In a landmark event, thousands of guns were submitted to the state of New York over a single weekend. The program, organized by Letitia James, the attorney general in New York, incentivized New York residents to turn in firearms with no questions asked, rewarding them with gift cards.
Nine different buyback locations were set up across the state for the event, and more than three thousand guns were collected. The program allowed individuals to turn in their firearms without providing personal information, including their name, address, or any proof of legal ownership.
James’ office reported that gift card values varied depending on the type of firearm surrendered. For instance, individuals who surrendered a handgun, rifle, or “ghost gun,” an untraceable firearm, were rewarded with a $500 gift card. For every additional handgun turned in, they received an additional $150 gift card.
Additionally, individuals who surrendered antique guns, 3D-printed replicas, or non-functioning shotguns or rifles received a $25 or $75 gift card.
Syracuse, a central city in New York, experienced a 133% surge in homicides during the first quarter of this year in contrast to the same duration in the previous year, making the event particularly pertinent. Authorities collected 751 firearms as part of the program in Syracuse exclusively.
According to a press release, James emphasized that gun violence has resulted in numerous avoidable tragedies, taking the lives of many innocent individuals in New York. She also underscored the significance of the program in safeguarding communities throughout the state.
Ben Walsh, the mayor of Syracuse, held a news conference where he blamed the city’s increase in crime on the expansion of gun ownership. He criticized state and federal officials for failing to ensure safe gun handling and sales.
Mayor Walsh stressed that authorities in Syracuse had seized 76 guns in 2023, compared to only 55 in the same time period last year. He also reported that approximately 90% of all the guns seized by police in Syracuse came from outside of New York.
The success of this event highlights the importance of safe gun ownership and the need to take steps to prevent gun violence. Programs like this can help reduce the number of guns on the streets and keep communities safe.