National, State, and Local Leaders Applaud Attorney General James’ First-Ever Statewide Gun Buyback Program

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National, State, and Local Leaders Applaud Attorney General James’ First-Ever Statewide Gun Buyback Program

Largest Gun Buyback in New York History with More Than 3,000 Firearms
Turned in at Nine Simultaneous Events Throughout the State 

AG James Has Taken More Than 7,000 Firearms Out of Communities Since 2019

In support of Attorney General Letitia James’ effort to organize the first-ever statewide gun buyback in New York history, which removed more than 3,000 guns out of communities this past Saturday, elected officials and community organizations throughout the state and nation expressed their appreciation. Since taking office in 2019, Attorney General James has taken more than 7,000 firearms out of communities through gun buyback events and other measures.

“New York continues to be a national leader in smart, effective gun laws. And as a result, it has one of the lowest gun death rates in the country — 63 percent below the national average,” said David Pucino, Deputy Chief Counsel, Giffords Law Center. “Attorney General James’ leadership has been critical to New York’s success in fighting gun violence, but there is more work to do. This weekend’s buyback got more potentially dangerous guns off the streets. And while we can never know whose lives will be saved by this initiative, we know fewer families will be victimized by gun violence. Thank you to everyone who made this happen.”

“We applaud Attorney General Letitia James for continuing to take proactive steps to keep our communities safe,” said Shari Maurer, Volunteer, New York Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “New York is demonstrating its ongoing commitment to a multi-faceted approach to saving lives and we look forward to continuing to partner with her office and lawmakers to keep New York a national leader in the gun safety movement.”

“It is critical that we do everything we can to make sure that people who are potentially a danger to themselves or others, do not have access to guns in the first place,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “I am proud that the Suffolk County Police Department is able to partner with Attorney General Letitia James to host this important community gun buyback event. I would also like to thank the Attorney General for her continued efforts to get dangerous weapons off of our streets.”

“Guns in the wrong hands can lead to deadly, tragic consequences, which is why gun buyback programs are a powerful law enforcement tool that can lead to a reduction in gun violence,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison. “I commend Attorney General James for championing these events, and I am proud the Suffolk County Police Department participated in the first statewide community gun buyback that will certainly have a positive impact in the community.”

“Getting firearms off our streets is a collective effort and gun buybacks are one component of a multi-pronged strategy employed by my office,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “We were proud to partner with Attorney General Letitia James this weekend, as part of her statewide initiative that helped reduce the number of guns that can fall into the wrong hands. We will continue to use every available tool to fight against gun violence and I thank our Attorney General and everyone else who contributed to the success of today’s event.”

“Gun violence is a nationwide epidemic, one which has claimed far too many victims in Ulster County,” said Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger. “We must take a multifaceted approach to this crisis, and every illegal, unwanted, or improperly secured firearm that we can remove from our community helps make us safer. Thank you to Attorney General James and her staff, along with the Sheriff’s Office and Kingston Police Department, for hosting this important event.”

“I want to thank the Attorney General, the City of Kingston Police Department, and our community leaders in their effort to get guns off the streets,” said Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa. “Gun buyback programs are paired with gun safety in an effort to reduce the illegal use of guns.”

“I want to thank the Attorney General’s Office for their investment in the safety of Kingston and their ongoing efforts to end gun violence in our community,” said Kingston Mayor Steve Noble. “These initiatives are known to remove guns from the community and potentially save lives. We had a very successful gun buyback event in 2022, and I look forward to working with Attorney General Letitia James’ team again to get even more firearms off the streets with this year’s event.”

“As police officers, we see firsthand the impact that programs like the gun buyback can have locally in crime reduction,” said Kingston Police Chief Egidio Tinti. “We thank the Attorney General’s Office for hosting this event in Kingston and appreciate the support of New York state’s highest law enforcement agency. I look forward to collaborating further with the Attorney General’s Office and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office in this crime reduction effort.”

“Instances of gun violence are on the rise across the country. Innocent people become victims for nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli. “In the past few months, our police department has made several gun arrests which has reduced the number of firearms in our community. We commend our police officers and all our neighboring agencies for their outstanding work, but they cannot do it alone. I am thankful that the Office of the Attorney General, along with our neighboring agencies, agreed to provide support. All of us working together can make a difference.”

