ORLANDO, Fla. — An annual gun buyback event is taking place across Central Florida on Thursday.

What You Need To Know

Kicks 4 Guns will take place at 10 different locations. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood explains the annual program, named when law enforcement officers would exchange sneakers for unwanted guns, now allows people to drop off unwanted guns without any questions asked and receive a gift card in exchange.

Chitwood says the gift card amount is a sliding scale depending on the value of the weapon. He explains the program is about keeping unwanted guns from getting into the wrong hands, saying his office confiscates a lot of stolen guns.

“We know these guns are inside of homes, ghost guns,” he says. “You may save your child’s life or somebody else’s life by helping participate in this program.”

Chitwood wants parents to get involved by searching their children's rooms, saying Volusia County has tripled the number of youth who are on juvenile sanctions for gunplay. He says when they last hosted Kicks 4 Guns in 2019, 20 guns were taken in.

“If we get one gun and it’s taken out of the hands of a young person, or taken out of the hands of a criminal, and it prevents somebody from being severely injured or dead, or one of my deputies or anybody else in law enforcement from being hurt, then it’s worth it,” he says.

New CDC data show the nationwide firearm homicide rate in 2020 was the highest recorded in more than 25 years.