News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 17, 2013

Police, volunteers planning gun buy back for Valley

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Volunteers hope to lower the number of weapons in the Wabash Valley through a buy-back project.

Terre Haute police officer Jason Brentlinger said planning is still under way for what organizers hope to be an event at the Meadows Shopping Center tentatively scheduled for April 13. With money, organizers hope to raise in coming weeks, the group plans to purchase firearms from citizens with the intent to destroy the weapons. The all-day event will be coordinated in conjunction with Operation Medicine Cabinet, where residents can dispose of outdated drugs at no cost, Brentlinger said.

“You cannot buy another gun with the money, that’s the stipulation,” Brentlinger said, explaining payment for the weapons will be given in the form of gift cards at local stores. The group plans to offer $100 for working firearms, and $10 for items such as BB guns or air pistols.

Geri Black, an organizer with the League of Women Voters of Vigo County, said other civic groups also plan to participate, and the project is styled after similar initiatives in Chicago.

“We’re still soliciting money,” she said, adding donors can contribute at any First Financial Bank branch. The fund is titled “Buy Back Guns” and is affiliated with the Terre Haute Police Department. The number of weapons involved will depend on the amount of money raised and organizers are willing to participate all day, she said. “I guess [we will go] until the money runs out.”

Brentlinger said details are still being discussed, but the program will most likely be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Black said even if the group only removes five weapons from the public, she’ll be happy.

“There are so many accidents with children finding a gun that the adults forgot they even had,” she said.

Individuals interested in participating can email Black at, or call the Terre Haute City Police Department at 812-238-1661.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or