A gun “buy-back” program announced by Bernalillo County and Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers kicks off today at an event in the North Valley.
Local residents can get pre-paid Visa cards valued at up to $200 for every gun they turn in as part of a program. The goal is to get unwanted weapons out of people’s homes, ensuring they aren’t stolen or the cause of an accident. It’s anonymous, and the guns must be unloaded and operational.
The buy-back events are scheduled for today and Feb. 23.
Today’s event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Office North Valley Command Center, 6900 Fourth NW.
The county will offer pre-paid Visa cards of $100 for rifles or shotguns, $150 for handguns and $200 for high-capacity or assault weapons (semiautomatic, magazine-fed, military-style rifle or carbine). There’s no limit on the number of guns a person can turn in, though the county reserves the right to limit the amount of money someone gets for them.
The county has set aside about $50,000 to start the program, and Crime Stoppers will work to find more sponsors.
A sheriff’s deputy will be on hand during the buybacks to ensure the firearms work and are unloaded. But the event is an “anonymous process in which individuals can surrender their weapons, no questions asked,” the county said in written statement.
The weapons will be checked later to see if they’re lost or stolen. If they are, they’ll be returned to the rightful owner. If not, they will be destroyed and perhaps used for scrap metal.
The city of Albuquerque is sponsoring a similar program, though it doesn’t offer payment for surrendered firearms.