Tonawanda News

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February 24, 2013

City's first-ever gun buy-back program gets more than 100 weapons off the street

Gun buy-back gets weapons off the street

Tonawanda News — NIAGARA FALLS — Falls Mayor Paul Dyster wasn’t necessarily a fan of police agencies buying firearms from civilians to keep the streets safe.

He said he’s always questioned the events, wondering if they made as much of a dent in criminal activity as the hype it creates.

Then he got a good look at what the city’s first-ever buyback resulted in and quickly flipped his thinking.

“I’ve always been skeptical of these gun buybacks,” he said Saturday. “Part of me wonders if we got these results because we’ve never done this before. But there was a whole lot of good done here today. The response has been overwhelming. It’s amazing to see the variety of firearms coming in today.”

Det. John Faso, who led the effort to purchase the weapons, said the amount far exceeded his expectations for the first event of its kind in the city. 

Police offered varying amounts of money to anyone willing to turn over a gun, based on both condition of the firearm and its classification. Owners of assault rifles were given $100, handguns $75. Long guns like rifles and shotguns were traded for $50, while police provided $10 for all non-working guns, no matter the type.

Dyster said the majority of the people he talked to at the event — the ones willing to talk — simply came into possession of the guns they sold to the city and decided to get rid of them.

“A lot of people ended up with guns maybe they didn’t want,” he said. “Like if a relative died, and they simply didn’t know what to do with them. So they brought them here because they maybe were afraid someone would break in and steal them and use them in a crime. But we also got some scary guns brought in so it’s nice to keep the streets safe.”

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