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Got a gun you don’t want? Minneapolis will buy it and give it to artists

Minneapolis hopes to take some unwanted guns out of circulation this weekend – and give artists material for a new exhibit at the same time.

The city is hosting a gun buyback event at two fire stations on Saturday.  Guns will be accepted with no questions asked. People who turn them in will receive Visa gift cards in amounts ranging from $25 to $300, depending on the gun.

As FOX 9 reports, if police find the weapon was stolen they will return it to the rightful owner. Otherwise, the guns will be taken out of commission – and could wind up in an art exhibit focusing on the impact of firearms in the community.

The project is a partnership with the non-profit group Pillsbury United Communities.

Pillsbury United Communities recently hosted a national exhibit called Guns in the Hands of Artists. Now they’ve put out a call for local artists who will use some of the weapons collected Saturday to make their own statements about the impact of gun violence in a project known as “Art is My Weapon.”

Pillsbury United’s president and CEO, Chanda Smith Baker, says she lost a cousin in a shooting. “This issue is personal for me, and unfortunately it is personal for many across our community,” she said in a statement.

Mayor Betsy Hodges says she’s excited that the buyback will help fuel a conversation about gun violence through the arts.

Pillsbury United Communities is accepting donations to cover the cost of the buyback.

The Star Tribune says experts are generally skeptical about the effectiveness of buybacks like the one set for Saturday.

But city council member Cam Gordon noted that all but one of  the 22 homicides in Minneapolis so far this year were committed with guns. Gordon told the paper “This initiative is a great way to get guns out of our homes and off the street and bring attention and energy to this crisis.”

Guns can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Fire Station 14, 2002 Lowry Ave. N., and Station 17, 330 E. 38th St.

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