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Peekskill Police Plan Gun Buyback Program For March

Peekskill police plan to hold a gun buyback program in March to help get unwanted or illegal guns off the streets.
Peekskill police plan to hold a gun buyback program in March to help get unwanted or illegal guns off the streets. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Peekskill will be one of four Westchester County cities to offer a gun buyback program in March.

Peekskill Police will join law enforcement in several municipalities in holding gun buyback programs with the help of the county.

The Westchester Department of Public Safety is interested in holding such a program in the city, acting Peekskill Police Chief Eric Johansen told Common Council members Tuesday night.

“The idea is to have it in four locations throughout the county, two in the south and two in the north, including Peekskill,” said Johansen. “The idea is for us to cover the initial $2,500 in buybacks. We haven’t set up how much we’re going to offer for each weapon. But in the initial discussion, we had the idea to target assault rifles, and by target I mean offer the most money for those kinds of weapons.”

The city would work with county police to determine the amount to offer, Johansen said. The city should get the $2,500 from its asset forfeiture budget line, he said.

“There are a lot of people that have these guns because maybe someone passed away in their family, and maybe they don’t want the responsibility and they just don’t know how to get rid of them. And it’s not the kind of thing you can just toss away in the garbage,” Johansen said.

New York State residents who own assault weapons that have been banned under this month’s new gun control laws are not required to turn in those guns because they are “grandfathered” under the law, Johansen said. The high-capacity magazines — exceeding seven bullets — that were just outlawed can be owned for one year.

Peekskill police are also creating a tip line and reward program to help locate illegal firearms. In a program, residents could anonymously tip off police.

“I’m really glad this is something we’re taking initiative to do,” Deputy Mayor Drew Claxton said. “It’s worked really well in other communities, and I’m glad that the county is involved because guns don’t stop at the [city] border.”

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