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Franklin County gun buyback program begins Wednesday

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AKWESASNE - Wednesday will be the first day county residents can surrender unwanted firearms and receive some money for doing so.

From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Hogansburg/Akwesasne or Constable volunteer fire departments, residents can participate in Franklin County’s first gun buyback program, according to a news release from the county district attorney’s office.

The county board of legislators approved the idea when Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne requested funding for it during the legislature’s meeting on Dec. 20.

“We’re asking public safety for funding for this,” he said during the meeting. “We may have a chance to get them [guns] off the street in the next few weeks.”

Legislators allocated $5,000 for the program.

The gun buyback is in response to recent shootings throughout the nation, most recently the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“The goal of the program is to reduce firearm-related violent crime by taking firearms off the streets and encourage community participation in an effort to deter firearm violence,” according to the release.

To qualify for the program, the firearms must be in working condition.

For any shotgun or rifle, the owner will receive $25, handguns or assault rifles can be turned in for $150 each, while $20 will be given for “high capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” according to a news release.

Despite the legality of the weapons, no questions will be asked at the drop off site. While people can turn in as many firearms as they wish, a maximum of $450 will be given.

“There are people who don’t know what to do with these things,” Mr. Champagne said on Dec. 20.

All firearms should be placed in a plastic bag or cardboard box when being brought for drop off and should be transported in the trunk of a vehicle, according to the news release, which adds that payout will be awarded once the firearms is deemed in good working condition.

The release also says that any law enforcement officers – active or retired – along with licensed gun dealers cannot participate.

Anyone who is unable to make it to the program on Wednesday should not be discouraged as the release states more drop off sites will be determined and times scheduled throughout the county.

The program is a joint effort between the county district attorney’s office, New York State Police, county sheriff’s department, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police.

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