ALBANY COUNTY, NY (WRGB) — CBS 6 takes a look at Albany County’s gun buy-back program. At the January event, Sheriff Craig Apple said they needed more gift cards because so many residents turned in guns. Now CBS 6 is asking, has this program made a difference, and are more events on the way? And if so, when could we see more events like this in our area?
Officials say more than $14,000 was handed out back in January, the majority of that in the first hour of the event. Now the sheriff and county legislators say they’re coming up with even more ways to keep guns off our streets.
It was an incredible response from the community at the January gun buyback program. The initiative is funded by Albany County and facilitated by Sheriff Craig Apple’s office. Sheriff Apple says the response shows how important the program is.
"There's a lot of data on gun buybacks and some people say that they don't do anything to stem violence or to you know to remove guns from the street but our theory is this every gun that we get our hands on is another gun that a bad person will not have access to."
County legislator Dustin Reidy tells me how the county has also opened a tipline. Callers can receive up to $500 for the removal of an illegal gun. Reidy says the police and community working together is what makes this successful.
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"In our collaboration with the sheriff’s department who did incredible job our friends of the Westmere fire department who hosted it and you know folks from the community coming out to you know get some unwanted firearms off of their hands get a little bit of compensation for it."
Pastor Charlie Muller of the Victory Church in Albany holds his own gun buyback programs—he tells me how even when the events are over the focus is still to try to eliminate as many illegal guns as possible.
"We just got a gun turned in a week ago that was actually across the street from a murder I believe around Easter so we'll be turning that in ... we're all trying to be very active."
The next gun buyback event will be held this Saturday from 10 am until 2 pm at the village of Colonie fire department. Residents can remain anonymous.