Nassau County gun buyback collects nearly 200 guns

The Nassau County Police Department hosted a Gun Buyback Program Saturday Sept. 29, at the Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, Long Island.

“The more guns we take off the streets, the better the streets will be,” said Detective Sergeant Patrick Ryder, commanding officer of the asset forfeiture and intelligence division of the Nassau County Police Department.

Nassau County gun buyback

To prevent accidental shootings and to keep firearms off of the street, the Nassau County Police Department hosted a gun buyback that collected 184 guns.

Progress over time

Beginning in December 2008, approximately 2,000 guns have been bought back by the county. The event Saturday collected 184 guns from the area.

The program was strictly anonymous, with police paying $200 for each unlicensed, operable gun. Chris Munzing, spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said the the gun-for-cash transactions was funded with forfeiture accounts from the Nassau district attorney’s office and the police. A forfeiture account allows a certain percentage of profit made by a company from a fundraiser to be set aside for a specific use later.

Removal of firearms

Getting illegal  and dangerous weapons off the streets prevents them from being used in the “commission of a crime,” Munzing said, “and eliminates the possibility of an accidental shooting in the home.”

Ryder said the guns collected are “accident guns,” meaning they may be guns owned by retired World War II veterans that “happened to be found by their granddaughters,” for example, and could lead to accidental shootings.

Ryder said the real gun problems started about 10 years ago with the crack epidemic. Once the drug invaded Long Island, “then came the gangs, and then came the guns.” The Nassau County Police Department teamed up with the district attorney’s office to lower the risk of accidental gun injuries, thus resulting in the buy back program.

A local church or parish typically hosts the program. This year, the Perfecting Faith Church volunteered its space for the event. Michael Longott, front desk manager of the church, said the parish “just really wants to get them [the guns] off the streets.”

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