Largest Gun Buyback in OAG History to Combat Gun Violence
AG James Has Taken Nearly 2,000 Firearms Out of Communities Since 2019
New York – New York Attorney General Letitia James on Saturday, July 24th announced that 342 firearms were turned in to law enforcement at a gun buyback event hosted by her office and the city of Syracuse. Today’s gun buyback — the largest gun buyback in the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) history — comes as Syracuse has experienced an increase in gun violence and sought to curb this devastation by accepting — with no questions asked — working and non-working, unloaded firearms in exchange for compensation on site. To date, Attorney General James has taken nearly 2,000 firearms out of communities through gun buyback events and other efforts since taking office in 2019.
“Gun violence continues to claim lives and threaten communities throughout our state,” said Attorney General James. “With the spike in gun violence ravaging neighborhoods in Syracuse, it is more important than ever that we use every tool at our disposal to protect our families and children. Whether it is taking down the violent drug rings fueling this crisis, hosting gun buybacks, or supporting community groups that are addressing this violence — we are vigorously combating this crisis from every angle. Every gun that was turned in today represents a potential tragedy averted and a potential life saved, and we are grateful to our partners for their support.”
Today’s community gun buyback resulted in 342 guns being collected, including 176 handguns, 119 shotguns and rifles, 11 assault rifles, and 36 non-working or antique guns. Since 2013, OAG has hosted gun buyback events throughout New York state and has successfully collected nearly 4,000 firearms.
In exchange for the firearms, OAG also offered monetary compensation, in the form of prepaid gift cards, and Apple iPads when an unloaded gun was received and secured by an officer on site.
“To successfully combat systemic gun violence requires a multifaceted approach that includes law enforcement, community based interventions, keeping kids in school, and offering them a path to a career,” said State Senator John Mannion. “Attorney General Letitia James is a leader in the crusade against guns and gun violence. Her gun buyback program in Syracuse will get dangerous, unwanted firearms off the streets and out of commission.”
“Gun buybacks are a proven way to limit gun violence in communities,” said State Senator Rachel May. “I applaud Attorney General Letitia James for her initiatives across the state to combat this public health crisis. Thank you to all of our neighbors in Syracuse for taking advantage of this opportunity to reduce the number of weapons on our streets.”
“Gun violence is alarming in Syracuse, New York state, and across our country,” said State Assemblymember Pamela Hunter. “I will continue to fight for commonsense gun legislation to protect the residents of New York. In the meantime, gun buyback programs, like the Attorney General’s, are critically important to get guns off the streets and out of the wrong hands. I’m certain that this program will ultimately save lives.”
“I thank Attorney General James for bringing this gun buyback program to the city of Syracuse. I also commend the people in our community who are taking the initiative to turn in weapons that need to be off our streets and out of our homes,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “Gun violence is a crisis facing cities around the country, including Syracuse. We need to use every strategy available to reduce it. After this gun buyback, I’m confident our city will be safer. And our work to address gun violence on every front will continue.”
Gun violence is a public health crisis that is plaguing communities throughout New York, and today’s event is the latest action that Attorney General James has taken to combat this crisis and protect New Yorkers from harm. This year alone, Attorney General James has held 10 gun buybacks across the state, and has also secured dozens of dangerous firearms through takedowns of violent groups terrorizing New York. Two weeks ago, Attorney General James announced the takedown of two major drug trafficking rings in Syracuse, in which 15 guns, including nine ghost guns, were seized. To date, Attorney General James has taken a total of nearly 2,000 guns out of communities since 2019.