Bernalillo County To Hold First Gun Buyback Event This Saturday

Guns on display at County press conference announcing buyback dates

In the wake of recent mass shootings, several cities and counties have started gun-by back programs, hoping to reduce the number of dangerous weapons on the streets. Last month Santa Fe held a successful buy-back weekend. Tuesday Bernalillo County Commissioners announced a no-questions asked Safe Surrender and Buyback program for February 9 and 23rd.

County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley says gun-owners should bring their unloaded but working firearms to one of two designated sites on those days. In return they’ll get a cash card per gun worth from $150 to 200 dollars. “It is our hope that the Safe Surrender will be successful in promoting a safer community by encouraging individuals and families to take inventory of their firearms,” O'Malley said at the press conference announcing the program.

Most of the firearms will be melted down for school art projects around the County. 

Safe Surrender: Bernalillo County Gun Buy-Back Program FAQ

Bernalillo County answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about its Safe Surrender Gun Buy-Back Program to take place on Feb. 9 and Feb. 23, 2013.

1) What is the gun buy-back program?

This gun buy-back will compensate individuals for the voluntary surrender of firearms, while engaging our community towards a common goal of reducing gun violence. Initiated by County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, the county is partnering with Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office to collect firearms where individuals can surrender their firearms - no questions asked.

2) What are the dates and locations?

Two locations have been selected for where the gun buy-back program will take place:

Feb. 9, 2013: North Valley Command Center, 6900 4th St NW

Feb. 23, 2013: South Area Command Center, 2039 Isleta Blvd. SW

3) What are the times?

The gun buy-back will take place from 9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

4) What is the amount per gun?

Here’s what will be compensated:

·       Long guns (rifles or shotguns), $100;

·       Handguns, $150;

·       High capacity or assault weapons (semi-automatic, magazine fed, military style rifle or carbine), $200.

All guns must be unloaded and operational to be accepted for payment.

Ammunition and non-operational weapons may be surrendered for destruction but no payment will be made.

5) Will I be given cash?

Individuals will be compensated with pre-paid VISA cards.

6) Is this a sting? Will the Sheriff’s Office be taking pictures of participants and writing down license plate numbers?

No. The gun buy-back is not a sting. It is an anonymous process in which individuals can surrender their weapons, no questions asked. Law enforcement officials will not be taking pictures of participants, nor will they be logging license plate numbers or running ballistic tests on the guns that are turned in.

7) What officials will be monitoring the program on the day of the gun buy-back?

A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy will be on site during the scheduled dates to determine if the submitted firearm is operational and safely unloaded.

8) Is there a limit to how many firearms I can turn in?

No. However, we reserve the right to limit the amount of funds an individual can receive, regardless of the amount of firearms the individual has surrendered.

9) What happens if I decide to turn in a gun at the gun buy-back, then I decide I want to keep it?

Once a firearm is surrendered at the gun buy-back it becomes property of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, at which time the firearm will not be returned.

10) What happens if you run out of funds?

The quantity of funds is limited and subject to availability.

11) Will you check for lost or stolen status of the weapons? If so, will you return to owner?

Yes. All weapons will be checked for lost or stolen status. Stolen checks will not be conducted on site and clear “title” to the weapon is not a pre-condition to surrender a weapon. Every effort will be made to return lost and/or stolen firearms to their rightful owners.

12) What will happen to the weapons once they are collected?

All weapons will be checked for lost or stolen status, and if applicable will be returned to their rightful owners. All other firearms will be prepared for destruction by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. Conversations have taken place to use the scrap metal for a school art project.

13) Can I turn in the gun for someone else?

Yes. The gun buy-back is completely anonymous and no questions will be asked.

14) Who can I contact if I have a gun that I want to turn in after the event?

In the event you are not able to attend the gun buy-back event you may contact the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office at (505) 468-7100. However, the gun buy-back event is the only way to receive compensation for the firearm.

15) How is this event being paid for?

Bernalillo County is providing the initial start up funds for up to $50,000 and will be working with Crime Stoppers to secure additional corporate and non-profit program sponsors.

16) Can residents from outside the city turn in their weapons?

Yes. Although the event is specifically geared for residents of Bernalillo County, residency will not be asked upon surrendering of firearms.