“Gun violence is not a single solution problem,” said Watervliet Police Chief Joseph Centanni. “I am hopeful that these events will assist in the larger effort to protect exposed populations such as children, those confronted with mental health issues and domestic violence victims.”

“Gun buyback programs can serve as an effective tool to remove firearms from availability preventing them from falling into the wrong hands, including unsuspecting children resulting in accidental discharge,” said Colonie Town Supervisor Peter G. Crummey.

“The Colonie Police Department is committed to reducing gun violence in our surrounding communities and is thankful for the opportunity to participate in this event,” said Colonie Police Chief Michael Woods.

“I’d like to thank Attorney General Letitia James for sponsoring the gun buyback event,” said Green Island Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan. “I hope many guns are surrendered. A life is worth saving no matter the price.”

“Any firearms that we can remove from the capital district streets and beyond can potentially prevent them from being used in criminal and violent acts negatively Impact our communities,” said Green Island Police Chief Christopher Parker. “The Green Island Police Department is proud to participate in the buyback program.”

“I am pleased that we are able to continue partnering with Attorney General James’ Office to host some of the most successful gun buyback programs across the state, acquiring a total of 582 guns in the last two years,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “I urged members of our community to take advantage of this opportunity as we work to reduce gun violence in Syracuse through consistent and multifaceted response.”

“I’d like to thank the Attorney General’s Office for sponsoring another gun buyback event,” said Syracuse Police Chief Joseph Cecile. “Any guns we can secure from falling into the hands of those who would use them for criminal acts and gun violence makes our community safer.”

“We are happy to partner with Attorney General James on the unwanted gun buyback program,” said Johnson City Mayor Martin Meaney. “One of the many ways to curb gun violence is to reduce the number of guns that may become available to bad people. If we remove only one gun from the street that has the potential to fall into criminal hands, we win!”

“We are glad to help present this opportunity for community members to dispose of any unwanted firearms that might otherwise possibly fall into the wrong hands,” said Johnson City Police Chief Brent Dodge.

“To all residents of Clinton County, please continue to take advantage of this wonderful and safe way to properly remove unwanted weapons from your possession,” said Clinton County Sheriff David Favro. “Unwanted weapons can fall into the wrong hands and create serious risk for our community. This is NOT an effort to impede on anyone’s second amendment rights it is a joint agency effort to continue to keep Clinton County safe for all residents and guests.”

“We appreciate the commitment of Attorney General James to reduce guns in our city,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino. “This program continues that commitment and we are pleased to partner with her in this effort.”

“The NYPD is proud to partner with the New York State Attorney General’s Office in an effort to make our communities safer through this comprehensive gun buyback in both the Bronx and Brooklyn,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs Mark Stewart. “Gun violence continues to be a pressing issue in our city. Lives are often lost to senseless gun-related incidents, and it is our shared responsibility to take action to prevent further tragedies. The gun buybacks are just one of the many steps we are taking to promote public safety and prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.”

“I appreciate the partnership between Attorney General James, our municipal leaders, and local police departments to keep firearms from getting into the wrong hands,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. “These efforts not only make our neighborhoods safer for residents, but they also protect our police and other first responders when they answer an emergency call.”

“Gun violence is an all too familiar issue for many residents and families in our borough, which is why we need partners like Attorney General James who are committed to ending the proliferation of guns in our communities,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Every New Yorker has a fundamental right to feel safe in their neighborhood and initiatives like this gun buyback are essential in removing illegal guns off our streets. I want to thank Attorney General James for her leadership and commitment to making our state safe.”

“The most effective way to reduce gun violence in our communities is to reduce the number of illegal guns on our streets,” said State Senator Monica R. Martinez (NY-4th District. “I thank Attorney General James for partnering up with my office and SCPD on this important event which will undoubtedly aid in saving lives. Working together with local law enforcement agencies and stakeholders across the state on gun buyback initiatives will make our state safer; we remain committed to keeping Long Islanders safe.”

“I’m thankful to Attorney General Letitia James and the other partners of the gun buyback program for hosting this event,” said State Senator Julia Salazar (NY-18th District). “The gun buyback program provides community members with an incentive to improve public safety and decrease the number of firearms in our neighborhoods.”

