City of Ithaca Offers Gun Buyback

By Matt Porter

December 28, 2012 Updated Dec 28, 2012 at 7:16 PM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The city of Ithaca announced at a press conference that they will offer to buy back unwanted guns on Saturday January 5, no questions asked.

City officials said the buy back was part of a response to the shooting of an Ithaca police officer last month, along with the mass shooting in Newtown Connecticut and the shooting of firefighters in Webster, NY.

Ithaca's acting police chief John Barber told reporters that getting any unwanted guns off the street will make the city a safer place to live.

"Less guns on the streets, means a safer city, plain and simple," said Barber.

Police said the city of Ithaca has seen 69 gun related cases in the last four years, including one death linked to gun violence.

The city will pay up to $200 per weapon, including high powered assault weapons.

The money paid for the weapons will come from $5,000 raised in donations plus cash seized in criminal arrests.

No taxpayer dollars will be used to buyback the guns.

Mayor Svante Myrick said the buyback program allows people to turn in guns confident that they will be destroyed.

He also promised amnesty for anyone turning in a gun.

"You own a gun illegally, maybe you inherited it, somebody gave it to you," said Myrick. "It's not registered to you, we won't ask any questions."

The Tompkins County District Attorney assured the promise of amnesty would be upheld.

County representative and legislature chairwoman Martha Robertson said gun safety goes beyond rare mass shooting cases.

"Many more people are hurt with guns every day," said Robertson, "In more common occurrences, so this is just one way to try to reduce that."

There will be two drop off locations for the gun buy backs.

One will be at the Fire and Rescue building at the Tompkins County Airport.

The other will be at the Ithaca Central Fire Station on 310 West Green Street.

Fire Chief Tom Parsons said with the Webster shooting still fresh in the minds of the department, they were proud to help with the buy back program.

"The community's made a commitment that this is a good thing to do," said Parsons, "And we're part of the community, so we're supporting that."

Police ask people bringing back guns to bring them unloaded and leave them in their car's trunks. If you're carrying guns to a location, they ask you to keep them in some kind of container like a gun case.

Although not all weapons will be taken for cash value including air guns, BB guns, and ammunition, police will still take them back.