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PHOENIX -- Over the next three Saturdays, Phoenix will be hosting the largest gun buyback program in the city's history.

On Monday, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law that keeps cities from destroying guns collected during buy-backs but that law doesn't take effect until 90 days after the current legislative session ends. Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Martos said guns turned over in the Phoenix events will be melted down.

"We will check the guns to see if they've been stolen or used in the crime and then destroy them within this 90-day period."

Martos said the city initially intended to offer gift cards for people turning in high-capacity magazines but that has been scrapped to allow the bulk of the gift cards to be used on firearms.

"We would prefer that people bringing in the firearms have them in the glovebox or trunk or bed of a pickup and unloaded. We don't want people approaching these events with guns in their hands."

Martos said the weapons will be accepted in a drive-through manner.

The buy-backs will take place at the following locations:

• Southminster Presbyterian Church, 1923 E. Broadway Rd.
• Betania Presbyterian Church, 2811 N. 39th Ave.
• Sunnyslope Mennonite Church, 9835 N. Seventh St.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until the city runs out of gift cards.

The city is giving away $100 gift cards to AJ's, Basha's or Food City for handguns and shotguns and $200 for semi-automatic assault rifles.

KTAR's Bob McClay contributed to this story.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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