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Franklin County gun buyback program to begin today

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HOGANSBURG — Today will be the first day county residents can surrender unwanted firearms for cash.

From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Hogansburg/Akwesasne and Constable volunteer fire departments, residents can participate in Franklin County’s first gun buyback program, according to a released statement from the county district attorney’s office.

The county Board of Legislators approved the idea when Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne requested funding for it during the board’s meeting Dec. 20.

“We’re asking public safety for funding for this,” he said during the meeting. “We may have a chance to get them off the street in the next few weeks.”

Legislators allocated $5,000 for the program.

The gun buyback is in response to recent shootings throughout the nation, most notably the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“The goal of the program is to reduce firearm-related violent crime by taking firearms off the streets and encourage community participation in an effort to deter firearm violence,” according to the statement.

To qualify, the firearms must be in working condition.

For any shotgun or rifle, the owner will receive $25. Handguns or assault rifles can be turned in for $150 each, while $20 will be given for “high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” according to a released statement.

Despite the legality of the weapons, no questions will be asked at the drop-off site. While people can turn in as many firearms as they wish, a maximum of $450 will be given.

“There are people who don’t know what to do with these things,” Mr. Champagne said Dec. 20.

All firearms should be placed in a plastic bag or cardboard box when being brought for drop off and should be transported in the trunk of a vehicle, according to the statement, which added the payment will be awarded once the firearm is deemed in working condition.

The statement also stipulated law enforcement officers, active or retired, along with licensed gun dealers, cannot participate.

More drop-off times and sites will be determined throughout the county.

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