“Gun violence is a pervasive public health crisis, but gun buyback programs are an important tool in our toolbox that help make our streets safer,” said State Senator Michelle Hinchey (NY-41st District). “I’m grateful to Attorney General Letitia James for collaborating with the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and Kingston Police Department to bring this community-led event to Kingston, creating a trusted space for our residents to get unwanted guns off the streets. We will continue to elevate every solution possible to make Kingston and New York a safer place for everyone.”

“Collecting unwanted firearms is an important community service and I appreciate Attorney General Letitia James’ actions to ensure public safety in Central New York,” said State Senator John W. Mannion (NY- 50th District). “This event is the safe, responsible, and legal way to remove any unwanted firearms from your home.”

“As a former police detective, I understand how important it is to get guns off our streets to ensure the safety of our community,” said State Assembly Deputy Speaker Phil Ramos (NY- 6th District). In New York state, I am proud that we passed the Red Flag Law, which helps police departments stop threats before they happen. “This gun buyback program, hosted by Attorney General James, is another great tool to ensure that we do everything possible to address the growing gun epidemic in our nation.”

“Putting together events such as the amnesty gun buyback program has been effective in getting illegal firearms off the street, especially in high crimes areas. It’s a alarming reality to know that gun violence has plagued our local communities, our country and even worldwide, it is through these programs and having stricter gun laws that bring us a step closer towards eradicating gun violence,” said Assemblymember Maritza Davila (NY-53rd District). “The problem persists because gun are easily accessible. We also need to fix the mental health and drug abuse crisis to ensure people don’t give in to the temptation of giving up or harming others. People need resources, emotional support and guidance, this is also where our focus should be.”

“Unwanted guns in our homes need to be disposed of safely. Events like this one curb gun violence by accepting firearms, with no questions asked, in exchange for compensation,” said Assemblymember John T. McDonald III (NY- 108th District). “We need to work together to combat our current public safety challenges and make our streets safer. Thank you to Attorney General James and the local police departments who worked together to make this event happen.”

“I want to thank Attorney General James for conducting another gun buyback program in our community,” said Assemblymember Donna Lupardo (NY-123rd District). “Removing unwanted guns off the streets is a commonsense approach to public safety, one that is always well attended. I’d also like to thank the Johnson City Police Department and the Johnson City Senior Center for hosting this very important event.”

“I am proud to stand with the Attorney General to reduce gun violence in our streets. While today’s gun buyback captured what was voluntarily brought in, that’s less firearms in circulation for bad actors to purchase or otherwise acquire,” said Assemblymember Pamela Hunter (NY- 128th District). “Unwanted and unmonitored guns can also lead to accidental shootings within households. I am thankful to everyone who participated and made use of this program to potentially save lives.”

“I want to thank Attorney General Letitia James and the Syracuse Police Department for co-sponsoring another successful gun buyback program here in Syracuse,” said Assemblymember William Magnarelli (NY- 129th District). “Getting guns off the streets will help to keep our community safe. I urge members of our community to take advantage of this program.”

“New York is a national leader in gun violence prevention, but we still have too many neighbors and loved ones stolen by gun violence,” said New York City Council Member Lincoln Restler (NY- 33rd District). “I’m grateful to Attorney General Letitia James and District Attorney Eric Gonzalez for their work to fight back against the gun industry and their commitment to making our neighborhoods safer through local interventions like today’s gun buyback.”

This past Saturday featured nine simultaneous gun buyback events held regionally in partnership with local law enforcement agencies and public officials. This historic event resulted in the collection of more than 3,000 guns, including 185 assault weapons, 1,656 handguns, and 823 long guns. A breakdown of the firearms collected by region is as follows:

Long Island
Hauppauge – 462 guns

New York City
Brooklyn – 90 guns
The Bronx – 70 guns

Hudson Valley
Kingston – 235 guns

Capital Region
Watervliet – 358 guns

Central New York 
Syracuse – 751 guns

Southern Tier
Johnson City – 340 guns

North Country
Plattsburgh – 265 guns

Western New York 
Niagara Falls – 505 guns