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State gun buyback program comes to Rochester

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman speaks during a statewide gun buyback press conference on Arnett Boulevard in Rochester on Saturday. With him, from left, are Ray Bradley, Susan Morehouse of the Southwest Gun Buyback Committee, Scotty Wall and Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard. The Southwest Gun Buyback Committee consists of a growing list of sponsors, including the attorney general’s office, whose collective goal is to reduce gun violence in their communities. Vasiliy Baziuk

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman speaks during a statewide gun buyback press conference on Arnett Boulevard in Rochester on Saturday. With him, from left, are Ray Bradley, Susan Morehouse of the Southwest Gun Buyback Committee, Scotty Wall and Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard. The Southwest Gun Buyback Committee consists of a growing list of sponsors, including the attorney general’s office, whose collective goal is to reduce gun violence in their communities. Vasiliy Baziuk

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman was in town late last week to kick off a statewide gun buyback program to try to reduce gun violence.

In exchange for guns with no questions asked, the attorney general issued cash debit cards in varying amounts. For instance, a $25 card was given for antique and non-working firearms, up to $100 for assault weapons.

A $25 gift card to a local grocery store was also issued for each gun by the Southwest Gun Buyback Committee, which partnered with the attorney general’s office and the Rochester Police Department in hosting the event Saturday at 342 Arnett Blvd.

The Southwest Gun Buyback Committee consists of a growing list of sponsors, including the attorney general’s office, whose collective goal is to reduce gun violence in their communities.

“By encouraging gun owners to turn in their weapons through our cash-for-guns program, we’re removing deadly firearms from locations where they can be stolen or otherwise misused, keeping them out of the wrong hands,” Schneiderman said in a release. “Every day, my office fights to ensure all New Yorkers are safe and secure in their communities. Along with vigorously enforcing our state’s gun laws, I’m proud that my office has taken this additional step to stop the outbreak of gun violence that has plagued our communities.”

Scotty Wall, right, speaks during a press conference on the statewide gun buyback Saturday. He is joined by Susan Morehouse, left, of the Southwest Gun Buyback Committee and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.  Vasiliy Baziuk

Scotty Wall, right, speaks during a press conference on the statewide gun buyback Saturday. He is joined by Susan Morehouse, left, of the Southwest Gun Buyback Committee and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. Vasiliy Baziuk

Additional buybacks are planned in the coming weeks at sites in Binghamton, Poughkeepsie, Utica, Yonkers and Cheektowaga.

In 2011, close to 33,000 Americans were victims of gun-related deaths, according to the release. The Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence reports an average of 268 people is shot every day in America. That’s 97,820 people per year.

“This gun buyback event is our effort to control the gun violence that plagues our communities and help us take back our streets,” said Susan Morehouse of the Southwest Gun Buyback Committee. “I have seen too many people lose loved ones to this epidemic, and we could no longer stand by and do nothing.”

Police Chief James Sheppard said his department’s main focus is to reduce violence “The main focus of the Rochester Police Department is to reduce violence and that every gun turned in reduces the chance for a violent act to occur.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Debra Martin, assistant attorney general in charge, Rochester Regional Office, look over the guns on display.  Vasiliy Baziuk

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Debra Martin, assistant attorney general in charge, Rochester Regional Office, look over the guns on display. Vasiliy Baziuk

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, left, speaks during a press conference Saturday about the gun buyback. He is joined by Scotty Wall, center, and Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard. Vasiliy Baziuk

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, left, speaks during a press conference Saturday about the gun buyback. He is joined by Scotty Wall, center, and Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard. Vasiliy Baziuk