The program gives out donated gift certificates, ranging from $100 to $1000 for each gun turned in, depending on condition and type of gun. Non working or antique guns fetch a lower redemption figure than semi-automatics.
And while academic studies nationwide are skeptical about how effective such programs are at reducing crime, Brown was surrounded by true believers who are behind the effort, as he announced the effort..
"We as chaplains are heartsick, that we have to attend so many funerals," said Rev. James Lewis, the chief Buffalo police chaplain, at Erie County Medical Center.
Lewis was one of several clergy on hand to support the Mayor's effort, along with other East Side anti violence advocates.
"This does work in our community,'" says Dwayne Ferguson of the anti violence group MAD DADS. "I've seen it. 20 percent down. I am out on the streets everyday, and I've seen it work.
Several academic studies say such programs are far better at community outreach than actually reducing gun crime.
"The theoretical premise for gun buy-back programs is that the program will lead to fewer guns on the streets because fewer guns are available for either theft or trade, and that consequently violence will decline." wrote the National Research Council's committee on Law and Justice in a 2004 report. " It is the committee’s view that the theory underlying gun buy-back programs is badly flawed and the empirical evidence demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these programs..
Locally, Buffalo State College's Criminal Justice Professor James Sobol has come to a similar conclusion, but Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda disagrees.
"We believe that it has been effective. We can never prove that it has saved a life but I believe it has. ..13,59 handguns alone have been turned in in the previous five gun buybacks. That's a huge number of handguns, and I believe that most of those guns would be illegal. I don't know too many permit holders turning in handguns"
Here's the announcement of the buyback program, released by the Mayor's office.
“The penalty of owning an illegal gun in New York is now tougher than ever,” said Mayor Brown, noting that since 2006, the City of Buffalo has removed more than 10,000 guns from city streets, nearly 3,700 of those weapons seized through the Gun BuyBack program. “Instead of having guns laying around the house where anyone can get to them, we expect people who have illegal guns or unwanted guns to use this Gun BuyBack event as an opportunity to get those weapons out of their possession.”
The past five gun buyback efforts have yielded a total of 3,697 guns turned in by city residents. Participants received over $100,000 through pre-paid credit card incentives, distributed at each drop-off location.
“I recognize that this single Gun BuyBack effort will not eliminate the illegal weapons on our city streets,” said Mayor Brown. “We may never know how many crimes we’ve prevented as a result of past Gun BuyBack events, but we do know there won’t be a tragic shooting in Buffalo tied to the guns we collected.”
Buffalo Police Commissioner Dan Derenda said, “We have reduced overall crime by nearly 20% since 2005 and made getting dangerous weapons off the streets a top priority.”
The gun buyback runs from 9am to 5pm in the following locations:
East Side Location: True Bethel Baptist Church 907 East Ferry Street
South Buffalo Location: St. Thomas Aquinas Church 450 Abbott Road
Downtown Location: St. John Baptist Church 184 Goodell Street
West Side Location: Prince of Peace Christian Church190 Albany Street
North Buffalo Location: Primera United Methodist Church 62 Virginia Street
Church of the Good Shepherd 96 Jewett Parkway
Riverside Location: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church 213 Ontario Street
“This Gun Buyback program raises awareness about where people can take unwanted guns, and they can be a lifeline for people who may be threatened by guns in the home,” Brown stated. “I want to thank all of our participating faith-based organizations and their respective pastors for their commitment to the safety of our city.”