The Prayer Tabernacle Church in Amityville held a gun buyback program on Saturday. The program offered cash in exchange for both legal and illegal guns, with the goal of taking the weapons off the streets.
There was an unmarked police car parked outside the church that was accepting the weapons. No questions were asked, and gun owners did not have to worry about facing charges for owning illegal guns.
Almost 90 weapons were taken to the church. Police said they collected 63 hand guns, 10 assault weapons and 15 other types of weapons. The weapons will be destroyed and recycled.
The owners were looking to claim some of the $10,000 in cash that was being given out during the program. However, some of those people walked away disappointed as officials ended up running out of money before all of the weapons could be collected.
Suffolk County police exchanged $100 for hand guns and $300 for assault weapons, and some people even chose to turn in their guns for free. The event was originally scheduled to last for three hours, but the large turnout led to the program ending in less than an hour and a half. Police say that they will hold another gun buyback program for the guns that they were not able to collect.
The program was the result of a combined effort by local businesses, CrimeStoppers, Suffolk County police and the Long Island Men’s Center. It was funded by through the Manes-American Peace Prize Foundation, which is run by Old Westbury resident Harvey Manes. The program was aimed at putting a stop to violent crimes in the neighborhood and improving safety for local residents.
Officials did not say when the next gun buyback program would take place, but more funding will be needed before a second event can be held.