NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — A gun buyback event was held Saturday in Niagara Falls, resulting in 196 firearms taken off the streets, State Attorney General Letitia James announced.
“We just need to get these guns off of the streets,” Niagara County Legislator Owen Steed said. “We need to stop this cycle of violence that’s going on. We need to go back to what we used to be doing. We need to learn to communicate better with each other and put these guns down.”
Gun violence has been a growing concern among Western New Yorkers.
“There’s been an uptick in violence, especially here in Niagara Falls,” Steed said. “We know that we’re not going to get all of the guns off of the street, but this is a start.”
He was among those promoting the event, which was hosted by the Office of the Attorney General, in collaboration with the Niagara Falls Police Department.
“Since the attorney general has taken office, she has collected more than 1,400 guns off of the streets, which in turn makes our community safer,” Michael Russo, the attorney in charge of the Attorney General’s Buffalo office, said.
He believes the gun buyback program can helps make the streets a safer place.
“It’s a very important program because it allows people who have unwanted guns in their homes, perhaps senior citizens who have lost a loved one, to get these unwanted guns out of their homes and potentially off of the streets if they get stolen,” Russo said.
Though Steed and Russo believe this program is a step in the right direction, Steed says that more needs to be done.
“I suggest they put those guns down,” Steed said. “We need to stop the cycle of violence that is happening.”
“Gun violence is a public health crisis that is endangering communities across the state,” James said in a statement. “From going after the violent drug rings responsible for this violence, to hosting these gun buybacks statewide, we are doing everything in our power to get guns off our streets and out of dangerous hands. We thank our partners in law enforcement for their invaluable support in this effort and shared commitment to ensuring all New Yorkers are safe.”
The 196 firearms collected Saturday included 92 handguns, 80 long guns, four assault rifles and 20 non-working or antique guns. James has held eight gun buybacks so far this year across the state.