With all of the trouble we have with firearms in this country so much of the talk is about who can buy what gun how long to wait for the sale and the criteria for doing so. What about all of the guns that are already out there? Don’t we need to deal with them?

I mean, how many times do we see a huge cache of weapons and ammunition held by some deranged gunman after the fact? As the battle rages on over background checks, waiting periods, red flags and mental illness our NYS Attorney General Office has been busy getting rid of some of the deadly equipment that’s already out there since 2013.

On July 19, 2019, Attorney General Letitia James announced that 116 firearms were turned into law enforcement at a gun buyback event in Plattsburgh hosted by the Attorney General’s Office and the City of Plattsburgh Police Department. The Attorney General’s Office accepts, with no questions asked, working and non-working unloaded firearms in exchange for compensation on site. Since the Attorney General’s Office launched its statewide gun buyback program in 2013, the office has collected 2,505 firearms across New York State.

“Our neighborhoods are safer when we take unwanted, dangerous firearms off of our streets and out of our homes,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “My office is committed to ensuring that New Yorkers feel safe and are protected from gun violence, and we thank the City of Plattsburgh Police Department for their continued partnership.”

“Gun buyback programs help ensure the safety of our City by preventing firearms from ending up in the wrong hands. The wellbeing of our residents is top priority and this program is a critical resource for ensuring secure and effective gun disposal,” said City of Plattsburgh Police Chief Levi J. Ritter. “We thank Attorney General James for her collaboration on this event that helps to keep our communities safe.”

July’s gun buyback resulted in 116 guns being turned in in the city of Plattsburg alone. That number included: six assault weapons; 52 handguns; 41 rifles; and 17 non-working or antique guns.

America would benefit from a national ongoing buy-back while all of this other conversation is going on. With such a program, a less than bold family member could find time the turnover excess guns at their convenience. Maybe a family member could even get some help to pull off the transfer.

The first buyback was in Baltimore in 1974. Since then innumerable tragedies have gone on and more buybacks have taken place. Some of those buybacks have been attended by gun dealers and buyers who ended up offering more than the authorities to purchase guns people came to redeem.

That’s not especially helpful considering the end result is to remove guns from the streets so, consideration for that must be made but considering that a random person would bring in a random gun or collection of guns, dealers targeting a specific buyback program is less likely.

I am not a 2nd amendment challenger but, we have way too many guns in the country already so,  maybe as we struggle over the process to purchase firearms we can manage to remove excess guns, rifles and assault weapons on a regular basis from our homes and streets with an ongoing gun buyback.

The Office of Attorney General offers money in the form of prepaid debit cards when a gun is received by law enforcement officers. The prepaid cards with the appropriate amount are issued after each unloaded gun is received and secured by the officers on-site.

The program is entirely funded through criminal forfeiture funds that were seized from drug and gun traffickers by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force.

The Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force has focused on taking violent gun traffickers off our streets. The office developed Model Gun Show Procedures, a series of safety procedures for gun show operators in New York State, and announced new policies to help social media sites curb illegal sales of firearms on their platforms. In 2016, the Attorney General’s Office released a first-of-its-kind analysis of tens of thousands of “crime guns” recovered by law enforcement, illustrating gun trafficking trends that undermine New York’s sensible gun laws.

The nation could take a lesson from our Attorney General Letitia James and the fine work of her department.

Lockwood Law


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