Updated: May 25, 2021 03:20 PM
Created: May 20, 2021 06:48 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Prior to all the news last Wednesday and Thursday, the mayor's office announced a gun buyback program in partnership with the New York State Attorney General’s office and local churches.
This Wednesday, people can bring in firearms — working or non-working — in exchange for a gift card and no questions asked. News10NBC's Jenny Ly spoke with a faith leader and a sergeant from Rochester Police Department to learn more about the program.
“Anonymity is very important. We're not going to record any information regarding the individuals turning in the gun,” said Sgt. Steve Ward of the Rochester Police Department.
Sgt. Ward, who is with the firearms training unit with Rochester Police Department, says the goal of this community gun buyback program is to make the streets of Rochester as safe as possible.
“Any gun that we can take off the streets is one less gun that can be related to violence,” Sgt. Ward said.
Since teaming with the attorney general’s office in 2016, Sgt. Ward says an average of 130 firearms are turned in each year. Community leaders believe this anonymous program could be a step in the right direction.
“It seems as though what I've seen when they leave, they feel like they have done something to help better their community when they're giving these guns away,” said Terrance Youmans, senior pastor of the Church of Love Faith in Rochester.
“I would just say to our community to participate. We have suffered, and we've seen within the news what violence has done to our community and how it has plagued our community. Even though this is not the one all end all, we all can play a part in the small piece to just curb violence within our community, to make our community a safer and better place,” Pastor Youmans said.
The gun buyback program will take place at Church of Love Faith on Wednesday, May 26 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Gift cards will be made right on-site provided by the New York State Attorney General’s office. The attorney general’s office and Sgt. Ward noted that the payments are much higher this year than in years past with the hope that it will incentivize more guns to be turned in.
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