NMSP reflects on success of statewide gun buyback event
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Hundreds of people turned in guns they didn’t want at a statewide gun buyback event.
“We wanted a lot of attendees a lot of participation, and we definitely got that,” said NMSP Public Information Officer Lt. Phillip Vargas.
Vargas is talking about the long line of cars at Expo New Mexico Saturday morning.
“We’d rather have those firearms that are unwanted, unneeded, versus somebody burglarizing their home, and then getting those firearms from them,” said Vargas.
Vargas says the gun buyback event was even more successful than they could’ve hoped for.
The event was part of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s latest public health order. Each person who turned in a gun got a $200 Visa gift card for a handgun and a $300 gift card for rifles, shotguns, and assault style guns.
Albuquerque, Española, and Las Cruces all had events – and all three cities ran out of gift cards within the first few hours.
“They’re turning those firearms over because they don’t have any use for them any longer. And so, again we’d rather have people donate or turn in unwanted, unneeded firearms, because they just don’t want the added responsibility of caring for those firearms,” Vargas said.
Some people KOB 4 talked to said they were family weapons they had no use for. Others say they wanted to downsize their collections.
No matter the reason all guns were collected. No questions asked – whether they had a serial number or not.
“So every firearm is checked for serial numbers, which will be run through our NCIC database to see if the firearm comes back stolen or not,” said Vargas.
The event started at 8 a.m. and by noon there were over 300 guns collected statewide. If the guns aren’t evidence they’ll be destroyed.
Vargas says the overwhelming turnout shows the community does care about stopping gun violence in New Mexico.
“It’s a great feeling that the community is coming together,” said Vargas.
State police say people handed in a total of 439 guns, 260 rifles, 179 handguns. Of that, two had been previously stolen.