CHICAGO (NewsNation) — As the U.S. government continues sending millions of dollars in weapons and tech to Ukraine, the city of Miami is trying to do their part by carrying out a gun buyback program with the goal of shipping those discarded weapons — almost 200 guns — to Irpin, Ukraine, a city just outside Kyiv.
Miami’s buyback program paid residents up to $150 to turn in their guns.
“It was a complex process to navigate and get all the authorities in place to send the weapons overseas but we are very close to finalizing that deal,” a Miami police chief told “NewsNation Prime” on Wednesday.
The idea of sending weapons across international borders is not only controversial. Some skeptics wonder if such a deal is even legal.
“It is a little bit off the wall. It has caught people by surprise. A lot of people don’t even believe it’s true,” Commissioner Ken Russell told “NewsNation Prime.”
Along with representing Miami’s second district, Russell is a small businessman who helped pass the Miami Forever Bond, which will invest $400 million into housing, parks, streets and flood mitigation throughout the city.
“The only time I have ever heard of it being done before is in season 3 episode 2 of Miami Vice, where the City Council voted to send guns to Nicaragua,” Russell continued with a chuckle.
Yet, while the city’s intentions might be good, war experts say it’s no laughing matter.
“Right off the bat, I believe it is a bad idea, frankly,” retired Lt. Gen. Richard Newton said during Wednesday’s edition of the show.
“What Ukraine needs right now is high-tech, high-precision, all-day, all-night weapon systems. Taking 200 weapons off the streets of Miami will not really have a significant impact on the battlefield itself. There is just a lot of unanswered questions here and it’s frankly kind of ludicrous they are doing this,” Richard continued.
But Russell says the city is partnering with an arms dealer to make sure the guns get into the right hands.
“You know we can’t cast judgment on who is receiving them. All we know is they are under attack,” Russell said.
Not only is the city of Miami sending guns from their buyback, they’re also sending guns from the police evidence room that they say would likely have been destroyed. They’re also encouraging other cities to join in.