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Olympia Police all booked up for guns-for-gift-cards event

It didn't take long for the Olympia Police Department to run out of gift cards to exchange for firearms, and its first guns for gift cards event hasn't even happened yet.

OPD announced the event on Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. By 2:50 p.m., and all available appointments to turn in firearms were scheduled.

The department is exchanging VISA gift cards for eligible firearms between 9 a.m. and noon on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Similar events have been hosted by police departments throughout Western Washington, but unlike previous guns-for-gift-cards promotions, Olympia opted to schedule appointments. Other police departments have experienced long lines of cars waiting to turn in guns, sometimes turning people away when the cards ran out.

Olympia's guns-for-gift-cards effort was spurred by its city council, with the aim of reducing gun violence and encouraging gun safety.

OPD is accepting the guns anonymously and will not make any record of participants. People turning in guns are asked to keep them, unloaded, in the trunk or a locked area of their truck bed. Officers will remove them from there.

The police department has not said exactly what qualifies as an "eligible" firearm, or the value of the gift cards, but it has stated that flare guns, starter pistols, BB guns, Airsoft guns, and other toy or replica firearms will not be accepted.

Federal Way guns for gift cards

The Federal Way Police Department is organizing its own guns-for-gift-cards event for Feb. 4, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Inoperable guns will be traded for $25; rifles and shotguns for $100; handguns for $200; and assault rifles like AK-47 and AR-15s for $300.

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Credit: Federal Way Police Department

The Kirkland Police Department held two similar guns-for-gift-cards events last summer. After its second turn-in event, the city paid out more than $18,000 in gift cards, and took in a total of 151 firearms. Everett held one in December and traded $25,000 in gift cards for 241 guns.

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