UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – This Saturday, August 27th, the Utica Police Department, in conjunction with the New York State Attorney General’s office, will be hosting a gun buyback event at the Parkway Community Recreation Center in the parking lot off Elm Street. 

“This is an effort to get any unwanted, unused guns that may be lying around people’s homes, you know, guns that family members may have passed away, or guns that are just in the home that they don’t want to get into community members’ hands,” said Sgt. Michael Curley of the Utica Police Department. 

“We’re not necessarily looking for any kind of guns that have been committed in a crime previously or things of that nature, just guns that [could] fall into the wrong hands, that [shouldn’t] end up on the street, guns that potentially could end up in a burglary, things of that nature.” 

And this is not the first time Utica’s held an event like this, so I wanted to check in with the New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, to see just how effective events like this truly are. 

“So, first let me just say that we’ve removed more than 3,000 guns off of the streets since I have been the Attorney General in the great state of New York,” said Attorney General James, “And if you can remove one gun off the street, that’s a success.” 

And with teen gun violence on the rise – it is important that the youth in the city know this event is a safe space. 

“This is a safe space,” said Attorney General James, “And individuals can come forward with their unloaded firearm, in a paper or plastic bag, no questions asked, and in exchange, you will get a debit card, and the debit card can be valued, depending upon the gun, from $100 to $300, no questions asked.” 

She continued, “And you can use that debit card for however you see fit – you can buy groceries, you can buy going back to school supplies, you can use it for some books, or to assist you in any way – but we’ve got to work together, and young people have a responsibility, in particular, to reduce gun violence because young individuals have been in the forefront of so many issues that affect New Yorkers and Americans.” 

“So I need for young people to lead – and also anyone else – grandmothers, grandfathers, individuals that have guns lying around the homes, and they need some extra cash – come over, surrender your gun, get some money, and lunch will be on you!” 

If you are interested in participating in this event, be sure to stop by the Parkway Recreation Center, Saturday, August 27th, from 10 AM to 1 PM.