Created: October 14, 2019 08:36 AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) —A few weeks back, Rochester held another gun buyback program. People turned in guns and received a gift card, no questions asked. But some of you had questions about it and you reached out to Pat Taney for this week's Good Question report.
More specifically, a woman whose son was murdered reached out to us about this. Her son's killer was never arrested.
The premise seems simple: have an old gun, turn it in, and get a gift card.
"They can bring it down to us without anyone looking into criminal charges or anything like that," said Deputy Chief Mark Mura.
During the September buyback event, Rochester took around 130 guns off the streets.
Pat Taney, News10NBC: “What if that gun was used in a crime? Is it tested?”
Deputy Chief Mura: “We run all [the] serial numbers on any firearms that are operational, and if it appears it was stolen or used in a crime then we will run ballistic tests on them and do normal standard procedures with any firearm.”
We were also told that if the person who brings it in used it in a crime, there's no way of knowing on the spot and so they will not be charged. Again, the event's promise is no questions asked.
"If someone was under the impression that they could be in trouble by bringing in the firearm, we never would get that gun off the street," Deputy Chief Mura said.
Those ballistic tests are done days after the buyback event so there's no way of knowing on the spot if the gun turned in was used in a crime. Police say, though, that it doesn't necessarily mean a person who committed a crime would be off scot-free.
"We absolutely will prosecute anyone who's committed a crime and we will do our normal investigative steps to make sure that takes place," Deputy Mura said. "So in no way, shape, or form, does us having a gun buyback exonerate someone from the crime they committed. We will absolutely 100% follow through with any investigation and arrest thereafter."
We also asked police if any guns at past buyback events were found to be used in crimes after they were tested in our area, and we were told no. In the most recent event, only one out of the 130 collected was found to be stolen.
If you have a question you'd like answered, send Pat an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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