is turned in because he can guarantee it won’t be used in crime. But Hamblin said the chief has also been frustrated by the funding shortage.

The department said those turning in firearms must make sure they are unloaded. Drivers should put the guns in their trunk, and officers will remove them. Ammunition will be accepted as well, but won’t quality for gift cards.

The department will destroy the guns in accordance with state law.

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