The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
GUN BUY BACK
98 unwanted guns secured by officials during recent event
Utica, N.Y. — In an effort to safely seize and dispose of unwanted firearms in the community, a gun buyback program was recently held in the Utica Recreation Center parking lot.
Residents could turn over any unwanted firearm, whether in working condition or not, and receive compensation on the spot in the form of prepaid gift cards. No questions were asked and no identification was needed. Licensed gun dealers and active or retired law enforcement officers were not eligible to participate.
The program was a collaboration between New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office (OAG) and the Utica Police Department.
This was the first gun buyback occurring in Utica this year, though the OAG has hosted 11 gun buybacks across the state in 2021 so far, resulting in nearly 2,100 unwanted firearms being taken out of communities, according to OAG.
The community gun buyback resulted in 98 guns being collected, including 53 handguns, 29 shotguns and rifles, 15 nonworking or antique guns, and an assault rifle, according to OAG.
Utica Police Sergent Michael Curley explained that there could be multiple reasons, such as the death of a gun owner in a family, why someone may drop off a firearm at a gun buyback event. Whatever the reason, the transaction is completely confidential.
" “It’s any kind of gun, regardless of condition or registration status” that’s being collected."
— Utica Police Sergent Michael Curley
The goal is to get unwanted guns out of the community where they can cause trouble if in the wrong hands.
“It’s any kind of gun, regardless of condition or registration status” that’s being collected, Curley explained.
Weapons taken in are categorized and later examined to determine if they were involved in a prior crime or perhaps stolen. At the end of the process, all guns will be destroyed, Curley said.
Prepaid gift cards for the following amounts were given to participants in exchange for their weapons, depending on the item being surrendered.
Assault rifles — $250 Handguns — $150 Rifle or Shotgun — $75 Nonworking or antique gun — $25
Additionally, an ipad was also given to those surrendering a working handgun or assault rifle.
The OAG received a number of ipads donated by T-mobile, a spokesperson said, and the office has been using them as incentives at various gun buyback events. Ten in total were given away.
“Gun violence continues to devastate our neighborhoods and endanger the welfare of our communities,” James said in a statement. “From taking down violent drug rings fueling this crisis to hosting gun buybacks and supporting organizations committed to curbing this violence — we are taking every step possible to stop this violence and protect our families from harm. My office remains committed to ensuring that New Yorkers are safe, and we thank our partners in law enforcement for their shared commitment in this effort.”
Since 2013, OAG has hosted gun buyback events throughout New York state and has successfully collected more than 4,000 firearms, according to the OAG.