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Sumter, SC (WLTX) -- The Sumter Police Department will hold a gun buy-back event this Saturday.

Across the country, thousands of police departments hold similar events, and are aimed at taking guns off the streets and out of the hands of potential criminals.

At the buy back, anyone with an unwanted gun has the chance to bring it to two churches with no questions asked. In exhange, they'll get a gift card ranging in value from $25 - $100, depending on the type of firearm they turn in.

"These weapons are not like the video games," said Sumter Police Department Deputy Chief Alvin Holston, a 29 year veteran of law enforcement.

"A large percentage of our crimes aer being committed by weapons, and particularly firearms across the nation, if you check the statistics. A lot of violent crimes are occuring with the utilization of weapons."

That is one of the reasons he's helping to organize the department's gun buy back event, Holston said.

"That's our means, that we don't take these guns and put them back into circulation," Holston said. "We destroy them."

The Sumter Police Department held a buy back event in 2009, netting about 32 guns. But some have questioned the validity of gun buy back, and whether they decrease violent crimes.

Holston seemed unshaken by those questions.

"There's always some good in dialogue when you're talking about guns and gun violence," Holston said. There's always some forum that needs to be created to talk about that, and this is one."

Community awareness, Holston said, is the key to reducing the number of gun related crimes all over the state.

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