The Chatham County Manager, in co-operation with the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office, "has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the surrender of firearms collected by Savannah City Youth, Inc.’s, gun buyback program," a county spokesperson says.
The firearms were surrendered to Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team to be secured while the matter is being investigated, the county reports.
The local program received some criticism in that it offered cash for guns, unlike many such programs, which offer gift cards instead to eliminate the possibility of people using cash to go buy newer guns.
Such programs are also frequently criticized for potentially keeping law enforcement from securing guns as evidence which have been used in crimes.
SCMPD chief Joseph Lumpkin and City of Savannah officials appeared with Alderman Van Johnson and Savannah City Youth's Beverlee Trotter at a November press conference about the gun buyback program, though a press release the following day clarified that the department is not affiliated with the privately-funded program.
Both police-supervised and private gun buyback programs have generated controversy over whether such measures are effective. Studies show that the majority of the guns collected are non-functioning or not the type used in violent crimes, and while gun buyback programs are widely supported, they have not proved to reduce crime in violent communities.