Tonawanda News

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June 8, 2014

Officials pleased with another strong turnout for Falls gun buy-back

Tonawanda News — NIAGARA FALLS — What determines the success of a firearms buy-back program?

Some say it’s the numbers, a telling statistic that law enforcement can use to tout effectiveness. Given the size of Niagara Falls, the number of weapons surrendered last year, totaled at 140, certainly seemed effective.

This year, expectations were lower for Saturday’s second annual event. But Michael Russo, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Buffalo regional office, said there wasn’t anywhere near as much decline in participation as was believed.

“We think it’s been very successful,” he said Saturday afternoon. “We’ve had (more than) 100 guns turned in, so far. We’re very pleased with the results today.”

Quantifying the results is a difficult task, he said, because everyone’s view of a gun program such as this is different. But he said the attorney general’s office, which has sponsored a handful of such programs across the state in the last six months, believes every single gun collected is valuable if it is permanently out of reach of those who would use it to do harm.

In addition, he said, the program allows those who don’t want to have guns in their house to safely remove them. Whether they’re firearms left in the car of someone after a relative or spouse passed away, or unwanted in any other way, the program removes any sort of burden from those who have them in their homes.

Niagara Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto, whose department self-funded the program last year, agreed, saying there’s no mandates with the buyback. Everything is voluntary and often leads to only a peace of mind once completed.

“If you’re a responsible gun owner, then more power to you,” he said. “But this program revolves around the fact it’s voluntary, with people coming in turning in firearms they no longer want.

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