Westchester gun buyback nets 57 firearms

6 mins read

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that 57 firearms were turned in to law enforcement at a gun buyback event hosted by her office, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Westchester District Attorney Miriam Rocah, and the New Rochelle Police Department. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) accepts — with no questions asked — working and non-working, unloaded firearms in exchange for compensation on site. To date, Attorney General James has taken more than 2,100 firearms out of communities through gun buyback events and other efforts since taking office in 2019.

“The threat of gun violence continues to loom over our neighborhoods and endanger our families and children,” said Attorney General James. “From taking down violent groups responsible for causing harm to hosting gun buybacks and working with organizations addressing this crisis — we are doing everything we can to eradicate gun violence and protect our communities in Westchester and throughout the state. My office is fully committed to preserving public safety, and we thank our partners for their invaluable support and shared commitment in this effort.”

“Thank you to Attorney General Letitia James for once again showing her commitment to keeping our streets safe,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “Since 2017 in Westchester County, we have seen a decrease in index crimes by 11 percent and an increase in weapons secured by our county police by 370 percent. Programs like this gun buyback, coupled with the hard work of our men and women in law enforcement, result in fewer lives lost due to senseless gun violence. I look forward to future collaborations, like this one, to further ensure the safety of all Westchester residents.”

“Every gun that was brought in today will make our communities safer,” said Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah. “Allowing people to safely remove unwanted guns from their homes can help reduce many of the risks associated with having a firearm, including suicide, domestic violence, and unintentional deaths of children. It will also help prevent these guns from falling into the wrong hands and making our streets less safe. We thank New York Attorney General James, the County Executive, and the New Rochelle Police Department for partnering with us on this essential public safety initiative.”

“We are hopeful that the gun buyback program will have an impact on violent crime in New Rochelle,” said New Rochelle Police Commissioner Robert Gazzola. “We know that collecting unwanted guns will be beneficial to our community.”

Today’s community gun buyback resulted in 57 guns being collected, including 25 handguns, 29 shotguns and rifles, two assault rifles, and a non-working gun. Since 2013, OAG has hosted gun buyback events throughout New York state and has successfully collected nearly 4,100 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.

“The pain that gun violence inflicts on a community is devastating and has a ripple effect. I am proud to stand with Attorney General Letitia James, my colleagues in government, and our partners in law enforcement at today’s gun buyback event as we remove so many guns from our streets,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “As Senate Majority Leader, I was proud to pass the municipal gun buyback program that helped make events like this possible, and so glad that we have passed many gun safety bills including the bump stock ban, the red flag law, and improving background checks for gun purchases. We will continue our fight to ensure a future where our children, families, and communities can live safely from this threat of senseless violence.”

“Too many families have experienced the grief of losing a loved one due to gun violence,” said State Senator Shelley B. Mayer. “New York state has enacted some of the strongest gun violence prevention measures, and one important piece of that is providing people who have guns in their homes a safe way to dispose of them. I applaud Attorney General Letitia James, District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah, County Executive George Latimer, and the New Rochelle Police Department for organizing this gun buyback. We must continue to do everything we can to stop gun violence in our community, in our state, and in our country.”

“Gun violence is a public health crisis, and we must treat it as such,” said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. “To effectively address this epidemic, we must utilize restorative and innovative approaches, because criminalization and mass incarceration are not the solution — they are part of the problem. I am grateful to Attorney General James for spearheading this gun buyback event, ensuring that we get dangerous weapons off the streets and protect our communities from harm.”

“Smart and innovative approaches in the safe disposal of unwanted firearms, like gun buyback events, help prevent guns from ending up in the wrong hands,” said State Senator Pete Harckham. “I applaud Attorney General James for organizing these events around the state — she is serious about decreasing gun violence and working hard each day to make our communities safer.”

“Thank you, Attorney General James, Westchester County District Attorney Rocah, and the city of New Rochelle Police Department for providing a safe, no-questions-asked method to reduce the number of guns in our communities,” said State Assemblymember Amy Paulin. “We need to do everything we can to stem our nation’s gun violence epidemic. This program is a proactive way to get guns off of our streets and in turn protect the health and safety of our residents.”

“I commend New York Attorney General Letitia James for bringing this most important event to Westchester County,” said State Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow. “Allowing the public to turn in firearms to government agencies on a no questions asked basis undoubtedly has in impact on reducing the number of lethal weapons in the community and in turn, decreasing violent crimes that plague many of our cities and towns.”

“In the wrong hands, guns kill people,” said State Assemblymember Tom Abinanti. “Every gun we get off the street, is one less gun for the wrong hands.”

“Gun violence leads to tragedy and loss of life. Gun buyback programs are a vital tool to remove guns from circulation and have the support of state government and the legislature,” said State Assemblymember Steve Otis. “These programs save lives. New Rochelle appreciates Attorney General James, District Attorney Rocah, and the New Rochelle Police Department for bringing this program to our community.”

“We have to use every opportunity we can to get guns off our streets,” said State Assemblymember Sandy Galef. “The gun buyback program has been very successful in many communities. In my Assembly District, Peekskill had a notable buyback program that brought in so many guns to help keep our residents out of harm’s way. Each one of these efforts will help us save lives as we cut back on violence in our daily lives.”

“Gun violence has long been a crisis that has caused so much needless tragedy in our country,” said State Assemblymember Chris Burdick. “Families and communities have been torn apart. The buyback program is extremely effective in getting guns off the street. I am grateful to Attorney General James for making this happen.”

“Gun violence is a public health emergency that claims the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each and every year,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “That is why New Rochelle is partnering with Attorney General James, District Attorney, County Executive, and local law enforcement on this important initiative — one part of a broader strategy to make our families and communities safer.”

“We want these guns off the streets. My mother used to always say, a bullet doesn’t have a name on it,” said Paul Hood, president, Westchester Rockland Guardians Association. “Unfortunately there was one with my niece Sabrina’s name on it. I can’t help but think that she and thousands of others would still be here if there were fewer guns on the streets. So for me, it’s personal. We must use every tool possible to get guns off the streets!”

“Attorney General James and District Attorney Rocah have been dedicated champions of the gun safety movement in New York, including in Westchester County where gun violence continues to threaten our communities,” said Barry Graubart, Moms Demand Action. “We are pleased to continue supporting their commendable work to provide proactive support and resources to deeply affected communities in our state.”

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 12 gun buybacks across the state, and has also secured dozens of dangerous firearms through takedowns of violent groups terrorizing New York. To date, Attorney General James has taken a total of more than 2,100 guns out of communities since 2019.

Share your thoughts...