Correction: The original posting of this story inaccurately stated who would be compensating sheriff's deputies for working at the buyback event.
A group of Boulder County faith leaders is teaming up with recent graduates of Centaurus High School to hold a gun buyback.
Those who turn in firearms at the Aug. 4 event will receive gift cards or tickets to sporting events that were purchased with nearly $8,000 raised by recent Centaurus High School graduates who participated in a University of Colorado civic engagement program.
The buyback -- in the parking lot of the Sheriff's Office at 5600 Flatiron Parkway -- is aimed at removing guns from homes. Together Colorado, the group organizing the buyback, bills itself as a "non-partisan, multi-racial, multi-faith community organization."
"We do not see this issue as a Second Amendment issue; it's a responsibility issue," said Sheila Dierks, a Together Colorado member and reverend for Longmont's Light of Christ Ecumenical Catholic Community. "In large part, we see handguns as a significant public safety issue in Boulder, in the U.S. and the world."
The event provides an opportunity to talk about gun violence and Together Colorado's goal of promoting a culture of nonviolence, Dierks said.
Dierks said Together Colorado's interfaith council, spurred by events including the Aurora movie theater shooting, began talking about a buyback event late last year. She said the group recently connected with the "phenomenal kids" from Centaurus who were planning a similar effort.
She said gun violence is not confined to mass shootings but extends to damage done by weapons left out by careless owners. As she worked to organize the buyback, Dierks said she spoke to about 40 people who have organized similar events around the country and heard that the people who bring firearms to buybacks often aren't interested in the compensation.
"The No. 1 thing people say is that people are desperate to get a gun out of the home because it's a threat to safety," she said. "People sneak them out of the house. The reality is those people don't care what they make."
The firearms will be collected, catalogued and destroyed by the Boulder County Sheriff's Office.
Together Colorado will compensate the deputies assigned to work the event, which will not cost taxpayers any money, according to Sheriff Joe Pelle.
Pelle said it will be a good opportunity for people who want to get rid of unwanted guns.
"There is some symbolism involved, but there is also some practicality involved for those who want to get rid of firearms," Pelle said. "I'm not sure it will help make any difference in regards to gun violence, but it's a chance to get rid of firearms they no longer want."
Dierks said Together Colorado plans to pass remnants of the destroyed firearms to Boulder-area metal working artist Jessica Adams for use in a sculpture aimed at creating awareness of gun violence.
Longmont resident Savant Suykerbuyk said many people who take firearms to buybacks aren't familiar with their guns' worth, which is why, as soon as he learned of Together Colorado's buyback, he began organizing a separate event that would pay cash and keep the guns from being destroyed.
Suykerbuyk held an event in March where people who donated to a local gun rights advocacy group were given high-capacity ammunition magazines. That event drew members of Together Colorado, who took part in a silent prayer vigil across the street.
"I don't think gun buybacks do anything in terms of limiting gun crimes or gun violence," said Suykerbuyk, who added he would work with a licensed dealer and perform background checks on any purchases made at his event. "I don't see why an opportunity should be passed up to get guns into the hands of people who want them and can use them responsibly."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.