The response to a gun buyback program in north St. Louis was enormous, according to a city official.

Officials say the number of participants was so overwhelming, with so many people in line, that the event ended early because the Omega Center had to be cleared by 3 p.m.

The program collected the following:

533 long guns

303 hand guns

6 assault rifles

More than $111,000 was paid out during the buyback program held Saturday.

There will be another buyback program at a later date, the date has not been announced at this time.

According to St. Louis City officials, private groups are funding the event, which will pay $200 for assault rifles and guns with a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds, $150 for shotguns or rifles and $100 for handguns.

Guns from across the area will be accepted. Any gun turned in must be unloaded. The gun buyback is completely anonymous and no questions will be asked. The guns must be brought in a bag or box.

The St. Louis Police Foundation, a private firm is one of the driving forces behind the event, will be helping police keep the guns that are collected from going back on the street.

Under Missouri law, St. Louis is forced to sell any guns collected backed to a licensed dealer, but that does not apply to the Police Foundation, which has helped collect as much as $125,000 to pay those who turn in guns.

The St. Louis Police Foundation said all guns collected will be destroyed.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said the last buyback program in 2008 yielded 1,000 guns in one day. Many leaders expressed their support and hope that people will seriously consider the option.

“Mom, grandma, uncle, dad give us the guns because that same gun that is in your house may be used to hurt someone very badly or perhaps even your own child,” said Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards.

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